Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Digital Dialog (or The Real Impact of the Internet on Artistic Practice)

An interesting notion was repeated by a few artists in yesterday's thread on the increasing difficulty of being a struggling artist in New York City. Essentially several folks noted that the Internet has made it less important to be here with regards to keeping up-to-date and predict it will continue to facilitate the decentralization of the art world. I'll quote paul to sum up the sentiment:
The Internet is why I don't live in NY. Most of the artists I'm most interested in live in NY, but I already know most of them because of the WWW. We collaborate and discuss ideas on blogs and through email. They bring me there for shows, and I bring them here for shows. I miss out on some things, but it's balanced out by the lower cost of living here which gives me a lot more time and space to work.
Now, I love, love, love the Internet and blogs and email (and I think I have a crush on jpegs in general), but I'm not entirely convinced by this argument for some reason. It may simply be a stubborn refusal to accept that all the work I've done and the sacrifices I've made to be part of the scene here are becoming increasingly in vain, but there's something else that seems perhaps missing in that assessment. I can't quite put my finger on it, though, so I'll ask: How has the Internet changed your involvement in the art world and particularly your participation in "the dialog", if at all? I'm hoping to get specifics, like "the Internet got me into that great exhibition" or "my work looks so different online, it hasn't helped at all." But more importantly, do the sort of "virtual studio visits" one can have online with other artists impact your thinking and work in the same way in-person studio visits can? Do they impact them in other, better ways?


Anonymous jec said...

There are a few things. First, an artist (or anyone) can get instant information about a gallery, museum or artist anywhere in the world. It's not the same as seeing work in person, but it saves a lot on airfare! For me this has meant that I can research possible venues: who they show, what they show, artists and curators associated with shows I'm participating in, etc. In pre-internet days, I wouldn't have collected nearly the amount of information I can today.

As for others locating me, that has happened as well. Once slide registries became digitized and available, I started receiving more emails about my work. White Columns has been an especially good resource. I can only imagine how much easier it is to review work online than to go through those dozens and dozens of books of slides (which you were only able to do on location). Online slide registries have resulted in museum and gallery (group) shows.

I have never sold anything or been in any shows where my work was not viewed beforehand in person. I don't believe the internet replaces studio visits, but certainly makes it easier to find out what might be worth seeing.

I have my own website up, and know from the stats that people around the world visit the site. It's a good way for people in distant locations to get a first look at my work.

Of course, there's also the blogging dialog aspect of the internet....

4/06/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous pc said...

The internet has been very educational for me. I feel much more up to date than if I were reading the paper art mags. And I see a lot of work online that I wouldn't have seen in magazines, of course. But as far as people visiting my web site or exchanging ideas, the internet is a mere convenience for me. I don't think anything's happened that wouldn't have happened in person. (This blog is an exception. Communicating here makes me feel a little connected to NY.) There is something absolutely different about being in NY and seeing shows and picking up the vibe. I think it's essential. I love jpegs, too. I think this could be the biggest change the internet has brought about: people are more willing to make serious judgements based on reproductions than they ever were in days of slides. To me, this is almost a crime. Often on this blog, I find myself not opining about a purely visual matter when I haven't seen the artwork in question. Art is always a thing in a place, no matter how much it's about ideas as well, and there's something creepy about forgetting that.

4/06/2006 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

It's that "something creepy" that perhaps most accounts for my resistance to this notion, I'll admit.

4/06/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Gusky said...

I'd agree with you, Mr. W, in the sense that, like slides, magazines, books and posters, the Internet is a poor substitute for being in the presence of the work itself. Worse still, it can convince you that you've experienced an artwork, when you really haven't.

I'd agree with pc that the Internet has helped me to stay somewhat in touch with what's happening in a way that was impossible before it. The updates and information are immediate, if not entirely accurate. The best earlier resource, magazines, had a time lag of a few months between an event and its publication.

4/06/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I've been on the Internet in one form or another since I arrived at college in 1988. I put up my first Web pages in 1993 (they're actually still up, if you feel like looking for them). So I'm coming at this Internet thing not as a painter who is getting into computers, but as a computer guy who is getting into painting. (So to speak -- I've been drawing and painting my whole life, of course. It's only recently I decided to do it full time.)

That said, I think the Internet has opened up a lot of possibilities, but I'm wary. People have been talking about how the Web is "going to change X forever" -- whether X is being a writer, artist, musician, what have you -- and I've yet to see it really have an impact at the professional level. For example, I've got a book online. It's been pretty popular. I had an agent for it and it was rejected by 30 publishers. I did not become a famous author. The end. I've been writing TV criticism for a site which gets a lot of notice. I'm not the best or most prolific writer on the site -- there are a couple who are wildly talented. None of us have become famous TV critics. The end.

So I feel the same way about the art world: The Internet's changed some things, but at bottom, art's still very much the way it used to be. You need to be physically present to get anywhere serious. The Web can help with figuring out what galleries to visit, or you can make friends and contacts via e-mail or blog comments. But it's all ultimately vaporous until it gets down to the work.

I have gotten illustration work through the Web when people stumbled upon my stuff and asked me about it. Not much, but a little. I did a book cover once.

I'm ambivalent about eBay these days. I began selling my drawings on eBay in the hopes that I'd build a following. I figured I'd sell the drawings cheap -- it was all an experiment for me, really, to see if I could make quick drawings without worrying about results (usually I take a long time on my paintings, both in planning and execution) and let them go (I find it hard to think about selling my paintings). I sold over 200 drawings, almost all at $10 each, over the course of two years. But when I tried to expand to small paintings priced slightly higher ($20) I had trouble selling.

I don't consider the experiment a complete failure, nor do I consider eBay exhausted. I ran out of steam after two years; for all I know, if I'd stuck with it another year, my paintings would have been selling. And I acheived some of what I wanted to acheive: I made a lot of drawings unlike what I ordinarily would have, and I sold them. And, hey, I like to think I got some art out there.

Obviously, then, eBay isn't going to replace the gallery system any time soon, unless you're already an established artist -- and maybe not even then. The Internet, in my opinion, is a long way from rendering New York City -- or any art capital -- entirely obsolete. If you want to be in the museums, if you want to make the art history books, I think you still need to be here, in New York.

4/06/2006 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Regarding JPEGs: I cannot imagine that anyone at all would "make serious judgements based on" JPEGs (or even PNGs). Well, I admit it's possible that someone might, but it's insane to do so. Paintings simply cannot be reproduced photographically. This was true before the Internet and it's true now. Anyone convinced that they've experienced an artwork without seeing the artwork in person is woefully ignorant.

For years I've talked about "meeting" a painting, as in "I can't say much about Odd Nerdrum's paintings since I've never met one." To me, it's the only correct way to speak of it.

4/06/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger James Wolanin said...

For me, the internet has been an essential tool for advancing my career. Through my website, I have been invited to participate in a number of shows, including gallery shows in Rome and The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. The web also gives the artist an opportunity to sell their work directly to collectors. Using a service like PayPal, it's very easy for an artist to set up an online gallery. The world wide web is a great tool, but nothing compares to actually seeing art in person. Reproductions just don't have the same impact.

Here is a related question:
Since most artists now have a web presence, are gallery owners concerned that potential clients will bypass their galleries and buy directly from the artist via the web?

4/06/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Ron Diorio said...

I answered a very similar question in a recent interview this way:

"Where digital is important to me is in distribution. Certainly the Internet and for me sites like Fotolog and Flickr provide an audience which allows me to do things that I might never have a chance to show in a gallery or even make a print of. It empowers you to take chances, do it faster and get immediate satisfaction. This can fill you up with encouragement. It allows me to be prolific without purpose while getting this instant feedback. In some ways this may be better than something bigger that is too far in the future or maybe never comes. For me it has confirmed a sense, a self image, and a persona - this can be a strength, as you try to get attention for your work elsewhere. It has allowed me the opportunity to develop an audience slowly. It is an audience that I share a history with and is involved with the work over time in an intimate manner."

4/06/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Since most artists now have a web presence, are gallery owners concerned that potential clients will bypass their galleries and buy directly from the artist via the web?

Hasn't been a significant problem so far.

4/06/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous onesock said...

Since the number of peeps in my town who are interested in contemporary art can be counted on one hand (with fingers to spare), I rely on the sense of connection I feel to the folks I meet via the web. I know it is lame, kinda like the artist's version of internet dating. But its all I gots right now till my wife and I move elsewhere.

As far as helping my career, I can't say the net has done much in that regard. I do think it has helped my art. I have work up on a flickr account where i get feedback and people email me from time to time with their thoughts. Also I have this obsession with reading/viewing artist interviews so the net has become a great resource for those. Basically, I still want to be in grad school and the web is the closest thing I have to that even though it doesn't really compare.

ya know, it is sounding lamer and lamer the more i think about it. The only art community that I have the least bit of connection to is through the etherland of blogs an such. geez.

4/06/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

It doesn't sound at all lame, onesock. I think you've got the balance exactly right. Non-geographical-dependent "communities" are the best outcome of the Internet, IMO. They're limited somewhat, but they're great confidence boosters (i.e., knowing you're not the only one struggling with this or that puzzle, etc.).

I've learned things from bloggin that have helped my career, although so slowly that it took me years to realize it. So, keep an eye out...I'll bet there are things you just haven't spotted yet. Connections that will pay off, etc.

4/06/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous onesock said...

I have this art fantasy about having a gallery space here in Jax and putting up a show entirely filled with work by artists I have met on the web.

4/06/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Anonymous onesock said...

I gotta teach but i just wanted to say something specific about how the net has helpe my art. I just installed some work at a gallery. I spent a week before the opening bringing materials in setting things up, reconsidering, changing things around, basically the show was 12 different versions before the final one.

Part of me felt iffy about using the gallery space as a studio-- basically, I was going out on a limb here and perhaps fell flat on my face.
Well, last night I watched the video of the discussion between the curators of the WB on the Walker Channel. They described how many of the artists in the show did the same thing. Gedi Sibony changed his installation several times during the 3 weeks beforehand.

This is an example of the type of information that I gain from the web that makes me more confident about the direction I am going.
Any other examples like this out there?

4/06/2006 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Mark Dixon said...

Like magazines I have used the Internet to discover new artists. It is true that images (jpegs) of artworks are a poor substitute for the real thing. It seems, however, that many artists have to deal with experiencing art through this 'mediation'.
A few people have contacted me about exhibiting with them after seeing my work online (although nothing has realised as of yet). I have sold several paintings and drawings to people who have only seen the work online. I am surprised that people would purchase art from viewing jpegs, but it happens (for me anyhow).
Re: slides, I often wonder if galleries actually load all your slides into a slide projector and view them correctly. If the gallery is getting a lot of submissions (which most seem to), do they have time to load a carousel? To me it seems that viewing art (at least at first) via a web site or CD-ROM is the best bet.
Jpegs, we love them and hate them ...

4/06/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger crionna said...

The Crionna Collection includes a work by an artist that I was introduced to via a blog. An internet friend arranged the purchase, framing and shipment of the work. At the time we'd met neither the artist or the friend in person.

We're very happy with the piece and would never have found it, or purchased it with such ease without the internet.

4/06/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

I live in a fairly isolated area with a very small art community and just a few, mostly seasonal galleries. For me, as with many of the others who have already commented, the internet has been great as a way to have contact with other artists, to research juried shows and galleries, and to keep up with the art world, to some extent anyway. I seldom, if ever, sell anything over the internet, my website serves only as a portfolio, and my blog has been for much needed socializing. I have made initial contacts with galleries through the net, but they are always followed up with in person meetings to view the work in person. I usually have do the visiting-no one wants to drive 2+ hours to visit my studio!

However, I am careful about the info I come across on the net, I don't necessarily believe everything I read or see and I follow my instincts, just as in real life.

4/06/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I've got a couple of things here.

Onesock sez:
Well, last night I watched the video of the discussion between the curators of the WB on the Walker Channel. They described how many of the artists in the show did the same thing. Gedi Sibony changed his installation several times during the 3 weeks beforehand. This is an example of the type of information that I gain from the web that makes me more confident about the direction I am going.

Don't take this too personally, but I wouldn't take heart from anything having to do with the Whitney Biennial. Seems to me that just says "wrong way to do things" in every possible aspect.

Mark Dixon sez:
Re: slides, I often wonder if galleries actually load all your slides into a slide projector and view them correctly.

Especially since, last I heard, slide carousels were getting hard to come by. Where would anyone find new ones? Really, slides -- film in general, really -- is a dying medium. Well, it'll never really die. People still do daguerrotypes, after all.

Personally I don't even have slides of my work. I can't afford to get them done. I can make my own JPEGs.

4/06/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jpegs are a vast improvement over slides. very very few gallerists actually load slides in to a projection to view them (you're lucky if they take out a loup on a slide table rather than just holding them up to the light), so jpegs that can be sent on a cd are a vast improvement over slides for that simple reason. no, they're not the real things, but they're way better than looking at slides incorrectly. i have gotten in a few shows (some good, some soso) based on jpegs without studio visits. but mostly i use the net as a way to research galleries that i want to contact, and also artists, like one of the commenters mentioned. i have made a few freidns that i've never actually met, and i love the blogs, like this one. virtual communitiy is way better sometimes even than real community. and i live in NY. i don't always want to go to openings and do the scene, but it's there when i do want to do it (i go in phases).

4/06/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Anonymous brian said...

I got asked to do work by an artist on 4AD records after they saw my work, and am now doing work for live shows for their next big tour and hopefully record cover. They asked me because they first saw my work on my website. So... not too bad for the internet!

4/06/2006 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous mark dixon said...

I forgot to mention a few more things related to how the Internet has helped me as an artist (in your post you mentioned that you wanted specifics).

I have also let other artists (dancers, musicians, etc.) use images of my paintings for posters and other promotional things. Most recently a new band here in Montreal is going to be using one of my paintings on the cover of their new album. My blog (posts of paintings and drawings and works in progress) gets more hits than my art portfolio site so most people discover me online this way. So I guess it is not only sales that have been affected...

Re: slides (again), It is true that it is odd that galleries and other institutions still ask for slides. Is it a snobbery thing? I think that the next gallery I approach I will send my work on a CD, with high res. images and a print out of a few works on paper - you have to get them to put the CD in the computer!

4/06/2006 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Just wanted to add a comment about jpegs. I have had a few galleries that have sold my work by showing a jpeg to a client who has already seen my work in person and has an idea of what it's like, but wants to see new work or different images. Also, jpegs are handy for me to send ahead to galleries so they can decide which pieces they'd like to have or not.

I don't do slides anymore either.

4/06/2006 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I think the internet has allowed social phobes (such as myself) an opportunity to participate in the discussion that, I know, in-person participation doesn't. This may be a bigger phenomenon than any of us realize, a leveling of the playing field.

My biggest problem is introductions. A lot easier with e-mail and a good web-site, I am more comfortable if I know the person has seen my work online or if we have exchanged a few emails first. I can't emphasize enough the difference this has made.

Slides are almost never looked at projected. I think the future will peg minimalism and conceptualism on work being reviewed through one inch transparencies. What else could stand up to that sort of (non)scrutiny?

If you projected a slide next to a projection of a jpeg you would never shoot slides again. Yes, slides are higher resolution but slide projectors suck compared to data projectors. (I have done this more than once) (yeah, yeah, you still need high-res for reproduction . . .)

you set up the conversation to be about the internet, the digital revolution is bigger than that, of course, the tools have definitely changed my practice, deepened and helped to focus it. It is great fun to have a machine that can mimic thought in some ways.

4/06/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Mark Dixon sez:
Re: slides (again), It is true that it is odd that galleries and other institutions still ask for slides. Is it a snobbery thing?

I've only been on this planet for 35 years. I mention this so you take my "wisdom" for what it's worth, since I have no inside knowledge of how galleries work.

I suspect that galleries ask for slides because it's what fits best into their workflow. They know how to use slides. If they've got a lot to go through, and they've been going through piles of slides for the past forty years, let's say, then slides work best for them.

As an example: When I'm looking for gallery openings to go to, I visit the Douglas Kelley Show list. His site almost never shows a sample image of each artist. So I've downloaded a hack to Firefox that lets me highlight the text of the artist's name, right click, and pass the name right into Google in another window. Three clicks (maybe four) and I can see a sample of an artist's work online. Usually -- not all artists have a Web presence, of course.

So that's my workflow. If DKS started using Flash instead of HTML (which would suck), my workflow would be broken, and I'd have to learn some new tricks, or find another listing site.

Newer galleries, or galleries with younger staff, or with flexible directors, are probably where you'll find acceptance of CDs. Then again, some galleries accept unsolicited submissions; others explicitly refuse to even look at them. So it all depends.

4/06/2006 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


I used to teach in a private school in Portugal, where the headmaster made we lowly teachers wear ties everyday (but paid so little, our salary could barely cover our rent, let alone fancy clothing). His philosophy re the tie, though, was that it would dictate what else the male teachers wore (i.e., he was sure you'd never show up in a t-shirt for work, because you can't wear a tie with a t-shirt [well, not easily]).

Although we specifically ask artists to send whatever materials show their work in the best light, I tend to think galleries or other institutions ask for slide for a similar reason. They dictate a level of professionalism that separates out ---at some level---the serious artists from the hobbyist who think their Sunday afternoon watercolors should be shown in a commercial gallery (we get such submissions, believe me). You're only going to invest in slides if you're serious about your artwork.

4/06/2006 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Ryan Fitzer said...

Edward, I definitely agree with you on separating out the serious artists by requiring slides, but would you rather see the work 8x10" on a computer screen or 1x2" in front a light. Is there a better way to separate them out? I run a small college gallery and I encourage people to submit images in any form. I do the separating by requiring other paperwork to round the images out. It's going to take the artist some time to get it all together. If everything isn't there, you don't get considered.

4/06/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger dubz said...

slides are worthless. catalog printing is digital now, and clients prefer jpegs or printouts... you can't get a decent scan from a slide. where i work, we've phased out slides altogether - we do hi-res digitals instead. a 4x5 is the smallest format that we still do as traditional photography.

4/06/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I think your method is definitely better Ryan. Like I said, we ask for whatever format shows the artist's work in the best light...sometimes that is slides, but...

Personally (and every dealer is different), I prefer a few print outs (3-5) and then a CD. If I like what I see in the print outs, I'll pop in the CD. Admittedly, often I don't pop it in though, so I'd recommend not investing all one's energy into some splashy presentation or navigation on the CD...the images themselves are what the gallery is interested in, not how well your friend designs CDs navigation. A folder with jpegs is perfect.

4/06/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I'd take W.W.'s advice here folks.

4/06/2006 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger benvolta said...

I just got burned because I thought I could get away with just shooting JPGS... I needed to send high quality images for a magazine feature and my images were just not press quality.. errrrr I don't know what they are going to do?

so to be "professional"... really really good quality JPGS or slides.


Wacom tablets are great!

I love mine.

4/06/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger benvolta said...

or not slides?

4/06/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous pc said...

Ryan and Edward's comments were pretty interesting. The origins of beaureacratic barriers! Their reasons are perfectly good. Artists discuss how they can weasel their way into getting so-and-so to look at their work. Dealers et al. talk about how to weed out the unwanted submissions. Oy.

4/06/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Anonymous onesock said...

Ben, I try to organize my digital images of work in 3 ways: 1)Very large photoshop files (not jpgs so there is no loss)- used for printing and so forth. 2) smaller jpgs for cd packages and 3) even smaller jpgs for online display and sending emails.

whats a wacom?, sounds cool.

Oh and Chris, My way of working out my ideas is only partly corroborated by that WB story. I mostly listen to my own thoughts when it comes to my art, it is just good to hear once in a while that I am not alone in thinking this way- hence my appreciation for how Sibony tackled his installation.

4/06/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Onesock: I figured you didn't take the Sibony practice for the WB as your future template. I know it's nice to find out other people might have the same struggles you do. Of course you should listen to yourself -- if you didn't, you wouldn't be on this blog, you'd be off commenting on something like

4/06/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous martin said...

The curation of this upcoming Richmond show is relevant to your discussion -

4/06/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Hans said...

I think gallerists should be concerned by the internet, even I think most art will shift to looking good at the internet, or will be made solely for viewing on a screen. Gallerists will soon not be needed anymore. There are too few good ones, as 90% of a good show anyway depends on the artist.

What I miss, is the push of the right direction, wich may give a few good gallerists to their artists, but even that could be done today via internet.

I myself can easily without the originals distiguish a good work from a bad one. Sure, it would be cool to see "The Trout" by Courbet 30 cm close with your nose, but for 99% of contemporary art, exept bigger installations and sculptures the screen is !!!almost!!! enough.

There are many lonely artists in NY and all over the world, but there are much fewer lonely blogging artists.

But, of course, I don't want to loose the magic of originals, the smell, the structure and the playing light of a real painting...

4/06/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Anonymous martin said...

Hans - It may be telling that Edward doesn't include in his sidebar links to (m)any of us artbloggers that also frequently post our own work.

I don't think any of the ny/la gallerist bloggers do.

4/06/2006 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger crionna said...

I think most art will shift to looking good at the internet, or will be made solely for viewing on a screen.

Ridiculous. You know, I was about 10% of the way through a pretty good rant about this but I think Ridiculous says all that needs to be said.

I don't want to loose the magic of originals, the smell, the structure and the playing light of a real painting...

It'll never happen, for those very reasons.

4/06/2006 08:51:00 PM  
Anonymous bambino said...


4/06/2006 08:53:00 PM  
Anonymous eva lake said...

The internet is defintely empowering for the artists. You can share images and information and that's all great.
But having lived 11 years in New York, I know that nothing replaces it. It has added to everything I've become or decided about since in terms of art - both good and bad, a complex ball of wax. It is an experience that the computer scene can never replace.

4/07/2006 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger fisher6000 said...

There are more artists than there used to be and it's financially harder to be an artist, so there's a lot of clamoring. It's harder to distinguish yourself from all the other "needy artists".

My blog/blogosphere/internet in general is useful as a way to define myself, get my ideas out there, start conversations with people. It also starts a daily practice that is not about asking, begging or taking, but about sharing (links, opinions, information). This is psychologically beneficial for me. I would rather have something to offer than always be approaching The Powerful Art World with my hat in one hand and a sheet of slides (jpegs, whatever) in the other.

I have seen one practical payoff: I have bloggged myself into two paying art criticism gigs.

Maybe I am just a sucker for physical spaces or am too socially inept to parlay internet knowledge into actual knowledge of real people, but this does not replace being in a community for me. Actually, having a blog gets me out into the galleries more, going to more openings. Maybe it will get me enjoying openings more... :)

4/07/2006 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger benvolta said...


even though it hurts to hear... yes organization ...even better... good organization.. along with backups ... i need to get on that... it is good advice.

Edward posted an image of a wacom tablet

the 6 x 8 are great and all you need... many times have I have nerded out at coffee shops and bars because of this thing. It is embarrassing.

4/07/2006 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Mark Dixon said...

It is an interesting question to ask how the Internet is changing the type of work artists make. As a very visual medium (the Internet), I am sure that it has an effect on most artists. But what about how jpegs affect the work an artist makes. The first and sometimes only exposure a gallery owner or curator will get of your work is via a slide or jpeg. Artists have to present work that looks good in these forms.

Perhaps it influences the work we make, and it surely influences the work we decide (edit) to show to galleries, curators, etc.

4/07/2006 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous ML said...

The internet does allow a dialog in isolated places.

What is happening is a division between production centers and consumption centers.

I live in LA and love it here, particularly after doing landlord battles in Brooklyn for years. But sales in LA are not nearly as frequent as in NYC. Some artists, fresh out of grad school, do well for a year or two. When their sales prices should go up, their sales plunge as the collectors go after the next round of grads.

That said, New York is special and if I had scads of money, I would still be living there.

4/07/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Joseph Barbaccia said...

The web is about communication. The exchange of ideas. The use of it has enhanced my understanding of art and, in turn helped progress the artwork itself. Being someone who creates 3D work I'm a bit skeptical of judging by jpegs, but it is no different than selection by slides.
As an improvement to just viewing a static image I began to create a Flash file where an interested party can hear me talk about my work while viewing it from various angles. Take a look:

Tell us what you think.

Also the web has improved my typing skills. Still can't spell worth a damn, though.

4/07/2006 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a curator who has worked on large international exhibitions and catalogues from a city that is not New York, so I thought I would weigh in about the practical issues for someone in my situation.

For the big international shows I have worked on, much of the research to make educated decisions about studio visits in various cities was done over the internet. There is the network of other curators and dealers in cities to be visited, but that circumscribes the field a bit too much. I would guess that research assistants for the Whitney Biennial did much the same thing in prepping curators for visits to US cities that are not NY or LA. That the curators didn't include many artists outside of the NY-LA (london, berlin) gallery axis does not mean that they didn't do visits.

For smaller projects, because of limitations of travel budgets, I do much of my research online--individual artists' sites, galleries, blogs, registries, web-based publications, what have you. I wouldn't say that I have curated entire exhibitions from my couch, but much of the "legwork", so to speak, has been accomplished that way, with follow-up conversations and sometimes studio visits. I have made exhibitions in major institutions with more than a dozen artists that I have contacted out of the blue, without the benefit of studio visits. Having a website does not obviate the process of building a name through smaller group exhibitions, as I may have become aware of artists' work through other venues of distribution beyond their personal websites, but without them I wouldn't have the capacity to consider their work seriously. It is true that most of the artists I work with in this way are in NYC, but not all of them.

Regarding digital images. . .working in institutions, I have experienced the presence of luddites (staff members who don't even use computers) and lazy-ites (couldn't be bothered to use a CD-Rom). If someone solicits your information, make it as simple as possible to access via digital means. If it's a cold call, so to speak, printouts will perhaps be your only chance to hook someone so that they make the effort (or at least their assistants will) to look at more.

One last thing. Digital is great for distributing images, but they create some challenges in high-quality printing. A color-corrected proof directly from the artist/gallery is necessary for use as a control image. Digital processes involved in printing mean that there is no such thing as a stable image that goes from image to print without being affected in color, tone, brightness, etc. On press there are people who have never seen an object in person and have to use some standard to match to in order to be faithful to the original object. They can't just look at the image on screen for a match, since every monitor would display it somewhat differently based on its own settings. It's my pet peeve when galleries send really high quality images digitally, but have no understanding of the way that image can get f*&%ed with during the printing process. Of course with transparencies there is always the physical object of the film to match back to, which is why many people still prefer to get images this way for print.

Sorry that was so long, too much coffee today.

4/07/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Thanks for that excellent summary of the issues, Anonymous.

I'll second the importance of printouts in cold calls and other presentations. There's probably a degree of both luddite and lazyite in most galleries, due to time constraints, so do not miss the opportunity to catch their attention that only printouts can do.

4/08/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger esm said...

I have found the internet absolutely invaluable for a number of reasons, but don't think it has either affected my work (okay maybe some of my materials) nor will it replace galleries and gallerists.
I use the internet to find new artists for my own joy and in curating shows.

I also have a blog, which I use as a tool for my own personal discourse on art (what I like and don't like, different issues). It's a good way to think through things and to improve (a little) my writing.

I was involved in a show in London of a group of artists that had met online, it was an interesting event.

I use the internet to stay in touch with artists that I have met at residencies (which means I have people to visit all around the world).

I even had some interest from a curator who had seen my work in an online slide library.

I use the internet to find specific materials, and to learn more about them (that's how I found a wonderful fiber optics supplier).

I also embrace the move towards accepting digital media (I was thrilled by the total online submission process offered by Creative Time and Art in General). I tend to think the best submission packet is a CD with jpgs and tifs and a few print outs of work, although my work isn't well represented at all in two dimensional reproductions.

Having said all of that, I recently moved back to New York after having lived in SF for 7 years. I really missed being surrounded by the vibrant art interactions which occur here. They happen in the galleries of Chelsea, they happpen in cafe's, they happen in studio visits and the often happen on the streets and subway platforms. I wouldn't ever want to see gallerists replaced, I more frequently than not, find new artists not online, but by walking into a gallery. Without the gallerists doing the work of finding (or discovering, or whatever we want to call it) the artist, I would probably never see them.

I do get most of my arts information from blogs though :)

4/10/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the first time i ever came to NY was for the opening of my solo show at a very well respected gallery in chelsea. it was just my second time being outside of canada.
i pick canada. NY is too desperate.

4/10/2006 01:14:00 PM  

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