Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Site of Record

Having grown up a child of MTV, I tend to think I have an insatiable appetite for sights and sounds. Faster and faster is simply better and better. Bring it on!, I say. Try to overwhelm my senses...just try. There's no speed at which images are still recognizable that I'll turn away. I'll absorb it all. No collage is too complex. I'll take it all in and only get hungrier.

The same is true of information (or so I like to think). Wikipedia and the Google are amazing, but so limited. Someone once said something, I can't remember who it was (it was an odd, obscure quote), but I know I heard it. So I google, I wiki, I can't find any info, I'm disappointed. If I can recall it, then, dammit, it should be verifyable. It should have been recorded and available on demand. And more than that, someone should have already done a complete comparison-contrast with competing opinions, translated it into several languages, worked out a list of its usages by public figures, made a Top 10 list of puns using it, etc. etc. etc.

Yes, I'm a spoiled rotten brat of the information age.

Which is why each time I visit I'm more delighted than the last time. It's a cornucopia of incredible information about a very specific world, and it's wonderfully envisioned. If you can think to ask it, most likley has it ready for you. And it's not only phenomenally comprehensive, it's growing every week it seems. In addition to its innovative Tour tool, it's now got Top Lists. Want to know who's gotten the most NYTimes reveiws recently? They've got it for you. Want to know which exhibitions you only have a few days to catch? Want to know which galleries' pages most people visit (they warn you, it changes on a minute-by-minute basis [how freakin' cool is that?])? What about who works where, who exhibits where, when the auctions are, who's at which art fair, and on and on and on? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and's there and super easy to access.

Having some knowledge of database driven websites, I can tell you that the Information Architecture supporting this site is nothing short of brilliant. If I had one criticism of the site, it would be that there's simply too many options for some people (not me certainly) to use them all, but then that's OK, because the navigation is so well considered, it's easy to get to what interests you and avoid what doesn't.

My newest favorite functionality are the Art Market quizzes (disclaimer: our gallery is mentioned in one of the questions, so that might have influenced my warm and fuzzy feelings toward it, but...). They are wonderfully subjective and so-o-o-o gossipy, what's not to love?

More than just the fun of it all, though, this site is becoming a true treaure trove of data, recording every concievable bit of information, the applications of which have yet to be imagined (Jennifer D, are you reading???). If you haven't seen it lately, have another look. It's virtually a work of art itself.


Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

It failed my test, which is to provide information a season in advance about what is gonna play at Gagosian or Sonnabend (the 2 galleries that always seem to send their info at last second on Gallery Guide).

Not bad (especially the review count, though it is incomplete) but I would prefer such a system implemented at Gallery Guide which have been quite satisfactory to me as an overview of what is going on around town (though it is incomplete and makes me depend on Douglas Kelly too).

What are historians prospecting about the future of Chelsea? Is it going to last? Is there something that might happen (gentrification) that would force galleries to move once again? Has this been discussed? I mean is it a local worry or a no-worry-at-all?


Cedric Caspesyan

10/25/2006 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Hans said...

But, why then, if with art involved, this site has such a bad design ?

10/25/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Anonymous eleventh hour said...

speaking of douglas kelley, offers an ineresting counterpoint to 'chelseaartgalleries' sophistication and user friendliness. the dks thing is fairly crude- literally a list-- with a lot of incomprehensible links and political diatribe. any information other than the actual "show list" is usually very difficult to navigate. but its great, and i really believe- for better or worse- that douglas kelley has influenced the art world in a strange and powerful way. may impact the scene in a similar capacity, but it will never achieve the same allure or mistrust as the dks.thing

10/25/2006 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger hlowe said...

Hey, this is great. Keep 'em comin' as I want to visit New York this spring and love all the info.

10/26/2006 09:38:00 AM  

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