So we keep talking about how global the art world has gotten, with boundaries of all kinds being blurred, and the impossible to keep up with "new New York" changing so rapidly (is it Berlin or L.A. this week? Oh! It's London, again....uh...OK.) [yes, I'll be entering the Witness Relocation Program now]. But where can one turn to keep up with a worldwide scene? Prompted by an email from one such resource, I've decided to list my favorite guides to the global art world and praise and/or nitpick a bit what they offer.
Here are some online resources for finding contemporary art around the world.
This self-edit site is the best of the lot in my opinion. Clean design, lightning fast navigation, and depth make it a fun, unconfusing, and enjoyable resource. Run by artists, it's totally independent, and geared toward a wide audience, including artists, gallerist, curators, collectors, writers, etc. With sections like Artist Newsletters, Feature Newsletters, and Artist Opportunities (listing open calls and other things the artist with an eye toward an international audience might want to consider), it puts it efforts where its mouth is with regard to being artist centric. It also has perhaps the most comprehensive lists I've seen of online art publications and blogs.artfacts.netThis is one of the older global resources and it has an impressive database, but it could use a fresh coat of paint, design-wise (it's a bit too cluttered for my taste and the palette is drab). It offers membership packages for galleries, but still manages to offer a good chunk of information for non-member galleries, unlike some other sites. One very cool resource on this site is its artists' ranking page. The other advantage it has over most other sites is it doesn't assume all its readers speak English and offers its info in German, Spanish, French and Italian as well.
It's only fair to give this site some time to grow, given it's still in its beta stage, and it has what seems to be a good search engine, but the hazmat color scheme and somewhat confusing navigation could use some reconsideration, IMHO. In general I like sites that get right to the searching (I generally know what I want to know), but there's not much indication of what I'll find by searching (i.e., the scope of the site isn't very clear). What stands to make this perhaps the leader in the field, however, is their audio-visual approach, including " 'Easy Audio Tour' solutions so that museums and galleries can affordably improve their interpretation and access services ...Visitors can also download audio tours and cultural podcasts for use on their own MP3 players from thegallerychannel, and listen to them in the museum, while travelling, or from the comfort of their homes."
artforum.com art guide
Name recognition gives this guide an edge, and it has a nifty interactive map-based navigation, which is fun if you're just browsing, but somewhat frustrating if you're returning and in search of fast information. What I like about the service on this site most though, as a gallery, is the helpful email reminders they send if my listing gets out of date. The site is totally self-edit, which isn't as handy as the service on some other sites, but fair enough. And speaking of fairs, like many others, they offer listings of the international fairs (theirs is particularly comprehensive). But what I like most about this site is there Eat/Sleep page, offering info on where to crash or grab a bite if you're doing the global gallery hop.
Unlike most other global guides, this site gives you the most reasons to return on a daily basis. Its news and updates are second to none. Having said that, though, its gallery listings are pretty thin compared to most other sites. A few years ago their sales agents were all over the place, but I'm not seeing them as often now, suggesting a decrease in emphasis on getting new listings (or maybe it's just that we signed up, so they don't need to sell me anymore, which is fine). What I like most about the site though is the way it incorporates its listing galleries into the front page, providing a more comprehensive context than other sites.
The godfather of global art guides, artnet.com offers the best magazine, bar none, and its membership presence (how much info you get) for galleries is excellent (but a bit pricey). One look at its main galleries page though, gives you some indication of just how comprehensive its vision is. Its auction info is priceless, and its market trends and price database services (both subscription) put it ahead of most others in terms of professional usefulness. It doesn't update its news as often as artinfo.com, though, and there are plenty of very good galleries (ahem) they don't list (see note above re: pricey).
I realize this list isn't exhaustive. Please feel free to share others you like (just remember, we're talking sites with global info).
Labels: global, resources