“While museums have repeatedly attempted to ride the digital art wave, it is also true that other key areas of the contemporary art world have taken things much more slowly. And the sluggishness of critics, curators, galleries and collectors is what has occasioned the failure of all attempts to lend legitimacy to work using the new media in the contemporary art world. Together with the other players mentioned, the market and the collectors have the power to reverse this trend.”
Do institutions and galleries have a growing interest in New Media? Two weeks ago, I identified the art “internet bubble” at The L Magazine, a trend that’s currently giving new media the spot light. Not everyone sees new media the same way though. Domenico Quaranta, an Italian writer and curator previously best known to this blog for “Holy Fire“, a dubiously themed new media exhibition in Brussels that included only “collectible” work, being one such example. Quaranta’s followed up the 2008 exhibition by writing a whole book on the subject of New Media — “Media, New Media, PostMedia” — one core theme being that the field isn’t accepted in the contemporary art world. ”New Media Art is more or less absent in the contemporary art market, as well as in mainstream art magazines,” he writes in his abstract, ”and recent accounts on contemporary art history completely forgot it.” Go on reading…
As it often happens to me, I was late at the VIP Art Fair; and, of course, I forgot the closing time. Yesterday night I thought: «Ok, let’s leave now – I will check some few details tomorrow morning.» I forgot what the organizers said somewhere in their massive pr campaign: «it’s not a website; it is an event.» And this morning I was welcome by a sad message: «Welcome, Domenico Quaranta. Thank you for visiting VIP Art Fair. The 2011 fair has closed. See you again next year.» Too bad. Actually, I didn’t have so many expectations. And no expectations also means no disappointment. Using the internet as a marketplace is not a new idea. And the fact that we had to wait 2011 to see an online art fair is, to me, just a proof of how much conservative the contemporary art world is. An online art fair would have been a surprise ten years ago. Today, it’s just a puer senex – just born, already obsolete. Today, a Facebook page can provide any of its users with much more than what the VIP Art Fair provided to sellers, collectors and the broader audience. And it never crashes, as Mark Zuckerberg says in The Social Network, and as VIP eventually did.
In the last issue of Mousse Magazine (Issue 26, December 2010, pp. 196 – 200), German art critic Jennifer Allen published an interesting article titled “From Media to New Media”. Addressing some recent events and publications, from Free to CRUMB’s latestoutputs, she argues that the most revolutionary features of digital media – both in terms of distribution and production – are having little or no impact on the contemporary art world. Definitely a worth reading. Here a couple of quotes:
“While describing the gradual acceptance of new media art and artists, the retrospective view of A Brief History points to a basic conflict: to remain true to techy origins or to become part of the museum and the art market.”
“If there’s a new democracy to celebrate in the new media, the most democratic dimension is hard to see. While anyone can be an artist, a photographer and a filmaker […] everyone will not make it into the museum and the art market. We all increasingly use the same tools to do different tasks, even the same tactile gestures of clicking, saving, copying, pasting, sending. But that radical equality has not quite movedbeyond the screen.”