The Art Gallery in the Age of The Internet
Physical Art Gallery
In the 20th century an art gallery exhibition meant a few things for an Artist:
- validation from curator / gallery
- listing for your resume
- photography for your portfolio
- physical space to explore installation possibilities
- for object producing artists, the chance to sell to collectors
- chance to be reviewed by critics and extend the reach of your work
- expose work to new audience and grow following
Depending on the specific nature of an artist’s work, some or perhaps all of these could be accomplished with an extensive website and social media activity today.
Virtual Art Gallery
A virtual gallery is a new possibility that can have a permanence & global accessibility that fixed time shows in fixed geographic locations don’t. But can a virtual gallery do things more / better / beyond what an artist’s own website can do today? In the summer 2014 film Begin Again, Keira Knightley’s character asks the record company executive, now that we’ve done everything ourselves, how come you still get 9 out of every 10 dollars for my record?
The old gatekeepers, and the new ones, still play significant roles. But in a time of greater access, what do we want from institutions like art galleries, be they physical or virtual?
Where’s the Art?
For more traditional object production, the brick-and-mortar gallery is still a great place to sell work. (and so is Instagram!) But what about conceptual art? Performance Art? Internet Art? Historically a lot of performance and land works have been seen by very few people, but lived on via photography and documentation. Does work like this need a physical gallery at all? Does it need a virtual gallery at all? Can an artist also be an independent publisher of culture?