Contents
Introduction
Chapter 1:
Internet Art
Chapter 2:
Institutions
Chapter 3:
Digital Weakness
Conclusion
Table of Figures
Footnotes
Bibliography
Glossary
James Hayes' art website


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There are many positive and some negative aspects of the Internet worth investigating in relation to art institutions. The Internet can provide a cheap mass promotion opportunity and thus creates a levelling of the playing field for all levels of institutions. Uses for the Internet go beyond advertising, and introduce such interactive concepts as database driven gallery websites, which allow for broader artist representation (i.e., a non-geographic stable of artists), while avoiding traditional gallery expenses. Some websites that will be discussed in this chapter even go so far as to act merely as financial go between, the artist being responsible for supplying images, delivering works to clients, etc.

The Internet also provides a forum for education of the general public, side stepping the difficulty of getting them into the gallery. There isn't the same psychological level of commitment needed from the viewing public to "surf" a website as there is to walk into an "imposing" building. This publishing medium also broadens the range for dissemination of information to artists, other art professionals, and to the general public. Within the domains of the Internet there is an ongoing active exchange of information for professional purposes - i.e., research, collaboration, a dialogue not bounded by geography. The Internet provides a broad venue for artistic discussion and publication, as any institution or individual can independently publish the equivalent of a magazine, on as regular a basis as they see fit, sometimes even updated daily.

Publicly funded art museums have a mandate to promote their collection, and often an extra mandate to promote their country's artistic community. This combined with the almost global advertising mantra that "if you're not on the net you don't exist" has led to a complete acceptance of the Internet as the primary promotional venue of choice by all the major international museums. The strength of this medium lies in the fact that it can go beyond a simple "info-mercial". A well designed website can provide everything from simple details of opening hours and charges, to a complete over-view of a museum's collection, complete staff contact details for professional dialogues, and online sales of gift shop items. Considering the cost of producing a brochure that would provide this kind of information, a website weighs in as cheap, no matter the complexity, with the added benefit of the flexibility to update it at a moment's notice to include the most current information.

This chapter investigates nine different art institutions and how they are using the Internet. This includes national galleries and museums, comparing the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and The Irish Museum of Modern Art. The best example of what artists' support centres are doing is Arthouse Multimedia Centre for the Arts and the Bureau of Arts Information at Arthouse. Commercial businesses are also highlighted by comparing dART™, which exists only on the Internet, with the James Baird Gallery which does exist in bricks and mortar form and is also taking advantage of the opportunities of the Internet. This investigation will finish off with a look at the arts publication CIRCA Art Magazine and will compare it with the more informal art publication website of The Sculpture Centre in Ohio.

by James Hayes
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