Frank Lloyd’s blog

Art, architecture and the people that I know.

Art in the Digital Age: Part 2

with 5 comments

I try to keep up with technology, but things keep rapidly accelerating. I am way behind, as the pace of change seems to be exponential, not just doubling every couple of years. It’s Moore’s law all over again (often cited, Gordon Moore’s observation that, over the history of computers, everything doubles every two years). Honestly, I rely on journalists and my young employees to keep me (even slightly) up to date.

Yesterday’s news that Facebook acquired WhatsApp for 19 billion dollars has me wondering: mobile computing is incredibly pervasive, and if everyone is on their phone, how does the use of mobile devices affect the way that people interact with art? Questions have been floating around in my head for years now, as I try to get a grip on how people are viewing and interacting with art. That’s because we try in every way to reach our audience: website, blog, videos, and online publications.

My gallery uses a lot of technology, though personally, I prefer art to be a direct, living and sensual experience. Is this working? And is it good for the artists? Is it good for the art? When we present an exhibition, far more people view it online than in person. We know this from the website data. We also know it anecdotally: “Oh, I saw your show online. What are you doing next?” is pretty much what I hear.

I wonder, and hear others asking questions: How does mobile computing affect the way that the public interacts with museum shows? How does the rise of corporate-owned news aggregators in the arts affect the perception of art and the way that people see exhibitions? When people “share” art on social media, is that an effective way to communicate? What media translate the best in the new digital age? What does not?

I missed out on the Whitney’s recent symposium and event about how the museum experience has been transformed by digital media, and wish I could know more about the ways that curators and art critics are viewing the topic. By the way, a tip of the hat to our friend Dan Phiffer, who developed a site-specific network that was used for the Whitney event.

5 Responses

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  1. This is such a complex issue Frank. What does it mean that developers are building an art colony in Glendale? It’s funny right? Maybe Ryan Trecartin and Cory Archangel best represent early 21st century visual art;infinitely scalable,designed to flow from device to device,as mobile as any streaming content.

    Cathy Zar

    February 25, 2014 at 3:00 am

  2. Cathy, yes, it is a complex issue. The way that developers and marketers view art and artists as a branding strategy is pervasive, indeed! Also, the way that the viewing experience has shifted to digital media is accompanied by the rise of the art fair as a primary viewing platform for new collectors. Yes, the world is shifting for visual artists, as it has been for writers, publishers, and musicians. Perhaps, as you suggest, there are those whose work is suited to the mobile devices and designed to be distributed in that way. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens, and how the traditional models of making and presentation fare in the coming decades. Thanks for the comment, Cathy.

    Frank Lloyd

    February 25, 2014 at 8:04 pm

  3. […] written about the prevalence of the internet in the art world before, and it’s something that continues to interest me. The online presence of a gallery or artist can […]

  4. Where does this leaves Artists as Creative Individuals. Sounds to me they are left to be leggo pieces. It’s a sorry state to be an Artist in this future.


    May 10, 2014 at 9:54 pm

  5. […] amazing to see just how far-reaching the digital world has taken us. As I wrote in a previous blog post, I wonder: How does mobile computing affect the way that the public interacts with museum shows? […]

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