Why COVID-19 means new media art has never been so vital
Digital and internet art has been gaining in popularity, with a raft of major international museum exhibitions in recent years, including the Whitney’s Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, 1965–2018 (2018-19), I Was Raised on the Internet, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2018) and Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966) at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 2016. Artists including Lawrence Lek and Jon Rafman are widely shown, while there is growing awareness of earlier pioneers such as Manfred Mohr.
But digital art continues to raise conceptual and curatorial challenges for museums, galleries and collectors. How can work be authenticated and valued if it can be easily copied? What happens when the software used in a work becomes obsolete? Do curators understand technology enough to commission digital works? And how can museums and collectors make the most of the current upsurge in audience interest?
Moderator Brian Droitcour is a writer and curator based in New York, and is the Associate Editor and Online Editor for Art in America’s The Program, a weekly newsletter about art and technology. He will discuss these questions on the panel and examine challenges for preserving and exhibiting', as well as issues around video and virtual reality with Anita Zabludowicz, generative art with Anne and Michael Spalter, and net art and software art with Sabine Himmelsbach.
The Zabludowicz Collection in London is one of the world’s leading private museums. It has championed many performance, digital and moving-image artists, including Jon Rafman and Rachel Rose. The Anne and Michael Spalter Collection is one of the world's largest private collections of early computer art, comprising over 750 largely historic works from the second half of the 20th century, with a focus on plotter drawings, other 2D media, sculpture and 16mm film. The HeK in Basel specialises in artworks involving new media and digital technologies, and the conceptual and technical issues around its preservation.