Curating Art in the Digital Age

mid-14c., from M.L. curatus “one responsible for the care (of souls),” from L. curatus, pp. of curare “to take care of.” Church of England sense of “paid deputy priest of a parish” first recorded 1550s.

Today, I went to a lecture titled Curating Art in the Digital Age at my school. It featured two prominent art figures in the world of digital art: Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City and Amanda McDonald Crowley of Eyebeam Art + Technology Center.

Where I take issue, and where it pertains to this blog, was in Paddy Johnson’s lecture. The subject of Tumblr came up several times. Paddy responded by saying that tumbling is not curating, but “just picking stuff.” However, isn’t that essentially curating? Whether a work is in a museum’s possession or not, the curators pick pieces that speak to one another and put them in physical dialogue. In tumbing, I observe practices that are similar to those observed by curators; I chose which works to display and which pieces are published in proximity to one another.

Additionally, the issue of what curating art means in the digital age arises, as is implied by the title of the lecture. I have placed the history of the word curate at the beginning of this post as a reminder as to its definition. Today, curating has come to mean a person who works in a museum or gallery who makes choices at to what and how work is displayed. However, the original meaning was similar to the role of a priest, one who cares for works of art. This definition leaves room for interpretation as to what curating in the digital age means. It is under this definition that I believe this blog fits. Through focusing on women artists who are overshadowed by those who observe the traditional definition of “curate,” we are looking after them in this space.


Also, please feel free to reblog with your own thoughts and opinions. Let’s start a dialogue.
An Interview with Art Handler Magazine Founder Clynton Lowry: Looking at Labor, Trade and Kickstarter
The first issue of Art Handler Magazine looks different than any trade magazine I've seen. It includes an interview with Britton Bertran, the man behind Installator, a widely popular tumblr focused...

All of these articles focus on art handling in some way, but more broadly, labor as it exists in the market. (Unsurprisingly, the magazine also frequently publishes headier articles such as Joshua Simon’s essay on the exploitation of art world creativity.) Earlier this year, they ran an Art Handling Symposium which similarly focused on the business, labor, and the culture of art installation.
Missing the Point About “Twitter Art”

Actually, I think *all* of this misses the point. Using twitter as a medium when you’re an artist is ho-hum (i.e., normal).

Using twitter as the endpoint of your art project-process, that’s twitter art.

Only thing that I’ve seen that’s aspiring to be twitter art is Larry Carlson, Om_Sun, on the twit.

Bonus points are awarded, however, for anyone that takes the piss out of Abramovic, tho.


A Brief History of Animated GIF Art, Part Three

Latest essay from Paddy Johnson for artnet looks into how Tumblr has paid a huge part in the file format as an art medium:

A Tumblr-based art world, generally speaking, is defined a little more broadly than the art world defines itself. The dashboard removes context the way a Google image search does, so that may have something do with its democratic nature. Articles and lists about artists on Tumblr typically include artists with little to no connection to the art world—mathematicians, animators, computer programmers, etc—as well as artists who work the gallery and museum circuit.

Highlighted artists and shoutouts go to dvdp, threeframes, annstreetstudio, hellyeahcinemagraphs, mrdiv, hexeosis, echophon, zwian, beesandbombs, adamferriss, slimjimstudios, cindysuen, hoppip, michaelshillingburg, centolodigiani, brentsgifs, lolumadclub, twohundredfiftysixcolors, joehamilton, francoiseditelagrivoise, kimasendorf, scorpiondagger, evapapamargariti, vincemckelvie, wolfandunicorn, laturbo, cloaque, 15folds, and myself …

You can read the whole article at artnet here

Two main groups like to drop the readymade bomb—galleries and art historians. Galleries love to drop the Duchamp brand because dealers can try to convince clients of an artist’s worth just by mentioning the mouthwatering response readymade. Most Art Historians aren’t interested in what artists are making in Bushwick studios, most of whom rarely wake up with Duchamp on the brain.

Vox Populi is happy to announce an open call for VOX XI - our eleventh annual juried exhibition of emerging artists, which will take place July 10th - July 31st 2015. The deadline for submissions is Sunday May 03, 2015.

To apply, download a prospectus here and follow the instructions.  The application is on SlideRoom and can be accessed here.

Vox Populi is particularly interested in highlighting work in all media that pushes boundaries in terms of form and content, is ambitious and timely, and is experimental and risk-taking.

This is a great professional opportunity to show in a professional exhibition space and bring your work to a large, new audience.

This year’s jurors are Paddy Johnson and Martine Syms.

Paddy Johnson (NYC) is the founding Editor of Art F City and maintains a column on digital art for Artnet. In addition to her work on the blog, she has been published in magazines such as New York Magazine, The New York Times and The Economist. Paddy lectures widely about art and the Internet at venues including Yale University, Parsons, Rutgers, South by Southwest, and the Whitney Independent Study Program. In 2007 she received a scholarship to attend iCommons conference in Croatia as the art critic. In 2008, she served on the board of the Rockefeller Foundation New Media Fellowships and became the first blogger to earn a Creative Capital Arts Writers grant from the Creative Capital Foundation. Paddy was nominated for best art critic at The Rob Pruitt Art Awards in 2010 and 2013.  In 2014, she was the subject of a VICE profile for her work as an independent art blogger.

Martine Syms (LA) is a conceptual entrepreneur based in Los Angeles who uses publishing, video, and performance to look at the making and reception of meaning in contemporary America. She currently runs DOMINICA, an imprint dedicated to exploring blackness as a topic, reference, marker and audience in visual culture. From 2007–11, Syms directed Golden Age, a project space focused on printed matter. She has presented work at universities and museums internationally.

Applicants may submit up to five works in any media.  Application fee is $35.

Will Galleries and Museums Ever Embrace Animated GIF Art?

Article for Artnet by Paddy Johnson examines the issues of GIFs as a medium for Art and Galleries.

The year 2012 was a momentous one for the animated GIF. The popularity of was just beginning to fade, but the platform, which facilitates real-time chat with images, had sparked GIF-making among countless creatives, from programmers and musicians to designers and visual artists. With the rise of Tumblr, and the launch of Google+—social networks used extensively by artists to connect with each other and share GIFs—the medium became so ubiquitous that it was even dubbed the “Word of the Year” by the Oxford Dictionary.

She talks to myself as well as many artists including Tom Moody, anthonyantonellis, Lorna Mills, Jennifer Chan, Andrew Benson and abillmiller.

You can read the article here

[Above GIF is from nicolassassoon’s ‘Homeland Securities’ series (2012)]


A Brief History of Animated GIF Art, Part One

Paddy Johnson for artnet has put together a look into the history of GIFs as an artistic medium:

What does the history of GIF art look like? This is a tricky question to answer because while there has been no shortage of animated GIF exhibitions, there is a dearth of documentation …

… This poses a problem because it means it’s much more difficult to piece together a history of how GIFs have been used in an art context. That history isn’t going to be told in one article, but given the pervasive lack of documentation, an overview is essential before key moments are completely forgotten.

More Here

Misogyny, not Profit, is the Problem with Richard Prince’s “New Portraits”

written by Rebecca Ebben, arts marketing intern at Woman Made Gallery

photo via

Controversial appropriation artist Richard Prince is in the news again after one of his pieces from “New Portraits”, a series of enlarged screenshots of other people’s Instagram posts, sold for $90,000. As Woman Made’s arts marketing intern, I was looking for relevant articles to share on our Facebook page, but was frustrated with how the story is being talked about. News outlets like The Washington Post and British daily The Independent have posted articles explaining the controversy and criticism Prince has received focusing mainly on the amount of money he’s making off of other people’s photos, asking “how is this okay?” and reminding users that the content they post online does not truly belong to them. However, I was unable to find a current article that mentions the fact that the majority of the stolen photographs are of and by women and why this is misogynistic.

Paddy Johnson reviewed the first exhibition of “New Portraits” at the Gagosian Gallery last fall in a piece called “Richard Prince Sucks” which addresses Prince’s sexism in a very concise and well-said way:

In another image, he writes under young singer-songwriter Sky Ferreira’s portrait of herself in the passenger seat of a red sports car: “Enjoyed the ride today. Let’s do it again. Richard.“ If she had a snide response to the leering comment, we never learn what it was. Like a true troll, Prince always gives himself the last word.This kind of sexism isn’t okay, and in this exhibition it’s pervasive. Unlike his "Nurse” paintings, which simply purveyed sexist attitudes by sexualizing anonymous figures, neutering the subjects of his “New Portraits” of their ability to respond actively disempowers them. Not cool.

But Johnson wrote this piece back in 2014; since then, few prominent sources have discussed the sexism inherent in his work and how it relates to the current controversy regarding authorship. By focusing too broadly on ownership in the digital age, current discourse ignores the group most harmed by Prince’s appropriative work: women. When viewed through this critical lens, the comments Prince added underneath these photos come off less as a commentary on current internet culture and ownership, and more of a betrayal of his creepy attitude towards young women. Prince strips these women of their voices and experiences, reducing them to content creators he can exploit. The comment left on the Sky Ferreira image is especially disturbing; it implies some sort of sexual relationship with the singer, who has previously discussed her history of sexual abuse. By presenting Ferreira as simply an object of his sexual desire, he fails to take her lived experiences into account, reducing her to mere content on which he can profit.

Of course, one could argue that this in itself is a commentary on the voyeuristic nature of social media. Everything in this type of work is supposed to be a meta commentary, a tongue-in-cheek statement that pushes boundaries and buttons on purpose. But this attitude towards women does less to draw attention to sexism and more to perpetuate it. Prince is robbing these women of their authority over their own content and using their images only for self-promotion and profit.

If this was supposed to be some sort of meta commentary on our misogynistic culture, it has failed to generate any kind of productive discussion, as most of the articles being written about the story are concerned only with ownership issues and money. No one seems to be talking about the women in the photos and how harmful it is that images of their bodies are being exploited. That’s the main issue with this work: Prince mainly steals from and invalidates women. And that’s far more disconcerting than a five-figure price tag.