I was trying to decide where I stood on this new technology and what possibilities it may hold for the future. On one hand I can see it as a great way of engaging a potentially new audience of people, making artworks more accessible and promoting and encouraging debates and responding to work they see. Then on the other hand, I think and I'm sure that many would agree, that nothing beats seeing a painting/sculpture or any work of art in the flesh. You cannot truly appreciate the sublime, awe when confronted with a huge Barnett Newman, or the layers of brush marks on a Van Gogh, or the busy yet somehow still quiet-like reverence of being in the gallery spaces themselves. I also like the surprise element of going into a gallery for the first time, and not knowing if there will be a Francis Bacon, a Paula Rego, a Jeff Koons or a Rembrandt around the corner...The element of surprise is one of the fun things about going!
It is a similar dilemma that is met when people decide to choose an e-reader over an actual book, they are the same thing in content but different ways of experiencing them. Its a matter of preference. However, on the subject of books, I expect artists also had trepidation when first having their work reproduced in books, not matter how high quality the print its never the same as the real thing. To some extent that rounds my argument to a point where I can say that I think its a good thing art can be viewed online in this way, as after all what first got me interested in Roy Lichtenstein, Fernand Leger and Jim Dine was seeing their work in books, I then choose to seek out the real things. I would assume that the web would inspire other people who may be discovering new artists for the first time.
And what of the future? Will we be able to see whole exhibitions from smaller, commercial galleries online? In second life people already do host exhibitions? Why has no one ever had a virtual exhibition as a part of Somerset art weeks? Would anyone want to?? It would certainly be a very different kind of art and audience if someone chose to show their work solely online. In times or recession and with the struggles that are sometimes faced with finding arts venues is a virtual exhibition the way forward? I wonder...
Click on below link if you fancy a parooze around the Tate Britain: