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At the beginning of the computer era, there were positive signs of art on the web, then slowly disappeared. I remember some projects of major international museums which were then closed or slowly extinguished.
But now, after more than a few decades during which virtual reality has increasingly grown roots in the real world, institutionalised contemporary art is looking back to the web giving new encouraging signals.
Major initiatives such as videos created from a collaboration between You Tube and the Guggenheim Museum, the very same museum that back in 2001 opened a web site art project then closed it, are signs of renewed unrest.
Obviously this is a reality that is already widely used by the less ‘glossy’ art and this now could be seen as a delayed attempt to re-update itself with initiatives such as Jue de Paume or the recent collaboration between BMW and Tate Modern, which will open its virtual space dedicated to creativity in 2012. The BMW Tate Live opens as a converging place for a new series of art performances will be broadcast live, online, across the globe. Participants will include the choreographer Jérôme Bel and the artists Pablo Bronstein, Harrell Fletcher, Joan Jonas and Emily Roysdon who will create works designed for this occasion. The public can pose questions to the artists and the curators, interacting through social media.
Better late than never, one might think, even if the question always arises about the true value of this "cultural / artistic" museum display. Why use new and self-referential portals, when there are already lots of long established realities in the open web?
Another interesting signal of art in the web are virtual trade fairs which are increasingly making use of computerization.
Here the use is less creative but more pragmatic. Like all sectors of commerce even the trendiest art realities give in to the modern computerized distribution. So if the galleries for some years have initiated transition to the Internet, there is now a buzz of "art fair" activities.
Among many the trendiest is the VipArtFair.com. During the first year of the launch of this initiative there were some minor technical problems but this year it went better even though the financial results are not optimal. About a hundred galleries from around the world participate with works of the value from 500 to nearly one million dollars. The selected galleries are among the top of the contemporary art system, like the White Cube in London and Marian Goodman in New York, as well as corollary appearances from more traditional museum and culture backgrounds and the openness to the world of Twitter and Facebook, thereby broadening the user base.
All these signs make it clear that the virtual world of the web is being increasingly materialising not only in the everyday world but also the world of artistic creativity.