I think it's absolutely unprofessional (to say the least) to not inform
artists about their inclusion in an exhibition (on-line or off-line) and
this should be pointed out to the institution. I guess the rationale behind
this is the assumption that the work is accessible to anybody anyway and the
Web allows anyone to link to anything.
I believe that context is the key issue here. I think it's ok if I link to
your site or projects on my personal homepage ("My Favorite Art Projects")
and I wouldn't object to institutions including artworks or other
organizations in their "link directory," which in itself doesn't consitute
much of a contextualization. Exhibitions, however, are an entirely different
case; your work is presented in a very specific context. After all, there
are artists who object to being included in a show because they believe it
is a bad one or they don't like the contextualization of their work. Artists
should at least be allowed to make that choice.
I must say I'm surprised that a museum would be able to do this because
there usually are many administrative issues involved on the institutional
end: artists participating in an exhibition usually have to fill out loan
agreements forms (even for websites) etc.
When it comes to the "conditions" for showing art that you outline below,
I'm afraid this picture is a bit too rosy. Even major museums do not
necessarily pay a fee or expenses for travel and accomodation. Even
installation expenses sometimes aren't covered (which is a joke).
Some net artists refuse to be part of an exhibition if they don't get a fee,
which I think is perfectly alright. Sometimes there aren't fees due to
budget constraints but in general, net art should be treated as any other
From: Simon Biggs
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 1/5/02 12:44 PM
Subject: possible off-topic but relevant
Welcome to 2002.
This might be off topic, but this list seems the suitable context for
discussion of the issue involved in this post.
A fairly major US museum has recently mounted a show of digital art. It
features about six installations by artists established in the field.
is also an extensive website devoted to the show where there are links
about 10 artist's websites featuring works made for the net. These
are not featured in the installation part of the show.
I do not know what the conditions were for the artists showing in the
space of the museum but would imagine they would be the usual...a fee,
installation expenses, travel and accomodation, a catalogue, related PR,
etc. Knowing some of the artists I know that they would not show without
receiving a significant fee. Nor would I...whether for a net piece or an
I am one of the artists linked to on the site. I only found out about
show after the fact and via a third party. The curators did not contact
to ask for permission to refer or link to the work (or, for that matter,
select and curate it) or even to inform me of their intent. I have never
heard of them or from them. Obviously they did not offer me any
of any kind nor any other benefits...although clearly they must feel
linking to work such as mine is of significant enough value to them.
Whilst it is nice for ones work to be noted and linked to I think this
curatorial approach raises some important questions about how curators
their institutions relate to artists in general and net based artists in
particular. I have not yet contacted the curators or their institution.
am not sure what I would say if I did. It has crossed my mind to ignore
them, just as they have ignored me. If I was an artist of a different
character I might do something that would bounce back at them (eg: an
RTMark type thing) but that wouldn't be my style.
What are others thoughts on this? I imagine others here with similar
experiences (this is not the first time, by far, this has happened to
I would most appreciate feedback from the various curators on this list.
[log in to unmask]
The Great Wall of China @ http://www.greatwall.org.uk/
Babel @ http://www.babel.uk.net/
Research Professor (Digital Media)
Art and Design Research Centre
School of Cultural Studies
Sheffield Hallam University