3:20 pm Jul. 27, 2012
It's fitting that, following on the heels of the opening of its ambitious exhibition on art and technology, Ghosts In The Machine, the New Museum launched its re-envisioned website today, thanks to over $1 million in recent fund-raising initiatives.
Four years in the making, the site features four new programs designed to serve its rapidly growing digital audience, estimated to be in the millions annually. These include a digital archive documenting the museum’s 35-year history; a database of 400 independent art spaces in 96 nations; and a regularly updated blog with reviews and interviews.
Museum director Lisa Phillips is currently in Greece, but Tara Hart, the New Museum’s digital archivist, testified to the exhaustive nature of the project.
“Since we’re not a collecting museum, there was no physical archive in place,” she said. For the job, the museum hired scores of interns from library science programs, who tracked down yellowing 30-year-old press releases in public storage facilities scattered around the city to accumulate a comprehensive image catalog.
The tedium was alleviated by the occasional discovery.
“We found a lot of documentation about the museum’s first show, Memory,” Hart said. “We also found a bunch of [founding museum director] Marsha Tucker’s letters, which was exciting.”
Here’s what else visitors can find on the new site:
As part of the First Look series, Lauren Cornell, the museum’s adjunct curator and the former director of Rhizome, decided to highlight Image Atlas, a collaborative work by photo-conceptualist Taryn Simon and Internet activist Aaron Swartz. Image Atlas indexes the top image results from different search engines around the world, enabling viewers to visualize cultural differences. Typing in the word "Batman," for example, returns some unexpected imagery from Iran, Russia, and North Korea.
On Six Degrees, a blog for the New Museum about new ideas in art, technology, and culture generally, deputy director Karen Wong talks to Otto Piene, the 84-year-old German artist and whose early technology art—his Light Ballet (1959) is currently on view at the museum as part of Ghosts In The Machine—was way ahead of its time.
The Digital Archive has a searchable database of over 4,000 artists, curators and organizations, plus around 8,000 written and visual records. If you happened to miss Urs Fischer’s solo show back in 2009, you can revisit all the works on display, complete with an audio guide. http://archive.newmuseum.org/
Additionally, the site's new Art Spaces Directory helps artsy travelers gain an insider’s knowledge of alternative art spaces in spots from Cameroon to Vietnam. Judging from the page, Tokyo Wonder Site seems well worth a visit.
More by this author:
- John Holmstrom talks about founding and editing 'Punk,' the chronicle of late-'70s New York
- Ups and downs of the Great New York City Chicken Frenzy