The Digital Becomes Contemporary






  • We are at a special and paradoxical moment in the development of digital art. Now that it is finally gaining widespread public and critical attention, digital art is also being quickly absorbed into the world of contemporary art. The next generation of artists and critics will not look at making art with a computer as something extraordinary or unusual. This phenomenon is already quite apparent in galleries in New York and abroad. While galleries like Postmasters and Bitforms specialize in new-media art, numerous other galleries in Chelsea exhibit similar work, but do not make the distinction that it is new-media art. Another growing trend in New York is for artists to display prints along with new media as an integral part of the exhibition. The return to the object is due in part to the recent widespread availability of archival printing methods. Museums are also in the process of refitting to accommodate the next wave of contemporary art. The Museum of Modern Art in New York has closed for two years to update its galleries, and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam is planning a major renovation for 2004. For those of us who have followed the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery for many years, this acceptance of digital art by the contemporary art world is refreshing, but also raises many questions. Digital art has operated outside the art establishment for many years, and this has allowed it to remain relatively free.

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