Waste of Time?

Last night I attended a panel discussion: “The Digital Gallery: How Social Media is Democratizing the Art World?” The fact that there was a superfluous question mark at the end of the title should have prompted me to lower my expectations a few notches. But I’m a sucker for setting and any event held in the penthouse of a building that would otherwise be off limits to me was too enticing to resist. Besides, the blurb for the panel described the discussion as “spirited.” Twice.

So I trekked downtown to the Edelman NYC office, rode the fancy elevator upstairs, and was ushered into a presentation room that had a great view of the Empire State Building.  The panel consisted of Dlyan Farred, Co-founder of Artlog; Nick Hasty, Director of Technology for Rhizome; Derrick Adams, Founder of Binge Online; Noah Horowitz, Director of the VIP Art Fair; Joan Young, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art & Manager of Curatorial Affairs at the Guggenheim Museum; and Paddy Johnson, Founding Editor for the blog Art Fag City. The moderator was amani olu, Co-Founder of Humble Arts Foundation.

To be perfectly honest, the only aspect of the panel I was previously familiar with was the Guggenheim Museum and its collaboration with Youtube to create the Youtube Play exhibition in the rotunda this past fall. So I was surprised when nothing really new or interesting was discussed. Here is a summary of the two-hour “discussion”:

Putting art online has given more people access to art and has given artists more ways to display their work and market themselves.

Wow. Who knew?

Everyone also agreed that online art was no substitution for seeing the real thing in a gallery or museum unless the art was intended for online viewing.

In short: Besides the view, attending this panel was a waste of time.


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