Special Issue "Art Curation: Challenges in the Digital Age"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752). This special issue belongs to the section "New Media".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 May 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Francesca Franco
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Humanities, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QH, UK
Interests: art & technology; media art histories; computer art; computer art pioneers; computational art; interactive art; generative art; algorithmic art; curatorial practice; digital art documentation; Venice Biennale and biennials

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The canon of 20th century art has been expanded over the past few decades to include neglected artists and genres. Digital art, however, has largely remained outside of this "circle". This special issue will explore how art institutions, conservators, curators and scholars have helped, through curatorial practice, to integrate digital art into the wider field of contemporary art.

We invite potential contributors to submit original articles on their research, whether theoretical or empirical, to be considered by our review panel. We are particularly interested in contributions that address the following questions: How do art exhibitions help to trace the origins and trajectories of digital art? Can curatorial practice help to integrate digital art into the art history curriculum, and if so, how? How do art institutions, museums and galleries engage with the multi-cross-trans-disciplinary aspects of digital art, compared to art fairs, festivals and biennials? Are "conventional" or "old media" curatorial approaches still relevant or necessary when curating digital art? What are the issues involved in re-contextualizing and exhibiting pioneering artworks made in the 1960s and 1970s? Can curatorial practices increase public awareness of digital art? What are suitable curatorial approaches regarding digital art? And can curatorial practices help to understand the relations between digital art and other types of art?

Other topics of interest include aspects of the history of new media, challenges in the field, and evolving aesthetics, considered through the varied lenses of history and practice.

Dr. Francesca Franco
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • digital art
  • contemporary art
  • computational art
  • curatorial practice
  • art history
  • art exhibition
  • new media

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Article
Imagination, Indigeneity, and Computation: The SIGGRAPH 2018 Art Gallery
Arts 2020, 9(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9010018 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 1449
Abstract
This report addresses the SIGGRAPH 2018 Art Gallery (Vancouver, 2018), its curatorial process, the conceptual guidelines, the methodological approaches, and the sources behind it. The gallery has emphasized a transdisciplinary perspective combining creative and critical projects coming from art, science, and technology. The [...] Read more.
This report addresses the SIGGRAPH 2018 Art Gallery (Vancouver, 2018), its curatorial process, the conceptual guidelines, the methodological approaches, and the sources behind it. The gallery has emphasized a transdisciplinary perspective combining creative and critical projects coming from art, science, and technology. The exhibition was one component of the SIGGRAPH conference, and it was built upon five conceptual nodes, in this text, particular attention is paid to the historical node. The SIGGRAPH Art Gallery is an international show that in 2018 included the work of artists, engineers, and scientists from more than twelve countries participating in the exhibition in situ and from other ten countries participating in the online exhibition. In general terms, the dialog between a diverse set of projects is one of the most compelling aspects of the exposition, the participation of Indigenous artists working with digital media represented one of the most challenging and positive elements of the gallery. The theoretical reflections of Friedrich Kittler about the museums and their relationship with computation and information were a permanent source of inspiration. This text is located halfway between a report and a paper. Therefore, some sections are written in the first person. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Curation: Challenges in the Digital Age)
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Article
Between the Art Canon and the Margins: Historicizing Technology-Reliant Art via Curatorial Practice
Arts 2019, 8(3), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030121 - 18 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1787
Abstract
This article explores curatorial practice that has technology-reliant works at its epicentre, arguing that for an efficient methodology to historicize the latter there needs to be a reconfiguration of the curatorial scope and a holistic approach to viewing and documenting exhibitions. Based on [...] Read more.
This article explores curatorial practice that has technology-reliant works at its epicentre, arguing that for an efficient methodology to historicize the latter there needs to be a reconfiguration of the curatorial scope and a holistic approach to viewing and documenting exhibitions. Based on theoretical research and install decisions of recent years, the ways in which curatorial practice can be reconfigured within the art canon to inform art history, as well as to accommodate developments in exhibition practices are examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Curation: Challenges in the Digital Age)
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Article
Going Digital? New Media and Digital Art at the Stedelijk
Arts 2019, 8(3), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030097 - 01 Aug 2019
Viewed by 2622
Abstract
The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, has an extensive collection of time-based media art from the 1960s onwards, which has been expanded into the digital field in recent decades. The Stedelijk makes an interesting case study for this special issue on “Art [...] Read more.
The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, has an extensive collection of time-based media art from the 1960s onwards, which has been expanded into the digital field in recent decades. The Stedelijk makes an interesting case study for this special issue on “Art Curation: Challenges in the Digital Age,” because it has had a reputable history of dealing with time-based art since the mid-1970s but presently faces the same challenges with regard to curating and collecting digital art as other museums of modern art. The Stedelijk’s history began in 1974, when the first curator for time-based art was hired, Dorine Mignot, a pioneer in this field. After Mignot’s retirement in 2006, the museum was closed for almost a decade, but under the leadership of Beatrix Ruf (2014–2017), an innovative agenda was set again for new media and digital art. In this paper, Sjoukje van der Meulen mobilizes the museum’s rich and varied history of new media and digital art to think through some of the issues, challenges and concerns raised by guest editor Francesca Franco for this special issue such as “What are the issues involved in re-contextualizing and exhibiting artworks made in the 1960s and the 1970s?” and “What are [adequate] curatorial approaches regarding digital art?” Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Curation: Challenges in the Digital Age)
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Article
Digital Engagement in a Contemporary Art Gallery: Transforming Audiences
Arts 2019, 8(3), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030090 - 11 Jul 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2133
Abstract
This paper examines a curatorial approach to digital art that acknowledges the symbiotic relationship between the digital and other more traditional art practices. It considers some of the issues that arise when digital content is delivered within a public gallery and how specialist [...] Read more.
This paper examines a curatorial approach to digital art that acknowledges the symbiotic relationship between the digital and other more traditional art practices. It considers some of the issues that arise when digital content is delivered within a public gallery and how specialist knowledge, audience expectations and funding impact on current practices. From the perspective of the Digital Curator at MOSTYN, a contemporary gallery and visual arts centre in Llandudno, North Wales, it outlines the practical challenges and approaches taken to define what audiences want from a public art gallery. Human-centred design processes and activity systems analysis were adopted by MOSTYN with a community of practice—the gallery visitors—to explore the challenges of integrating digital technologies effectively within their curatorial programme and keep up with the pace of change needed today. MOSTYN’s aim is to consider digital holistically within their exhibition programme and within the cannon of 21st century contemporary art practice. Digital curation is at the heart of their model of engagement that offers new and existing audience insights into the significance of digital art within contemporary art practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Curation: Challenges in the Digital Age)
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Article
Networked Co-Curation: An Exploration of the Socio-Technical Specificities of Online Curation
Arts 2019, 8(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030086 - 08 Jul 2019
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Abstract
Online curation is shaped and defined not merely by its content, but just as much by the nature of the structure and the systems that are used by curators and artists. It could be argued that this applies to any medium, but as [...] Read more.
Online curation is shaped and defined not merely by its content, but just as much by the nature of the structure and the systems that are used by curators and artists. It could be argued that this applies to any medium, but as this essay will show, the Web profoundly influences the role of the curator in new ways. In this paper we show how curation on the Web is not merely concerned with presenting art, but that curation functions within a wider ecology of social and technical power relations. This shift is characterized by a collision of different interests driven by economic, cultural, and socio-political agendas, and can be framed as a new space of performativity: signaling a move from curating a set of objects to a conceptual and operational process that puts different constellations of human and machinic agents, objects and practices into relation with one another. This means that a curator needs to take into account a complex interrelated network of dependencies and contexts that are often invisible or incomprehensible to most people. In such a scenario online curation becomes ‘networked co-curation’ and shifts the attention from what is produced to how it is performed under the socio-technical conditions and relations that characterize the current state of the Web. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Curation: Challenges in the Digital Age)
Article
Experimental and Creative Approaches to Collecting and Distributing New Media Art within Regional Arts Organisations
Arts 2019, 8(3), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030085 - 05 Jul 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1488
Abstract
This article is an overview of preliminary research undertaken for the creation of a framework for collecting and distributing new media art within regional art galleries in the U.K. From the 1960s, artists have experimented using computers and software as production tools to [...] Read more.
This article is an overview of preliminary research undertaken for the creation of a framework for collecting and distributing new media art within regional art galleries in the U.K. From the 1960s, artists have experimented using computers and software as production tools to create artworks ranging from static, algorithmic drawings on paper to installations with complex, interactive and process-oriented behaviours. The art-form has evolved into multiple strands of production, presentation and distribution. But are we, as collectors, researchers, artists and enthusiasts facing an uncertain future concerning the integration of new media art into institutional cultural organisations? Recently, concerns have been raised by curators regarding the importance of learning how to collect new media art if there is to be any hope of preserving the artworks as well as their histories. Traditional collections management approaches must evolve to take into account the variable characteristics of new media artworks. As I will discuss in this article, although regarded as a barrier to collecting new media artworks, artists and curators at individual institutions have recently taken steps to tackle curatorial and collections management activities concerning the often unpredictable and unstable behaviours of new media artworks by collaboration and experimentation. This method has proved successful with some mainstream, university and municipal galleries prior to acquiring or commissioning new artworks into their collections. This paper purports that by collaboration, experimentation and the sharing of knowledge and resources, these concerns may be conquered to preserve and make new media art accessible for future generations to enjoy and not to lament over its disappearance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Curation: Challenges in the Digital Age)
Article
Curating on the Web: The Evolution of Platforms as Spaces for Producing and Disseminating Web-Based Art
Arts 2019, 8(3), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030078 - 01 Jul 2019
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Abstract
By analysing a series of exhibition projects responding to central changes in web technology since its public unveiling (1991), this study identifies a historical trajectory for discussing the evolution of curating on the web. Such evolution highlights how curators have devised exhibition models [...] Read more.
By analysing a series of exhibition projects responding to central changes in web technology since its public unveiling (1991), this study identifies a historical trajectory for discussing the evolution of curating on the web. Such evolution highlights how curators have devised exhibition models that operate as platforms for not only displaying art specific to the web, but also for producing and disseminating it in a way that responds to the developments of web technology—and its socio-cultural and economic impact. With the massification of web tools, in fact, these platforms have generated distributed systems of artistic production free from the physical and conceptual limitations of the gallery and museum space. They have not only become spaces for displaying art, but also platforms that nurture its production, different modes of audience engagement and critique the canons of the institutionalised art world. Originating from the desire to reduce the historical fragmentation of this field of work and its partial mapping, this study follows a periodisation that starts from the early internet, with its BBS-enabled platforms such as ARTEX (1980), to introduce the 1990s experimentations with the web browser and the developments of projects like äda’web (1995). It then dives into the Web 2.0 when, with the platformisation of the technology, curators developed an array of approaches for adopting existing web services, as in the instances of CuratingYouTube (2007–present) and #exstrange (2017). Lastly, it outlines the trends of today’s web, which saw the birth of projects like the blockchain-enabled cointemporary (2014), to then draw conclusions about the relevance of this historical trajectory in the field of curatorial studies and the production of web-based and digital art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Curation: Challenges in the Digital Age)
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Essay
Curating The American Algorists: Digital Art and National Identity
Arts 2019, 8(3), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030106 - 21 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1336
Abstract
This essay details the curating strategies and central premise behind the 2013 traveling exhibition The American Algorists: Linear Sublime. This group exhibition, which showcased the artwork of Jean-Pierre Hébert, Manfred Mohr, Roman Verostko, and Mark Wilson, marked the 20th anniversary of New [...] Read more.
This essay details the curating strategies and central premise behind the 2013 traveling exhibition The American Algorists: Linear Sublime. This group exhibition, which showcased the artwork of Jean-Pierre Hébert, Manfred Mohr, Roman Verostko, and Mark Wilson, marked the 20th anniversary of New York Digital Salon. In organizing this exhibit, I attempted to expand the discourse of digital art curation by linking the Algorists, a group formed at the Los Angeles SIGGRAPH conference in 1995, to the broader narrative of American art. Through the exhibition catalogue, I constructed a detailed history of the Algorists and connected the movement’s narrative to ideas of national identity and myth. To cultivate this nexus, I interpreted the Algorists’ unique approach to linear abstraction through the various theories of the sublime active within the history of American art. Ultimately, this case study reveals the incongruities of aligning this group of digital artists—who shared a decidedly internationalist outlook—with a national narrative. While the Algorists resisted parochial characterizations, the concept of the sublime provided a useful vehicle for theorizing the aesthetic response to computer-generated abstraction. The travelling exhibition also offered a potential model, based on effective partnerships and resource sharing, for small college and university galleries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Curation: Challenges in the Digital Age)
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