Youtube Play or "Where does the Guggenheim get off?"
A conversation between Doris Berger, Carol Cheh, Kristina Newhouse, Danial Nord, and Curtis Stage about curating video online, the museum as fast-culture franchise, corporate sponsorship in the age of fiscal terror, and the “democratization” of the art experience.
In the publicity announcing the Guggenheim Museum had partnered with HP and Youtube (Google) to present YoutubePlay (youtube.com/play), the Museum’s stated goal is to reach the “widest possible audience.” They invited anyone with “access to the internet” to submit works for consideration. From the thousands of anticipated entries, Guggenheim curators will narrow them to 200 to be viewed by a jury of nine professionals in disciplines such as the visual arts, filmmaking and animation, graphic design. Guggenheim curator Nancy Spector was quoted by the New York Times as promising that the makeup of the jury will be diverse enough to “prevent art-world or other biases from infecting the process.” The end result, in the Guggenheim’s estimation, will be the “ultimate Youtube playlist: a selection of the most unique, innovative, groundbreaking video work being created and distributed online during the past two years.”
YoutubePlay begs the question of where the Guggenheim gets off, not simply in the sense of how an institutional franchise of its reputation gets away with corporate merger, but also in how they may absolve themselves of curatorial responsibility for discernment by “getting off” the bandwagon before its last stop. One also wonders how they may or may not “get off” on what they discover in the “democratized” online community—will YoutubePlay be a turn-on, inspiring curators and institutions to open their mandate more broadly to include members of something that is clearly being positioned as neo-avant garde? Is this venture noble community outreach or a publicity stunt? Will it build audience for the traditional museum? Should this curatorial trend alarm us or is it something we should embrace? More importantly, what does it mean to be an artist or museum professional in the age of the online free-for-all?
Please join us at PØST for an open dialogue about these questions and more!
The evening’s conversationalists:
Doris Berger is an art historian, writer, and curator, who relocated to Los Angeles from Vienna/Wolfsburg/Berlin. Berger has curated numerous contemporary art shows in Germany and writes for print publications and magazines. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on how artists are represented in biopics.
Carol Cheh is a Los Angeles-based writer, curator and founder of Another Righteous Transfer! a blog devoted to documenting LA's performance art scene. In 2008, she curated Signals: A Video Showcase for the Orange County Museum of Art. Cheh is currently working on a master's thesis dealing with mutated notions of authorship in the work of new media artist Ryan Trecartin.
Kristina Newhouse is a contemporary art curator and writer. Since 2003, she has been an editor at X-tra Contemporary Art Quarterly.
Danial Nord is a Los Angeles-based media artist who uses the tools and techniques of mass communications to reprocess the audiovisual detritus of contemporary culture.
Curtis Stage is a Los Angeles-based artist working with media art and photography. Stage is Vice Chair and Assistant Professor of Multimedia at the Institute of Arts and Multimedia at Los Angeles Mission College and Visiting Artist of Digital Art at Claremont Graduate University.
This conversation takes place as part of PØST’s 31 Kamikaze projects scheduled there in July. Please contact HK Zamani at 213 488-1280 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on YoutubePlay or Where does the Guggenheim get off?, please contact Kristina Newhouse at email@example.com or http://www.facebook.com/kristina.newhouse