I've been compiling a mental list of art web services I wish existed for a while now, and I think it's time I unload this burden, so that somebody else can make all my ideas happen. Here are a few of my top picks — feel free to email me with suggestions.
1. A dynamic website that lists MFA and BFA openings nationwide.
Students. Faculty. If you are wondering why your openings are poorly attended the answer probably comes in the form of this statement, “Your University’s website sucks”. These sites tend to be difficult to navigate, and often contain so little information it's not worth your valuable surfing time, to check their sites for exhibition listings. I nominate the College Art Association to host this new service and here's why: They are a preexisting organization with the specific mandate to represent academic pursuits. If I were a student or professor, I would be much more inclined to pay membership dues once a year, to ensure that my exhibitions were listed on a website. It's much cheaper than ordering a bunch of postcards, and would probably reach a lot more people. (Peter Russo at Dieu Donné Papermill contacted me a while ago asking if I knew of a website that hosted this kind of information and is the prompter of this post)
2. A comprehensive web publication focusing on fine art with RSS feeds.
With the exception of artsjournal there are no major art publications that use RSS feeds. Artnet, ArtForum.com, ArtInfo”¦I read these publications about half as much as I would if they had feeds. ArtReview is a notable exception because they maintain a blog and like the others send out a mailer with each issue of their magazine (at least I assume they do). Their blog is on myspace though, which is amongst the most limited blog templates you can use. Art in America undoubtedly has the worst web presence of all the major web publications. I noticed they redid their website recently – not that this means anything when you only have a splash page and a list of articles that can be found inside the magazine. UPDATE: Via James Westcott, Web Editor for artreview.com, “When it launches, artreview.com will have RSS feeds and a robot cat, and lots more too….Eventually colleges will be able to upload [exhibition and event] information…onto our site themselves”
3. Online database of art journals.
On a rather boring note, I find intensely annoying that searching for scholarship on the web usually ends at an incomplete abstract and an institutional subscription price. I'd probably pay a subscription fee if I knew it gave me access to a lot of the journals I'd want to be reading, but I haven't seen a service like this around. I think the College Art Association should take on this task too — because they don't have enough on their hands with this new listing service idea.
4. Robot cats.
Turns out someone has already invented a product I have dubiously listed as “service”. It's about time.