Internet nerd that I am, I actually recorded some of last Thursday’s lecture by Hanne Mugaas + Cory Arcangel titled Art Since 1960 (According to the Internet.) Count yourself lucky for not having to listen to that file though, as the documentation of two people surfing the web doesn’t exactly translate well into aural sensation. Somewhat predictably, in lieu of this media I’ve chosen merely to summarize the most important point I got out of the lecture: There is less and less difference between canonical art works and any other cultural products on the web.
Countless examples reinforcing this point followed, most of which were at the very least entertaining, and often much more than that. The best video comparison cited came from a post Arcangel had curated on Hanne’s blog early this January.
Don’t let the length of the second video confuse you, as the relevant comparison of falling figures happens in the first few seconds of the video.
On some level, you either buy work such as this as a valid investigation of how art and culture merge on the web or you don’t, but for those who are wondering why they just bothered watching those videos, I have to grant that it’s not a bad question. That said, it’s also unanswerable. Nobody knows precisely what this leveling of fields means for art or art history, which is why we have to pay really close attention to what’s being made. If, as Warhol suggests, there really is little difference between the art of Jasper Johns and his lunches, then we at least need to be able to at least identify it.
Following the surfing talk, Hanne Mugaas + Cory Arcangel posted an intimidating list of links (with no anchors so lazy surfers such as myself complain about having to copy and paste these urls into their browser.) I recommend following as many as you can.