Finally, a professional networking site designed to give women a leg up by eliminating 60% of the work force. That’s right, no dudes allowed here. Claiming to provide an alternative to the traditional content provided to women, the biggest problem this site needs to address is the fact that the sentiment suggests that job opportunities and self help advice were never available in the first place. Damsels in Success founder Harleen Kahlon might also rethink her choice of corny girl power name — it may very well be the worst I’ve seen to date.
Publishing mogul Nick Denton contributes to fine art by putting together an ad program that slots art work in empty ad spaces, and then squandering the idea with a roster of artists so embarrassingly bad any artist with a wit of sense would refuse their chance at “exposure”. Gawker curator Liz Dimmitt of Gumshoe LLC attempted to address the issue of quality earlier this year in a mass art blogger solicitation for advice, though we can’t imagine she received too much response. She clearly hadn’t bothered to look at anyone’s archives, an easy first step before asking someone for charity professional advice. We haven’t noticed much improvement in Gawker’s featured artists since then.
As a whole, DesignSponge and Apartment Therapy aren’t bad sites, but the willy nilly labeling of illustration, craft an anything else you might mount on a wall in your home as art could stand rethinking. Vintage bathing suits in a frame enjoy the elevated to the status of art at DesignSponge, as do illustrations of men raking leaves at Apartment Therapy. People who consider old clothing in a frame aren’t doing any one any harm of course, but with all the bad work the sites feature, readers with any kind of art background end up wishing for either a little more curation or a little less art.
Truth be told every so often these guys break a story or produce a strong comment thread so we debated a little before granting these guys a slot in our Worst in the Web countdown. However, reading the blog again solved this problem, as we were reminded of the seemingly endless supply of dull and pretentious posts the website produces. Of course, by the tone of or The Transom discussing national markets and race you’d think there were all kinds of fresh thoughts on the table. One only need refer to last January’s post and comments on ArtReview’s myspace blog to see just how far this new perspective takes us.
To the best of my knowledge, ArtWorld Salon hosts the only art blog in which professional qualifications are vetted prior to comment approval. In September they announced to readers that more commentors had been solicited, thus opening the flood gates for “informed” debate. Steven Kaplan is a regular on the site, though he started contributing to the site three months prior to administrative change.
“His staggering visualizations bring to life the throw away statistics to which we would otherwise be numb!” glows one typical blog response to the work of Chris Jordan, as though his photographic collages of disposables had imparted some kind of knowledge we didn’t know already. Facile gimmickry on the other hand didn’t seem to pass through anyone’s lips. Never failing to gravitate to a digestable working formula and easy message, it would appear the Internet nerdocracy is still run entirely by teenagers.
5. New Museum
Pretty much everyone agrees that while the New Museum front page may be easier to navigate than its predecessor, there’s a lot of work still to be done. For example, perhaps the developers could find a way to make the roll over text on their front page icons readable? I am told more images will be made available on the site — which is a good thing given the four they provide for their current Unmonumental show — but maybe while they’re at it they could ad the museum’s exhibition archives. It’s a rather gaping hole.
Assuming the New Museum is still working though these problems, they are still in a better spot than The Whitney. That institution may have finally given up on its lone plight to preserve wholly flash websites — that being its own — but they still have a long way to go before they give people a reason to use their site. Like tiny ugly drop down menus? If so, the Whitney’s got a site for you! Hate all those biennials? No problem, all but the last website are gone. Rather imagine exhibitions than view them? The Whitney believes in this too – all past exhibitions feature only one thumbnail, and a short press release if you’re lucky. Of course, two of the current shows list many more images, but there’s no way to easily click through pictures you like. Care to waste all kinds of time clicking on links you may not be interested in? The Whitney gives all this to you and more…
Institutions notoriously host awful websites, RISD the worst of the lot, opting for floating menu titles users have to chase across the screen to click on. These headlines prompt teany tiny drop down menus impossible to read or easily follow. The site makes us question the quality of their design department – even if they don’t have anything to do with it. As for the rest of the program, passing any speculative judgments based on the quality of its website will get prospective students no where. It would be nice however, if the site lived up to the school’s alumni.
Will these sites forever suck? How long can a web publication exist without rss feeds? Artnet might tell you indefinitely, since they’ve been online since 1995, and still haven’t managed to accrue enough web savvy to add this basic feature. Artinfo might look even worse for having introduced an online magazine during a time when RSS feeds were standard, and still overlooking it.
More importantly however, both online magazines feature some of the worst writing in the business. Putting aside a variety of basic structural problems in the articles both sites publish, nobody cites accolades from an artnet or artinfo review because the magazines are so vapid. Artinfo invests virtually nothing in their writers which an array of light reporting pieces on the market and found stories reveals, and Artnet, while fairing slightly better sets the standard for lazy writing.
A comparison between Artnet’s pricey auction database and Artinfo’s free sales index won’t be happening here except to say collectors, gallerists and appraisers still have very little choice in regards to these services. Artinfo’s database is too incomplete to be competition to anyone, which means Artnet’s still the best game in town, even if it is full of errors. And it is.
Saatchi gallery is to the artworld what myspace is to musicians…big and ugly, but with no overnight success stories, fewer search options, and less mailable page templates. Basically, it sucks. We can’t even identify the “biggest” problem the site has, – it’s got so many – though certainly one of the larger ones stems from the fact that it lacks the basic tenets of popular social networking sites today; greater search and curatorial abilities. Perhaps a larger issue still however, lies within Saatchi’s conflicted means of gaining artists more exposure. What good for example, does it do an artist with representation to have Saatchi come up over their own gallery on the web? Not much. And what use is a site populated entirely by amateurs to the emerging artist or collector? Also not too much. We’re sensing some impending irreverence in YourGallery’s future.
Bonus: Failed non-profit redesigns of 2007. We invite regular visitors to read this post again for the first time!