“So I can go to the website and watch this, if I knew how?” the gray haired society woman asked her guide. She was speaking of Oliver Laric’s video 50 50, at the New Museum, a work she may not have connected with for a number of reasons, not the least of which being I was hogging the headphones.
I mention her words because they represent either the reason net art will never find an easy home in museums, or why it needs to be there. For many, the best and only way to display net art properly is virtually, and therefore its space in the museum doesn’t make much sense. Old lady society simply reaffirms this while kicking the artist for creating something in a medium she distrusts and will never adapt to. For others, her words reveal the necessity of giving net art a physical location because they underscore the responsibility of the museum to find and introduce the public to new art. Certainly this woman would never find 50 50 on her own, nor would she think about its value. While she may not contemplate it further, the museum gives an important seal of approval to art that at least increases the chances of that happening. I like to think Unmonumental Online’s presence in the gallery represents the end to the thought that the mere existence of Google should mean that people will naturally find all the art they never knew existed.