Two years ago Caitlin Jones observed in NYFA Current that net artists working in multiple formats were increasingly finding venues to show. Today, the art world is still figuring out how to manage the practicalities of dealer and artist relationships. I spoke with Aron Namenwirth, of artMovingProjects, in an effort to better understand the challenges, and solutions, digital media presents to contemporary galleries with a focus on New Media. – Paddy Johnson
One topic that’s come up on Rhizome’s blog is the rematerialization of art (the idea, according to Ed Halter, “that innovations such as the flat-screen monitor, the digital print, and the editioned DVD, have helped transform immaterial forms like video and net.art into a new generation of physical, sellable objects”), so I wanted to talk to you about this a little. Is it critical to display new media art in the gallery?
I think new media art, like old media, needs a physical place for critical and social discourse. On the computer screen in the privacy of your home, you can do research, and email other professionals on the merits of a piece, but it’s not the same as looking at it in a real space, walking around it, and experiencing it. A lot of new media work requires interaction, and that interaction is mediated by the spectator and the user together.
Tom Moody, OptiDisc, 2007 (Installation at artMovingProjects)
It seems to me that there’s a lot to be said for going into a space, and experiencing that work with someone else too. A dialog can occur, that, as you mention, is more spontaneous. Which I think can be important for new media, particularly because the bias of the medium is “cold.”
Of course, the beauty of some new media art projects is that you can view it anytime you want online.
Right, which presumably has its pluses and minuses for dealers. I know you have been working on a contract between the artist and gallery. I thought maybe we could discuss some of these details a little, because I imagine they’re really important to both artists and dealers.
Sure. The contract I’ve drawn up is an agreement between the artist and artMovingProjects. It’s binding for the life of the working relationship between artist and the gallery, and that’s actually how the document starts. The stipulation is for one piece of the artist’s oeuvre — and that’s what’s so different about it than other gallery contracts. Typically, the contract between the artist and the gallery represents all the artist’s work, and ties the artist to the gallery. In this case, the artist is free to work for many different venues simultaneously, which is a real plus.
Well, there are examples of independently working artists in traditional mediums that seem to do okay, but it is very rare.
Yes, and this is very specifically tied to the intellectual content. It stipulates that the artwork will only be sold with permission of the gallery at the agreed piece in perpetuity”¦.With editions, and video, the dealers typically increase the price of the edition as it is sold, and I feel that that’s not such a great idea in the short term because it creates undue pressure on the collector. Also, part of the contract stipulates that any deals the artist makes outside the agreement involving others will not be supported by the gallery without authorization in writing. Further, should the artwork be sold without permission in writing this will end the relationship between the artist and the gallery.
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