ArtInfo’s Andrew Russeth names his top ten artist website, which might as well be renamed “Top 10 auction friendly artists who happen to have websites”. The list is 90 percent men, Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, and Gerhardt Richter amongst them. The two lesser knowns on this list are AA Bronson and Kate Gilmore, and even they are doing extremely well for themselves.
Like everyone else cited by Russeth, it’s clear these artists aren’t making their website a focus (I suspect AA Bronson’s hasn’t updated his design since 2004.) It’s no secret I have an affinity for net artists, but were I making this list that’s not why there’d be a lot of them on it. This isn’t because they intuitively know how to make an easily navigable menu bar — cookie cutter websites are great for this and often preferable for this reason — but because the artist’s “hand” is made visible on the site itself somehow. This can be made apparent in both design and frequent updating.
Based on this criteria, I’m listing a few of my favorite sites below. I invite readers to do the same in the comment section below:
Joel Holmberg. The top of this artist’s website marked by constantly refreshing browser tabs. I like it. I also like the current splash page: a picture of the sky with lens flare that follows a users curser. Like most web ephemera this will occupy about 20 seconds of a surfers time, but oh what a 20 seconds!
Petra Cortright. Cortright maintains what is quite possibly my favorite net.artist website. It’s constantly changing and all of the pages have customized background images to match the work. On some pages the cursor even drops pink sparkles.
Stephanie Davidson runs my daily read, the Rising Tensions tumblr, as an addition to her website. Rising Tensions hosts an array of images, mostly from outside the art world. I enjoyed this David Benjamin Sherry-like picture from awkward family pictures, along with a rising McDonalds sign in a lake. Also, while any picture of a weird office with computers matches the cliche of what viewer would expect to find on an net artist website, but this forest with computers is pretty funny. Like any blog, regular reading is necessary to gain an understanding of the artist’s sensibility.
VVORK. An old school art-image based blog maintained by artists Aleksandra Domanovic, Christoph Priglinger, Georg Schnitzer, Oliver Laric. It was the first of its kind, and incredibly useful, though I now read curator Forrest Nash’s Contemporary Art Daily more regularly. There’s a little less gif action on his site, but I like that the full information about each exhibition is given along with a grid of images. It also is the only website I’ve seen that completely recreates gallery’s aura of authority, which is both a strength and weakness.
Tauba Auerbach – Auerbach is a well known artist who shouldn’t have been missed even by Russeth. An attractive website with curly text and rollovers, the site maintains the unique sensibility of the artist. It’s a little hard to read, but because I can see the text’s relationship to Auerbach’s work, I look past that.
Other Criteria – Technically this is just an artist edition website, but it’s one of artist Damien Hirst more successful projects. I think he’s more honest about what he’s doing when he skips the charade about how his work is about death and the art market, and just sells merch.