Revisiting “10 Myths of Internet Art”

by Corinna Kirsch on May 22, 2013 · 6 comments From the Desk of AFC

Shu Lea Cheang, "Brandon", 1998–99. Collection of the Guggenheim Museum, and the museum's first acquisition of Internet-based art.

Late-night Googling takes you places. Who knows what I was searching for originally, but I ended up finding it with Jon Ippolito’s “10 Myths of Internet Art”. I probably read that list in school once, and blessed be, it’s online. In 2002, Ippolito wrote “10 Myths of Internet Art”, a heroic apology for Internet-based art. At the time, he served as Assistant Curator of Media Art at the Guggenheim Museum.

More than ten years later, some of the myths Ippolito brings up—it’s difficult to sell a website as art, internet art must be online, and net art tends to be about splashy tech—are still in place. Some, perhaps, to a lesser degree than they were a decade ago, but none of the myths have quite gone away, making it a list worth revisiting.

To give a sense of where we are, and where we remain, we’ve reprinted Ippolito’s 10 myths below.

Myth Number 1: The Internet is a medium for delivering miniature forms of other art mediums.

Myth Number 2: Internet art is appreciated only by an arcane subculture.

Myth Number 3: To make Internet art requires expensive equipment and special training.

Myth Number 4: Internet art contributes to the “digital divide.”

Myth Number 5: Internet art = Web art.

Myth Number 6: Internet art is a form of Web design.

Myth Number 7: Internet art is a form of technological innovation.

Myth Number 8: Internet art is impossible to collect.

Myth Number 9: Internet art will never be important because you can’t sell a Web site.

Myth Number 10: Looking at Internet art is a solitary experience.

 The full-text, here.


Carmen Hermo May 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Hi, I’d like to clarify that the Guggenheim’s Curatorial Department is not structured by medium. While it’s true there’s no media art department, there are also no painting/sculpture/drawing/etc departments. Just wanted to point that out since it is presented as a shocking unveiling of a lack of interest, or something, in that first paragraph. Thanks so much for posting this thought-provoking list!

Corinna Kirsch May 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Thanks, Carmen. At one time there was a curator of media art, no?

Carmen Hermo May 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Yes! That part is true. The curators don’t have medium specialties, either. But there is a dedicated Conservator for time-based media: Thanks Corinna!

Paddy Johnson May 22, 2013 at 5:40 pm

I removed the last sentence in that graph. If there’s currently no medium specialities amongst curators, there’s no reason to keep it.

JD Siazon May 22, 2013 at 6:47 pm

When, by stormy weather over the verdant hills, we become unravelled in ecstasy word for word profoundly moving the congenial bard never himself controlled in himself or not, neither from a grossly waning internet stupor surmised following an eternal night wasted until, unhappily also as me, although sleeping repeatedly as if she was awoke.

Pushing a key to hold mightily her sweet and minty breaths and to do as we sometimes say whatnot gracefully her warm sunshine given unto these bright months picturesque ahead as greater I do not want to believe yet I now already do.

friendship person May 23, 2013 at 1:37 am

he missed myth 11 which is Internet art requires the Internet

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