From Browser to Gallery (and Back): The Commodification of Net Art

From Browser to Gallery (and Back): The Commodification of Net Art 1990-2011
by Jennifer Chan, Advised by Professor Chris Hanson, Syracuse University Special thanks to jOnCates and Curt Cloninger September 2011-January 2012
Since its beginnings in the late 90s, internet art has had a fickle relationship with the museum. While commissions and granting initiatives have
been established for media arts in Europe and America, the relationship between internet art and its fluctuating appearance in institutions demonstrates that it has not yet been wholly embraced by mainstream contemporary art. Due to its variable reproducibility, the curation and collection of net art has presented challenges and transformations to the traditional operations of art distribution. Sculptures, digital paintings, installations and performances appear on the internet as documentation of art, whilst animated gifs and videos are moving images that require browsers, screens or projections as the apparatus for (re)presentation. This essay traces the shifts in value of internet art from browser
to gallery, and compares disparate examples of curation, collection and selling of net art from past and present. Some questions that started this inquiry were:
• Can internet art make money like other artistic genres?
• Who buys internet art?
• How has value been ascribed to net art as a freely accessible form?
• How has web-based been curated and sold in the gallery system?
• What implications does its monetization have on existing modes of distribution and the definition of the collectible art object?

Read the paper: From Browser to Gallery (and Back)