Is something missing from most artists' websites?
September 21, 2010 12:37 PM Subscribe
What do you look for when you’re looking at art online? Beyond the standard examples-of-work, bio, CV, statement, and contact information, what additional types of content (if any) might contribute to an informative, engaging website for a visual artist?
posted by wreckingball to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
The above material is going to be the core of any artist’s website—you want somebody doing a Google search for your name to get a quick, efficient overview of who you are and what you do, and any “supplemental” content shouldn't get in the way of that. Nobody’s looking to waste a gallerist or grant juror's time, and one wants to avoid clunky interfaces and poor-quality media. That much is clear.
At the same time, most emerging artists whose work is intended to be accessed in physical space (be that a gallery or off-site installation, live performance, or what have you) have to contend with the fact that most people are likely going to encounter the work exclusively online, in the form of JPGs, FLVs, etc. Though a website isn’t going to fully replicate an experience of viewing the work in person, it seems as though the format should be able to foster other potentially-meaningful engagements among the viewer, the work, and/or the artist him/herself. My question is really, how might one go about accomplishing this? Are there solid examples of this already out there?
Put another way: imagine that you stumble across an artist’s work online, and it really catches your interest. Is there anything not mentioned above the fold that you’d like to see/know/read about? Are there ways of organizing or accessing the work and information (tags, RSS feeds, timelines, _____?) that make for a more rewarding experience for online audiences?
Not every approach is going to be appropriate for every practice, of course, but I’ve been asked to build websites for artists of all stripes, so suggestions needn’t be universally-applicable.
I also find myself constrained by certain biases that are pretty common among fine artists—the sense that too much explication deadens the experience of the work; that comment sections do more harm than good; that hawking merchandise is déclassé. But what do I know? Maybe people want to see “behind-the-scenes” studio shots or read the “back-story” of every work or buy reproductions or I don’t even know what. I’d really love to know what non-artists—people that simply like art—are looking for when looking at art online.
FWIW, I often find MeFites’ responses to/expectations of visual art bewildering and strange (too long on the inside, I imagine): that’s why it’s y’all that I’m asking. Thanks!