How has the Web shaped art? Boston museum asks

The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (ICA Boston) is planning what it is calling the first major US exhibition devoted to the impact of Internet culture on visual art, featuring works that date back to the year Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. 

"Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today" will feature the work of 60 artists, collaborations and collectives, showing 70 works in all that cover painting, performance, photography, sculpture, video, web-based projects and virtual reality. The international, intergenerational list of artists to be featured includes Cao Fei, Pierre Huyghe, Laura Owens, Nam June Paik, Cindy Sherman and Anicka Yi. 

Beginning at that fateful moment in 1989, the Internet, says the museum, radically changed our way of life – "from how we shop, make friends, and share experiences, to how we imagine our future bodies and how nations police national security." New digital technologies were introduced, bringing about new platforms for social media and communications, and the "massive proliferation of images of all kinds." 

Among the overriding themes – and one that helps answer the question of how the Web has shaped art – is what the museum called "the internet-age democratisation of culture that comprises our current moment." 

Our understanding of self, privacy, community and virtual/physical space will all be examined through the frame of the rise of the internet, according to the ICA's director, Jill Medvedow. 

The show will be devided into five sections, each taking on some of these key issues: for example, "Hybrid Bodies" will ask the question "what does it mean to be human?" in light of our technologically mediated society, while "States of Surveillance" will examine how artists address (and suggest ways to resist) the effects of surveillance technologies. 

Among the exhibition's highlights will be a newly commissioned, site-specific virtual reality installation by Jon Rafman that is said to "collapse real and virtual space in a dreamscape that unfolds over eight minutes." 

"Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today" runs from Feb 7 through May 20. In association with the show, 14 arts organisations around Boston will be exploring art and technology through exhibitions, performances, film screenings and other programs. Find out more at — AFP Relaxnews


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