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10 Museums Supporting the Digital Art Scene

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

1. Whitney Museum of American Art in New York

The Whitney Museum is a prominent representative of digital art for a reason. The connection to American art is unmistakable since media art emerged predominantly in the US in the 1960s as a result of partnerships between artists and tech corporations or research laboratories. The Whitney is currently featuring the essential exhibition Programmed: Rules, Codes and Choreographies in Art, 1965-2018, which spans more than fifty years and connects modern coding and computation techniques with conceptual art from the late 1960s. The exhibition is organized by Adjunct Curator of Digital Art Christiane Paul. Since the founding of its Artport in 2001, a lengthy line of exhibits have been held, including BitStreams (2001), Data Dynamics (2001), CODeDOC (2002), and Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools (2011). For its web portal, the Artport contracts new media and net artists. These artists have created works by Eva and Franco Mattes, Moreshin Allahyari, and the artist pair Eteam, as well as virtual exhibits by Carla Gannis, Elisa Giardina Papa, and Lorna Mills. Aside from being substantial, the collections include works by Addie Wagenknecht, Ian Cheng, John F. Simon Jr., Douglas Davis, Cory Arcangel, Jim Campbell, Nam June Paik, Casey Reas, Jacolby Satterwhite, Korakrit Arunondchai, Cécile B. Evans, and a long list of others.

2. The New Museum in New York

A significant venue for contemporary art in New York, The New Museum aims to promote international dialogue, respect, and understanding. Given the museum's penchant for risk-taking and ongoing interest in video art, Internet and new media art make for logical curatorial choices. Agnieszka Polska, Gregory Kalliche, Eva Papamargariti, as well as Marguerite Humeau's CAD sculptures, are just a few of the new generation of computer-generated image artists the venue is showcasing in the wake of the 2002 exhibition Open_Source_Art_Hack, which was organized by Steve Dietz and Jenny Marketou, as well as solo shows by early adopters of video art like Pipilotti Rist. The New Museum also serves as the executive director of New Inc, an incubator that fuses creative and technology developments to promote the growth of cultural values. The collection, preservation, and archiving of net art are the main objectives of the listserv Rhizome, to which Rhizome has contributed significantly since 2003. The New Museum has a significant worldwide presence because to this meticulous and innovative endeavor. The Art Takes Place Here: Rhizome arranged Net Art Archival Poetics, which is on show there until May 26. It features early and upcoming internet creators such Morehshin Allahyari, Alexei Shulgin, Olia Lialina, Eduardo Kac, and Shu Lea Cheang.

3. Karlsruhe's ZKM Center for Art and Media

The ZKM, often known as the "Electronic or Digital Art Bauhaus," documents the evolution of all forms of media pertinent to our digital era, including painting, photography, video, performances, installations, and other time-based works. The ZKM has hosted some of the earliest and most important exhibitions on digital art, including net condition (1999), Ctrl [Space], Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother (2001-2), Future Cinema: The Cinematic Imaginary after Film (2002), and Algorithmic Revolution, in large part due to the outstanding work of curator Peter Weibel. The Algorithm of Manfred Mohr: 1963 – present (2013) and On the History of Interactive Art (2004). Open Codes, which focuses on programming and the data generated via electronic devices like TVs, cellphones, and computers, is one of the ongoing exhibits, as is Dieter Jung's solo show, which is concerned with light and holography. A portion of the center's permanent collection of media art, which was assembled over thirty years and includes pieces by Lynn Hershman Leeson, Bill Viola, Dennis Oppenheim, Nam June Paik, Paul Garrin, Marina Abramovi, Masaki Fujihata, and Frank Fietzek, among others, is also on exhibit. The center also hosts creative residencies, institutes, and labs for conducting scientific study, development, and production in addition to its function in curating, gathering, and archiving media works.

4. MoMA PS1 and the Museum of Modern Art (New York, US)

The MoMA began its ground-breaking collection of time-based art in the 1960s, and in 2006 it opened a section specifically devoted to new media, establishing specialized display styles and addressing the unique preservation requirements that technology demands. A show on art and technology will be on display at the museum this spring (March 17–June 15), reflecting on the interdependence between hardware and software, the tangible and the immaterial, following the exhibitions Animations (2002) and Thinking Machines Art and Design in the Computer Age, 1959–1989 (2018). In particular, the solo exhibition of artists like Cao Fei (2010) and the organization of co-curated events like the Hong Kong group, which examined the role of the web in the rapid advancements of global trade and information exchange, are examples of how its affiliated institution PS1 contributes to the MoMA's authority in digital art. Funny enough, the MoMA has also served as the venue for augmented reality advancements in 2010 as artists from the group Manifest.With their virtual works, AR artists Mark Swarek, John Craig Freeman, Will Pappenheimer, Tamiko Thiel, and Sander Veenhof seized control of the museum and questioned the physical limitations of established institutions in light of the virtuality of digital art.

5. London, UK's Institute of Contemporary Art

The ICA is known for many things, but in terms of new media, it is most notable for hosting the ground-breaking exhibition Cybernetic Serendipity in 1968. The exhibition, which Jasia Reichardt is the curator of, questions the role of the artist as they develop their ideas using cybernetic tools to produce computer-generated music, images, texts, or poetry. According to the organization's director Stefan Kalmár, "The ICA was created as an institute (not a museum), for the contemporary (not just modern), and for all the arts (not just art)" — which is perfectly reflected in the venue's program and embrace of media arts, as well as its openness and curiosity for the novel. The ICA has recently exhibited three exhibits: one on forensic architecture, one on the British pair Metahaven, and one on Seth Price and the connection between digital technology and the change in focus from production to post-production, static display to circulation. Morag Keil, a Scottish media artist, is now exhibiting a solo show in which she examines how data capitalism and modern technology have affected individuals and their daily lives.

6. Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, United States

The Walker Art Center was a pioneer in the area of digital art, and Steve Dietz, who served as the center's new media curator from 1996 to 2003, is undoubtedly responsible. The first online exhibits, including Beyond Interface: net art and Art on the Net (1998) and Shock of the View: Artists, Audiences, and Museums in the Digital Age (1999), were notable projects that Dietz supervised. Additionally, he created Translocations (2003) and Telematic Connections: The Virtual Embrace, two touring productions. The museum also established the New Media Initiatives division, Online Art Gallery 9, and the Digital Art Study Collection at this time. The Walker Art Center is now continuing its approach of gathering new media, suggesting intriguing installations for the public, and showcasing solo exhibitions of up-and-coming visual artists. The location is notable for having devoted a display in 2017 to the Tokyo-based art collective teamLab, who suggested a virtual and immersive environment for visitors to interact with fictitious animals and plants. With The Body Electric, an exhibition that opens on March 30 and includes works by Laurie Anderson, Ed Atkins, Trisha Baga, Zach Blas, Petra Cortright, Josh Kline, Wolf Vostell, and many others, this term is also full of promise. These works all reflect on the popular tensions in new media between the real and the virtual, the organic and the artificial.

7. (San Francisco, United States) 8. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

San Francisco's Bay Area is a hub for technical advancement, therefore SFMoMA, the city's main museum for modern and contemporary art, could not help but include media arts. The incredible caliber of its collection, which includes works by Julia Scher, Nam June Paik, Douglas Gordon, Dan Graham, Peter Campus, Gary Hill, Tatsuo Miyajima, Candice Breitz, Tacita Dean, Anthony McCall, Jim Campbell, and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, does as a result show that it was one of the first US museums to establish its Media Arts Department in 1987. As evidenced by the upcoming exhibition snap+share: transmitting photographs from mail art to social networks, which will examine the significance of the internet and networks in the production and dissemination of images and opens on March 30th, the museum maintains its prominence in keeping with its 2001 exhibition 010101: Art in Technological Times.

8. London, UK's Serpentine Galleries

Hans Ulrich Obrist, the Serpentine's creative director, was quite explicit when he said, "At the Serpentine, we feel it's time for new experiments in art and technology." The Serpentine Galleries' program is constantly changing to include more and more new media, with a focus on immersive and artificial intelligence technology. Digital art has been a recurrent focus at the gallery thanks to solo exhibits by artists like Pierre Huyghe, Ian Cheng, and Sondra Perry. Last week's debut of Marina Abramovi's The Life, the world's first performance to employ mixed reality, furthered this idea. In contrast to Virtual Reality, the 19-minute experience relies on Magic Leap's most recent wearable technology, which lets users stay visible while submerged in the artwork. We are eager to see what the Serpentine will present next with such a creative curatorial style!

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