Does the Guggenheim Need YouTube?

Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 09:08 AM

It was only a matter of time, wasn't it? Until one of the art world's most renowned institutions began trafficking in amateur YouTubevideos...

That's the turn New York's Guggenheim Museum is making. Instead of enlisting high-art hot shots, the museum will look to the masses for their fall schedule. Internet nobodys are currently submitting their video art for 'YouTube Play,' an exhibit filled exclusively by online entrants.

I find the idea very cool. People who are not professional artists have the chance to present work in one of the world's finest museums. Plus, the pieces will undoubtedly be engaging and weird -- after all, it is the Guggenheim.

But the self-described 'Biennial of Creative Video' begs the question of whether we need a museum, or any physical space, to show this kind of art. YouTube is already something of a gallery, a free one that operates 24/7 right from your computer. Why leave your house to see something you can pull up in any web browser?

On the other hand, the point of an art exhibition is to get many people into the same room, thinking and talking about what's in front of them. 'YouTube Play' would be a vast improvement on the way people usually interact with these videos: by leaving anonymous, half-baked comments on a website.

And the Guggenheim must have an eye on YouTube's audience: that coveted demographic of younger users most (if not all) museums long to capture. We live in an age in which some of the most interesting new art is already at our fingertips - it takes years for it to reach gallery walls. So perhaps what the Guggenheim is saying is: if you can't beat them, join them.

Submit your video through July 31 (read the fine print here) -- a selection of up to 20 videos will be on view to the public October 22–24, with simultaneous presentations at the Guggenheim museums in Berlin, Bilbao, and Venice.


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Comments [24]


I read on on Pitchfork the other day that Animal Collective will be part of the judging panel for this exhibit:

I think this could mean that some more esoteric stuff could make the final cut than would have if it was solely judged by art critics. This exhibit gets more and more interesting.

Jul. 26 2010 10:33 AM
ourplanet life

I use the videos to introduce something or as an art expression, don't tell me about filter ...I hate them

Jul. 23 2010 10:42 AM
Liam Flanagan

This a very interesting idea and would provide some sort of temporary filter for Youtube content. I'd also agree with the idea that it helps to create equality for artist, after you don't need a degree to express yourself. An article/debate about the future of museums/art galleries would interesting to read too, it would be a great shame if they no longer existed and were able to provoke debate and discussion. They also present works that people generally can't access and just aren't the same on a computer screen. At the same time I can see why they are struggling to attract younger people.

Thanks for the interesting article.

Jul. 17 2010 12:54 PM

I think it was a great article

Jul. 16 2010 10:35 PM

It IS a good idea and also one that rally reflects the times we live in. Online we can ALL be stars, dirctors of our own movies, writers of our own novels etc. The internet has given a voice and platform to the masses.

Jul. 16 2010 04:14 PM

I'm not too surprised this is happening, like the saying goes and you pointed you, "if you can't beat them, join them." This will get a younger audience in and I'd think it'd be interesting too.

Jul. 16 2010 10:02 AM
Max Soutter

Great video, even better idea. Guggenheim is really upping their game, i love it!

Max -

Jul. 16 2010 09:38 AM

Wow, what an idea! I'm not surprised that the Guggenheim came up with it. I'm just worried about what will happen to museums in 10 years or so, will they be completely abandoned because everything can be found online? Same thing goes for books, will they stop publishing them now that they have e-books and kindle? In a few years, will we be forced to read all our books through a screen?
It will be a sad day if we will.

Jul. 16 2010 07:58 AM

nice work,Welcome return visit!

Jul. 16 2010 04:53 AM

It's amazing building.I like this.Thank you.

Jul. 16 2010 02:59 AM
Adam Day

Pretty cool...

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Jul. 16 2010 01:12 AM

This seems like a great idea, all though as someone else said, the challenge will be sifting through the crap. If I were near a Guggenheim, I woud go just to avoid the half-baked or "baked stoner" comments on youtube. Part of me feels like this might do to art, what myspace has done to music. Maybe that already happened though. The next Picasso is probably going to be found via deviantart or something like that. Maybe not.

Jul. 16 2010 12:51 AM

Sounds incredibly interesting! :) Thank you for sharing.

Cheers, Niconica

Jul. 16 2010 12:45 AM

It's interesting.Thank you.

Jul. 16 2010 12:40 AM

Seems like a really good way to drum up participation (as in attendance) to the Guggenheim museum.

With Love and Gratitude,

The Intentional Sage

Jul. 15 2010 11:19 PM

I think it is a great idea! It's maby a easyer way to discover more creative creatures all through the world...and even maby more people find out about gugenheim :)Iv only been at gugenheim a couple of times in bilbao and must say that it is spectalar everytime im there =) To bad they wont let me record inside :D

Jul. 15 2010 11:12 PM

This is what I call using technology to make true advancements. What a chance it gives to people who are not degree holders. Truly, it is Equality for all.

Jul. 15 2010 05:22 PM
Glenn B.

I find this video appropriate for multiple reasons:

Jul. 15 2010 05:18 PM

This is a creative way to make an exhibit. It might be hard to look for those entrants that truly stand out.

Jul. 15 2010 04:23 PM
courtney benson

Great idea! You never know who will be inspired. It will encourage many people to visit who would not normally go near a museum. Look what has happened with the daily designs for Google's search site and Cooper Hewitt's association with the project.

Jul. 15 2010 11:53 AM

I, for one, use the YouTube video search engine regularly. It's helped me find my favorite TV advertisements so I don't need to sit around waiting for them to come on the TV. Technology: What did we do before it?

The Codger

Jul. 15 2010 11:46 AM

What a fantastic idea. Many things spring to mind: immediate, spontaneous, accessible. Otherwise, an artist would need to build a body of work to reach these heights. I applaud the Guggenheim for doing this. Too bad that the works will only be in the museum for two days. Sure, they can be on YouTube until Steve Jobs pulls the plug on the Internet, but more time on display in the museum would be nice.

Jul. 15 2010 11:20 AM

Interesting. You gotta love progress. It does present an unusual opportunity.

Jul. 15 2010 11:11 AM

I saw this video a few weeks ago and was thinking it was a great idea. There are many many creative people on the web! The hard part is going to be sifting through all the crap!

Jul. 15 2010 11:01 AM

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