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July 30, 2012 | by  | in Arts Visual Arts | [ssba]

Free Ideas

The internet has revolutionised the way in which art can be disseminated, but the effect of this freedom of information has proved to be decidedly two-edged.

The internet has allowed artists to escape the hierarchical system of dealer galleries, publications, and sponsors and has given them the opportunity to exhibit their art free of charge on their own terms. An online presence has become compulsory for artists now and it has been embraced wholeheartedly by artists of all disciplines.

Blogs provide a forum for artists to exhibit their works and they have also created an unprecedented platform for conversation between art creators and critics. Never before have artists from all corners of the globe been able to communicate their works and ideas with such ease and fluency.

Social media has also had an irreversible effect on the way in which artists work to create exposure. Facebook and Twitter have created an environment in which a discerning public has all the information they could want at their fingertips. Reddit and Tumblr have also stamped their mark on the sphere of art dissemination and exposure. But herein lies the rub.

The amount of information now available in one simple click of a mouse has led to a saturation which for the viewer can be exhausting. As a result of the plethora of information, the individual viewer has to take on the roles of curator and critic just to be able to stay sane. Such a daunting wealth of material has been uploaded to the internet that it appears that discernment regarding the quality of works is starting to go out the window.

This said, art viewers are now afforded an opportunity their predecessors could not have imagined. Painting, photography, architecture, sculpture and typographic works are now all available from all corners of the globe. If you have an internet connection you can plug yourself into a cultural conversation that crosses boundaries of distance, race and gender. A conversation which has the potential to alter the way in which we view the role of art in society, as well as providing artists and viewers with perspectives that it would be impossible for them to access and appreciate before the advent of the internet.

The internet has taken freedom of expression to a whole new level, but we have to be careful of the way in which we consume art in this saturated environment. We must embrace the opportunities that the internet has granted the art world, but take everything with a liberal dose of critical salt; otherwise it will all have been a waste of time.


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