New Collecting: Exhibiting and Audiences after New Media Art

Graham, Beryl
Graham, Beryl
Surrey: Ashgate

Comprised of ten essays, New Collecting addresses many of the issues and opportunities raised by the collection of ‘new media art’ with a particular emphasis on computer and internet- based artwork. This type of art demands not only a revision of a museum’s collecting procedure but a reevaluation of what it means to collect. Such a situation is not without precedent. Several of the articles allude to instances in art history that have demanded a similar reevaluation of institutional procedures. Of course, the issues raised specifically by computer-based art are constantly evolving in tandem with technology, thus denying the implementation of a uniform collecting procedure. However, at a more general level, a two-tiered approach which includes both a physical collection and a digital archive has proven to be an effective model for accommodating the specific demands and risks of technologically-engaged new media art. This type of collecting both limits the risk associated with collecting new media art for the institution and preserves the integrity of the art which often considers democratic access to be an essential component. New Collecting demonstrates how expanding the role of the museum from a purely “collecting institution” to that of a “circulating institution” allows the museum to evolve in conjunction with the art it collects to better suit the needs of a 21st century audience.

Paige Hirschey