ART WORLD AND THE
WORLD WIDE WEB
p 2013 Essays, Interviews, and Case Studies
THE ART WORLD AND THE WORLD WIDE WEB
ART WORLD AND THE
WORLD WIDE WEB
Essays, Interviews, and Case Studies
Copyright ÂŠ 2013 by exhibit-E, LLC All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this brochure may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, without the permission in writing from the copyright owner. Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that this material is fully protected by copyright and is subject to royalty. Requests for permissions should be addressed in writing to exhibit-E, LLC, 601 West 26th Street, Suite M223, New York, NY 10001
CONTENTS 7 Introduction 11 The Art World and the World Wide Web 27 Interview with Gallerist Sandra Gering 37 Interview with Artist Laurie Simmons 47 Google for Galleries 55 Interview with Gallerist David Maupin 65 Mobile-Friendly Websites and the Tablet 75 Video and the Internet 83 Interview with Tom Powel, Photographer for the Art World 93 Glenn McGinnis on Technical Solutions for Galleries 103 Web-Based Gallery Management 109 galleryManager by exhibit-E SM
119 Four Case Studies:
matthewmarks.com 128 carrolldunham.net 134 gagosian.com 140 149 Sample Websites 190 Glossary
Written for art world insiders, this book is meant to be a guide to using the World Wide Web as an essential tool for doing business in the global art market. With case studies, sample websites, interviews, and essays, The Art World and the World Wide Web identifies key strategies and offers insights for galleries to consider as they create and manage their own websites. As technology continues to evolve, opportunities seem boundless for galleries to use the Web in compelling ways to promote their art, and the artists who make it. But it cannot be overstated that sound website design, both technical and graphical, is critical to staying ahead of the technology curve. Galleries rely on their websites on an everyday basis to promote, educate, and communicate. Unfortunately, cumbersome user interfaces, poor graphic design, and poor programming hamper far too many websites. As the artist Laurie Simmons observes, â€œI find myself shocked sometimes that certain entities and individuals can endorse their own sites, given how difficult they make it to get around.â€? See page 37 for our interview with Simmons, where she talks about her website, what the digital world means to her, and how she has utilized her site 7
to bring together projects she has worked on throughout her life as an artist. Any gallery that has tried to present an overview of its exhibition history knows how essential it is to document exhibitions and the artists’ work—the gallery’s most valuable assets. In our interview with Tom Powel (see page 83), he talks about how he got started providing photography and video services to the art world and the importance of high quality documentation of exhibitions. Are artist sites becoming a trend? In the last few years, exhibit-E has designed more artist websites than in the past ten years combined, including sites for Carroll Dunham, Richard Prince, Laurie Simmons, Robert Mapplethorpe, David LaChapelle, Ray Johnson, and Wolf Kahn. Featured on page 120 is a case study of artist Richard Prince’s website. Unique to this site, Prince includes glimpses of his own extensive collection of art, books, and stuff in general—photos of manuscripts from his own personal library, album covers, posters and other artifacts he’s collected over the years. Given the global expansion of the art market, facilitated by new technology, how do galleries keep pace with the technical demands? In this edition of The Art World and the World Wide Web, we speak with Glenn McGinnis (see page 93), founder of Cyber City, a New York-based technical solutions company that has managed computer networks for art galleries and small businesses since 1996. McGinnis’ background in the gallery world is a rarity for a technology expert and gives him a special understanding of the needs of galleries. Our interview with Sandra Gering of Gering & López Gallery (see page 27), in which she talks about her gallery’s TM
website, reinforces the importance of thinking and acting globally. Gering is especially excited about the Chinese market and her gallery’s participation in the Hong Kong International Art Fair (to be relaunched in May 2013 as Art Basel Hong Kong), which has become one of the art world’s more important international events. Over the years, many gallerists have asked themselves, “If I can manage my website and email online, why can’t I manage my gallery’s inventory the same way?” They have the answer they’ve been hoping for, as web-based gallery management is now available from exhibit-E in the form of a new product called galleryManager. As described on page 103, this breakthrough tool moves galleries away from the current collection of clunky management programs, and offers a more mobile, streamlined, and sensible way of handling gallery business. Accessible anytime and anywhere, web-based gallery management lifts a huge weight off the shoulders of galleries that have had to worry about the safety and reliability of inventory on local servers and extra hard drives, especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. In our interview on page 109, Billy Maker, galleryManager’s client services manager, and I attempt to shine some light on this development and on the thinking that we put into creating galleryManager.
Dan Miller March 1, 2013 New York
The Art World and the World Wide Web
Art galleries, based on the nature of their business and their internal structure, have unique needs when it comes to websites. Their business depends on information from and communication with clients, collectors and gallerists. With seasonal exhibitions coming and going, gallery websites require regular updates and maintenance. Internally, galleries rely on a sophisticated array of management software to track inventory and sales records. (To read more about gallery-management systems, see
page 103.) Like the rest of the world at large, the art world is firmly implanted in the Information Age. But who does the work? Traditionally, website maintenance would require a fairly skilled person with some knowledge of HTML programming. It is very unlikely that an art gallery would hire its own in-house Web designer or programmer. Galleries have had to work within their existing staffing structure to figure out who is responsible for site maintenance. But most gallery staffers are focused on the job at handâ€”working with museums and collectors, organizing exhibitions, managing and supporting the gallery artists, and, in most cases, managing a public exhibition space. So the task of website maintenance can sometimes be lost in the shuffle. For gallery websites to be successful, they must be kept up-to-date; so a maintenance solution that simplifies operations has become an absolutely crucial piece of the Web puzzle. THE UNIQUE FUNCTION OF ART GALLERY WEBSITES
Art is not a commodity. Although it is sold from a gallery to a collector or museum, the process is much more complicated than selling books, CDs or consumer electronics. E-commerce, with few exceptions, is not what drives an art gallery in its search for a website. The primary purpose of an art gallery website is to represent the gallery, its exhibitions and artists, to the art public. It is a mission of communication and presentation: the website must serve as an extension of the gallery, both in its content and its look. Each gallery has its own identity, and it is the job of the website designer to capture the feel of the gallery and deliver an online version of that experience to anyone using 12
the gallery’s website. Design and the “artfulness” of a website are nearly as important as its function. But a website must work properly as well. The information must be accurate, and it must be easy to access. Gallerists and collectors are likely to be experienced but not expert Web users. With the immense amount of information stored in a gallery website, the site must be organized well, and a premium should be placed on clear navigation. For art lovers and collectors, a gallery’s website can serve many purposes. At its most basic level, it can inform about what’s new at the gallery, and the current and upcoming exhibitions. It can educate about an artist and present some of their work online. It can provide a communication channel for art lovers or collectors who wish to inquire about an artist or a particular piece of art. It is a digital resource that can contain a virtually unlimited amount of information. Because the nature of their business involves representing unique and highly individualized artists and artworks, art galleries have singular needs when it comes to websites. Their business is primarily relationship driven. Recognizing this, a gallery’s website should provide a host of capabilities and content designed to strengthen the bond between the art-loving public and gallery, including utilizing social media activities, (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs) to create bigger networks and channel the gallery’s influence to a broader audience. With time, more and more content consumption will become inextricably linked to the gallery’s social graph.
Email exhibition details to designer
FedEx, FTP or email images to designer
Wait for designer to get back to you
10 min. - 1 day
Problems with corrupt images?
1 hour - 2 days
‘ Problems with exhibition details or image color?
3 hours - 1 day
‘ 20 min.
Wait for designer to post changes to website
Dictate changes to designer
Wait for designer to get back to you
Problems going live with site?
End3 Total 1 to 5 Days
The old method of updating websites, as outlined here, can be cumbersome, time-consuming and expensive. 14
4Start Prepare images
‘ Add images and text 20 min.
‘ Add press release and biography 5 min.
‘ Review website and instantly revise or approve 5 min.
End3 Total 1.5 hours
The new exhibit-E process for updating your website in-house has proven to be easy, efficient and cost-effective. 15
AUTOMATION FOR GALLERIES
Galleries are regularly changing and installing new exhibitions. For galleries with websites, that means updating the site with new content: digital pictures of works in the exhibition, biographies of the artists involved, press releases, etc. Conventional design and programming for multiple pieces of content is time-consuming, and if an outside party (non-gallery staff) is updating the site, it can be a cumbersome and expensive process (see illustration, page 14). For a gallery’s website to work, the site must stay up to date with this new content; otherwise it ceases to be relevant not only to the visitor, but to search engines (see page 47). The website’s ideal function should be to communicate gallery activities and other essential gallery information. It can also serve as a useful internal resource, an instantly accessible archive of a gallery’s current and past activities. A good website is particularly useful to a gallery because of the international nature of the art business. Collectors are located all over the world, and their tastes and interests tend not to be confined to their local region. The website can serve as a communication bridge—if a London collector can’t physically visit a New York gallery, they can visit the gallery’s website to know what’s going on. Like almost any company today, a gallery represents a brand, a particular type of experience. Among in-theknow artists and collectors, certain galleries do have a cachet, a unique “vibe” that resonates with the art public, and a gallery website must be designed to reinforce that impression. For any gallery website to be relevant and practical, it has to accomplish a number of diverse tasks. The ideal solution is to automate the website’s functions and to make that automation 16
as easy as possible. Some galleries choose to work with Web design companies that can automate their gallery website for in-house maintenance, placing the gallery website on equal footing with other everyday gallery administration tools. By simplifying the process and working with a Web designer that offers an automated solution, the gallery can bring those tasks in-house. A gallery’s staff already uses computer software as part of its daily routines—Microsoft Word and Excel, Adobe Photoshop and the gallery inventory database, (i.e., galleryManager by exhibit-E, ArtBase or ArtSystems). There’s no reason that, with the right administrative package, updating a website shouldn’t be included as one of those tasks. THE STANDARD SYNTAX OF GALLERY WEBSITES
While there is no set format that a gallery website should follow, there is a remarkable consistency between sites regarding their content. A common syntax of content, in terms of what content is presented, appears to have developed among almost every gallery website. This is not due to collusion among Web designers and galleries. Rather, this similarity reflects a common purpose—galleries need certain content online, and over time, a design and navigation logic has emerged. This is a positive, informal development that facilitates ease of use. Typically, sites are broken down into an arrangement of the following content: Exhibitions: A list of upcoming, current or past exhibitions
at the gallery. Exhibition information usually includes a link to the press release, images, publications, biography or a link to the artist’s page. 17
A list of the artists represented by the gallery or works that are available. Following these links usually leads to a biography of the artist, some images of the artistâ€™s work, catalogs and a list of exhibitions. Artists:
Publications relating to exhibitions and artists that the gallery has published. Publications / Catalogs:
General contact information about the gallery such as directions, history, visiting hours and email addresses. Gallery:
While this syntax has made gallery site browsing a familiar experience, this does not mean that all websites are the same. In terms of design, most gallery websites tend to be individual and unique, with major differences in layout, website hierarchy, user interfaces, menu setup, etc., to distinguish the sites from one another. If a user is browsing with an eye toward design, each site viewed is a different experience from the last: some are satisfying and pleasing, some can be frustrating and confusing. But beyond the look, feel and design of the websites, there is a startling similarity and reliance on certain conventions that has made the experience of browsing gallery websites remarkably similar. When you think of it, this shouldnâ€™t be all that surprising, since the art world is a finite group of people who communicate regularly, with a high level of mutual respect and interest among peers. Websites are the ideal vehicle for keeping current on whatâ€™s going on at other galleries. So when it comes to building a website, it would be natural for gallery owners to choose what they want on their site based on their own browsing experience. 18
WHO IS DESIGNING ART GALLERY WEBSITES ?
When the Internet exploded into the global consciousness around 1996, galleries, like many companies, looked to individual designers (some still in college) to design their websites. But there was a lot of confusion, and the galleries were unable to update the sites themselves. They had difficulty getting the individual website designers to make the updates and revisions necessary to keep the site current. These early clunkers quickly fossilized. By 1998, out of frustration, galleries sought out all-in-one Web design firms, some hiring expensive agencies with no experience working with art galleries. With no firm out there specializing in the art world, galleries settled for overly technical, bulky websites or over-simplified HTML sites that looked more like financial-services sites than art world sites. Even today, few companies have taken a leadership role in the field. Only one, exhibit-E, has branded itself as a design firm specifically focused on providing art world websites and has the portfolio to back up the claim. With its roots in the art world, exhibit-E is unique. It has a deep understanding of the needs of the art world, has a reputation for world-class website design, and offers automated solutions that allow in-house gallery staff to make routine updates to the gallery website. This last capability solves the most vexing problem facing art world websites: keeping the site current and up-to-date using existing gallery staff resources. With gallery staff updating their exhibit-E websites, using them just as they would any other software application, exhibit-E continues to become the world leader in art gallery website design. It is an easy-to-use option for more and more galleries worldwide. 19
TEMPLATE SITES FOR GALLERIES
In 1998, when exhibit-E was just starting, the idea was to create a low cost template solution for galleries. But limitations of the “readymade” website held no interest for galleries. Fundamentally, that has changed as technology has evolved and today, there are many jaw-dropping template solutions on the market, (i.e., tumblr, wordpress, etc), offering companies—a coffee roasting company or pediatric center—amazing template solutions, because they have very generalized admin areas. But art world insiders need a template solution that speaks the language of galleries. exhibit-E has evolved with this trend and today offers a new, turnkey website solution in the form of template designs that enable a gallery to launch a sophisticated and functionally robust website on a leaner budget, very quickly. With these template solutions, a non-technical person can build and manage a great looking website and have it up and running in days. These websites, while not custom, are totally customizable, and more importantly, they are tailored for the art world. You can see samples of exhibit-E’s new gallery template sites on page 21, 22 and at www.exhibit-e.com/news/template-sites. SOCIAL MEDIA
To maximize the utility of their websites, galleries must embrace strategies that take full advantage of social media tools. Unlike just a few years ago when it was difficult to find gallery staff comfortable with even the most rudimentary computer tasks, most galleries today have staff that are completely at ease with computers and technology—power users who text, tweet and frequent Facebook. The social media phenomenon has taken 20
the digital world by storm—Facebook now has over 1 billion members—and represents an important networking opportunity that galleries cannot afford to overlook. Every gallery should have a Facebook page and its website should link to it. The two portals are inextricably intertwined and should be managed together. With Facebook, you have an Internet user who has reached out and literally befriended the gallery, brought it into his own social network, and publicly announced the relationship to all his friends—free advertising with the potential to grow gallery website visits exponentially. The gallery needs to feed and nurture these friendships by participating in Facebook frequently through announcements, discussions, postings of images and videos, and so on. The content of these Facebook postings should be managed in coordination with the website; the two portals have a symbiotic relationship, with the gallery’s website containing rich, broad content and the Facebook page being more interactive and headline-oriented. Microblogging sites like Twitter are the third leg of the social-media stool and should be used by galleries in concert with their Facebook pages and websites. The more channels of influence a gallery can enter, the more successful its business will become. While it’s easy to see the benefits from a business perspective, it’s also easy to downplay the amount of commitment required for a gallery to truly harness the potential of social media. Real success requires a deep and ongoing commitment to managing and refreshing the website content, managing the gallery’s Facebook presence, and integrating Tweets into the communications mix.
To an outsider, the art world appears vast. But while it is big, there are some clear observations that can be made. A website has become an essential part of a galleryâ€™s effort to promote, educate, and communicate. More and more, art world players are spending time thinking about their website design and its effectiveness in promoting the gallery and its artists. If they want a website, they will want to identify the most reliable company, one that understands the art world and offers the best design, customer service, and technical support and go with it. Obviously, this doesnâ€™t take into account the eccentricities and personal tastes of art world principals. But as opposed to big retailers or e-commerce firms that can require extensive and massive technical requirements for a website, with few exceptions an art gallery is more likely to go with the best-looking and best-priced option that meets all of their technical needs. Balancing out these values must be a consideration of time and energy. Which site offers the best solution when it comes to updating new content? Which site is the easiest to operate? What staff will handle these updates? The ultimate goal is for a gallery to end up with a future facing website thatâ€™s built to grow with a minimum of headaches, that looks great, and that represents what the gallery is all about.
The ultimate goal is for a gallery to end up with a future facing website thatâ€™s built to grow with a minimum of headaches, that looks great and that represents what a gallery is all about.
Sandra Gering Founded by partners Sandra Gering and Javier L贸pez in September 2006, Gering & L贸pez Gallery supports a multifaceted program including outstanding international emerging and mid-career artists. The gallery is located in the historic Crown Building at 730 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Interviewed by Dan Miller.
With your new website you now have Mandarin text. Can you tell us about that? Yes, that is one of my favorite additions to the new website, and I was thrilled that exhibit-E was able to accommodate this request. We are increasingly turning our attention to China. Just as Tokyo and Berlin saw their creative boom in the past decades, I see the 798 District of Beijing as a new epicenter for the art market. Of the 1,011 billionaires in the world, some 89 reside in mainland China and Hong Kong. In the wake of the Cultural 27
Revolution, there has been this thriving economy with an increasing interest in contemporary art and I want to develop a cross-cultural exchange between Chinese collectors of Western artists and Western collectors of Chinese artists. We had a booth at ART HK last year, and I want to continue to reach out to the Chinese market. Using simplified Chinese characters, clients and artists who speak either Cantonese or Mandarin will be able to easily navigate through our website. This is an effort on our part to welcome new artists and clients to our global program. What are the things that you like about your new website? We have never used an online store to sell editions and books before, and I am looking forward with great anticipation to seeing how successful this will be for our artists. It was also important to me to have larger visual images as well as videos, because many of my artists work with software code to create changing light works and moving imagery. Leo Villareal is one example. I find our new website much more visually informative, which is very important when your business is art. I love our beautiful translucent pull-down screen for our navigation barâ€”it rivals the new Mountain Lion design! Do you use your site to generate sales? Yes. We receive numerous inquiries from our site, and we had many compliments on our old site, stating that it was very minimal and easy to use. Our new site seems somehow even easier and more intuitive for our clients, and with the Private Viewing Rooms, we can successfully initiate and finalize a sale solely by using the site. 28
In your opinion, what is the biggest change in the way people are viewing artwork online —i.e., multiple image views, larger mobile-friendly slide shows, etc.—and how has your site succeeded in this? Fans, collectors, curators, and even critics are relying on viewing artwork online more and more. The days when a trip to SoHo would inform an individual about what was happening in the contemporary art scene are long gone. Everyone is on the go worldwide, and if someone is in Istanbul, gallery websites allow him or her to view our artworks on display in New York for the duration of the exhibit. This also allows people to pre-select which exhibits they feel are of interest to them, so more serious, informed parties come into the gallery. We like to use the site as a virtual replication of our physical space. We love the fact that people can go through our installation shots and the individual images of the works in an exhibition—they can feel like they are going through our actual premises. Because you work with video artists, the most recent trends in technology have favored you. How do you feel about that, and how does your site handle video content? The trends toward developing technology are not particularly recent. Society has been fixated on software development from its inception. I launched my first website in the early 1990s, with interactive online projects designed by artists like John F. Simon Jr. Recent advancements are terribly exciting for us, and we love to stay ahead of the curve.
Do you use social media to promote your artists? Yes. We maintain very active Facebook and Twitter pages, as do many of our artists. We love the blogosphere and appreciate all of the generous attention they have given the gallery. Surprisingly, these social-network platforms are quite transgenerational, and have helped us connect virtually and in person with clients, writers, and artists of all ages. I think this is a great advancement in technological connectivity for society. Do you think that there is a social-media benefit to having a video-rich website? Yes. In addition to being more visually stimulating and attentiongrabbing, the video component helps viewers become familiar with our physical space and new media works. With the advent of sites like YouTube and Vimeo, it is clear that the public responds well to video content online. We have had several virtual tours of our exhibitions video recorded by members of the press, which we can then place online, heightening the realism of the experience a visitor to our website receives. Do you think your artists are pleased with your website and your overall Web strategy? Can you talk about that strategy? Yes, our artists love our website. In our news section, we share links to our artistsâ€™ personal websites, upcoming events, and press online. The artists participate in turn, linking visitors to their sites back to our website. We function as their virtual gallery as well as their physical one. The majority of my artists are active online, with websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook pages, etc. They promote each other and the gallery. We have formed an extensive network that 32
generates press and sales together, with our artists using our website as a home base. How have you positioned the gallery website for a good mobileviewing experience? Thanks to the brilliant minds at exhibit-E, we have eliminated any use of Flash, which is notoriously troublesome on Apple products. This alternative coding allows mobile users to easily view changing images and video content from their devices. In turn, we get the benefit of putting multiple images and video programming right in the palms of our clientsâ€™ hands. Have you seen how your website looks on the iPad? Yes, and it looks incredible. Having our website accessible by iPad is a fantastic asset, especially at international art fairs. We do not have to carry our entire inventory around the world, and people can view a light installation perfectly in their hands without having to ship the piece to Hong Kong or Paris. Do you think more people are browsing with mobile devices? Yes, and I have been anticipating this for a while now. I remember when Peter Weibel of ZKM Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany, spoke on the occasion of Jordan Crandallâ€™s exhibition in the 90s. He predicted then that in the near future, we would all be carrying around mobile devices that would eventually become extensions of our bodies. This resonated with me, and I have never forgotten it. Now I never leave the house without my Berry. I do not think I am alone in this practice!
What impact do you think mobile devices will have in the short term? And any thoughts about the long term? The impact has already been huge, and I trust it will only grow. In many cases people are required to conduct business from their mobile devices as the world becomes even more global— we are all always on the go, in another city or country, while needed back home. I loved that at Miami Basel last year, the organizer had applications designed for mobile devices to virtually guide visitors around the labyrinth of the fair. Christie’s and artnet both have applications available, and my artist John F. Simon Jr. has the first software art piece I ever sold of his, Every Icon, available for sale for 99 cents in the app store. I think this is fantastic, and any savvy individual will take advantage of the convenience that comes with this new technology. It will only become more and more relevant to business, art, and life. ** Sandra Gering first opened her gallery in May of 1991 on Broome Street in Soho, and later moved to a ground floor space in Chelsea on 22nd Street. The gallery’s program focused on new media artists, placing their usage of cutting-edge technology and materials within a proper historical context. Such artists included John F. Simon, Jane Simpson, Xavier Veilhan, David Tremlett, and Karim Rashid. In September 2006 she founded Gering & López Gallery with her partner Javier López. The gallery supports a diverse program, exhibiting emerging artists such as KAWS along with established artists including Dan Flavin and Josef Albers. The gallery has worked with numerous curators, including artist Michael 34
Bevilacqua for the 2007 group exhibition POPcentric, as well as Mitchell Algus for his 2008 art historical group exhibition No Images of Man. Gering & L贸pez Gallery participates in many art fairs, including Art Basel Miami Beach, Frieze (London), the Armory Show (New York), Pulse (Miami), ARCO (Madrid), Art Chicago, the San Francisco Art Fair, Art Santa Fe, and the Guadalajara Art Fair. In January 2007, Gering & L贸pez Gallery moved to its current Fifth Avenue location, marked by an inaugural solo exhibition of light works by Leo Villareal. View more at www.geringlopez.com
pictured on page 26: Leo Villareal, installation view, San Jose Museum of Art. Photo by James Ewing, courtesy Leo Villareal and Gering & L贸pez Gallery, NY
Laurie Simmons Regarded as one of the most important artists to emerge from the Pictures Generation, Laurie Simmons has been the recipient of many awards and the subject of major exhibitions at such museums as MoMA and the Walker Art Center. Known primarily for her photographs, she has also worked in film and clothing design with the likes of Meryl Streep and Thakoon Panichgul. Interviewed by Adam Lehner.
Some artists feel very sensitive to changes in technology while others insist theyâ€™ d be doing the same thing no matter what was happening in the realm of the machines. Do you feel that you fall into either of these categories? Sometimes I feel like Iâ€™ve embraced technology too enthusiastically in my personal life. I love everything it can do for me, and since Iâ€™m an A.D.D. kind of thinker, I now seek and 37
get answers at a speed I could only dream of in my pre-digital life. But in my work I’ve been a little slower on the uptake. So much of the sensibility of my art has relied on what I could not easily do, both scale-wise and truth-wise. The digital world, of course, provides answers for me seamlessly, and I’ve had to be systematic about rejecting those answers and continuing to do things in my own flat-footed way. Even though I’m pretty well versed in digital-photographic technologies, I’m still holding on to film. I still feel there is some inescapable beauty and difference with that medium. Much of your work reflects upon various conditions of domesticity and confinement. How do you feel about the Internet? Does it feel infinitely expansive? If so, does that challenge the confined world? Or does it rather allow the “infinite” world to be confined as well? The Internet reminds me of a couple summers (many years ago) when I rented a big old crumbling house right on the Atlantic Ocean. By day I felt excited and infinitely connected to the rest of the world, but by night I was petrified. What I could take in and see in broad daylight made sense, but what I couldn’t see and could only imagine filled me with terror— hurricanes, tidal waves, pirates. The infinitely expansive part of the Web that I’m aware of (sexual predators, bizarre fringe political/religious groups, fake identities, and subversive websites/chat rooms) is actually kind of scary to me—I’m surprisingly uncurious about it all. The Web I use daily—the one that’s useful to me—feels like another small world where I can fulfill all my needs: gather information, find props, shop, write letters, make phone calls, read the paper. What I control, I’m completely comfortable with. 38
A couple of annoying or unfulfilling clicks and Iâ€™m gone.
Do you think of your site as a work of art? If not, have you ever considered making any Web pieces? I think of my site as one-stop window-shopping for Laurie Simmons. I’ve done so many disparate kinds of projects throughout my life and my website is the only place that brings them all together. Not only my pictures, but my writing, products, fashion collaborations. No one person or entity has ever been motivated to bring all these things together, besides me. How has the website affected the way people relate to your art— or rather, how they relate to you about your art? Do you get fan mail? Better-informed questions? I do get more fan mail. I assume people think they have easier access and of course there is general studio contact info on the website. Better-informed questions? Not really—still pretty crazy. Do you think there’s any effect—positive, negative, or other—in having people (including yourself) be able to take in your whole career at a glance? As much as I love the romantic idea of the mysterious and withholding artist, I’m way too excited about having so much of what I’ve done in one place. I don’t assume that every person that goes to my site reads every word and looks at every picture, but if anyone is interested, it’s there. What differences between your gallery site and your artist site do you consider to be most important? Obviously, the galleries I work with are presenting the works that are the most relevant to them at the moment—meaning 42
exhibit-E had developed my husbandâ€™s website and I was really jealous of the design, so I told Dan and his team to make mine even better!
the ones they’re working with in a commercial sense—so our priorities are completely different. Your site works very well with the serial nature of your work. The projects are so easy to navigate and one gets a very good sense of your work over time. Was this important to you? Are you happy with this result? I wanted my site to be super navigable. Since I spend a lot of time online and am an eager student of Web design, I have very little patience for sites that are hard to navigate. I find myself shocked sometimes that certain entities and individuals can endorse their own sites, given how difficult they make it to get around. A couple of annoying or unfulfilling clicks and I’m gone. Not everyone is sophisticated about the Web and its potential. And of course not everyone hires the right designer! You have a depth of material in your site, but it doesn’t feel busy, it actually seems to do a good job of focusing attention on the images. Was this difficult to achieve? I just felt that people who were searching me out as an artist would naturally go to the artwork first. I love that there’s a choice of things to engage. And again, people can go as far or deep as they want. Having your own website is a big responsibility because you have control of your online image in a broader context. So doing it well is important. Did you feel any pressure or burden because of that? I don’t feel any pressure because I’m not trying to brand myself. The information and categories on my site created themselves 44
because I’m putting most of what I’ve done in chronological order. It’s more like a visual bio. Were you more interested in documenting and organizing your work or in controlling its “online message”? I think my primary interest was in presenting the depth of my work and in documenting and organizing. Controlling the online message would be tantamount to controlling all the works that I let out of my studio, which I’ve already done through years of editing. About how much time do you spend thinking about the site? How much time working on it? That part is pretty organic: As I make new works and new projects and participate in exhibitions, we just naturally include them. When you came to exhibit-E what did you tell them you were looking for in a website? I didn’t exactly say it, but I was thinking about the K.I.S.S. acronym: keep it simple, stupid. And of course it had to be great to look at. exhibit-E had developed my husband’s website and I was really jealous of the design, so I told Dan and his team to make mine even better ! View more at www.lauriesimmons.net
pictured on page 36: Laurie Simmons, The Love Doll/Day 11 (Yellow), 2010, Fuji Matte print, 70 x 47 inches (177.8 x 119.4 cm), Edition of 5.
Google for Galleries
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Getting visitors to your website is the oxymoronic practice known as “driving traffic,” and it’s been one of the biggest challenges for Web developers since the Internet first became a mass phenomenon. Alternatively, Web users can have difficulty finding the information and content they’re looking for. To simplify, the vast majority rely on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to get to the webpages they need. Harnessing the power of these search engines can be a powerful tool for anyone trying to drive traffic to their website. This is particularly pronounced if you can position your website 47
on the first page of a search engine’s results page. If one were to search Google for “Andy Warhol,” for instance, more than 1.3 million results would be returned. One would be more likely to visit a site that turns up on the first few pages rather than continuing through hundreds of pages. The numbers bear this out— a study by OneUpWeb.com found that a month after a website turned up on the second or third page of a Google search, traffic increased by five times from the previous month. But getting your gallery website to turn up in those searches is no easy trick, and many galleries are willing to pay to get there. That’s why there’s so much talk among Web developers about search engine optimization (SEO) these days. In fact, there’s a whole cottage industry of SEO consultants that has sprung up—firms that pledge to improve search engine performance with a mixed bag of tricks. While some SEO consultants are doing good work, many are peddling snake oil, claiming that they can guarantee number-one placement with little or no work required on your part, or promising instant results when it usually takes three to five months. Some use tactics frowned upon by search engines; the worst offenders can even get a client’s website banned from Google. The reality is that there’s not just one quick fix toward getting good search engine results. It’s a holistic process that must take into consideration everything from the site’s structure, to the copy, the technical components and the design. It’s best to have your site optimized for search engine ranking by the company that built it.
DESIGN VS. OPTIMIZATION: HAVING IT BOTH WAYS
Oddly enough, the best-looking HTML, and Flash websites (which are becoming obsolete), including many in the art world, actually work against search engines, inhibiting or blocking them from finding content. But gallery clients cannot do without design, and for that reason, some Web design studios, like exhibit-E, have developed custom SEO strategies to accomplish both aims: good design using HTML5, and good search ranking. In exhibit-E’s case, they have developed an automated “content-only” solution that requires no work or maintenance on the part of the gallery, because it’s automated and has proven to be very effective. But regardless of how great your SEO solution, some design conceits should be avoided if you’re looking for better ranking: e.g., splash pages should be discouraged and a website’s first page should feature content. Most websites struggle with outdated SEO concepts, trying to tweak META tags and keywords, which search engines have learned to ignore, and chasing after costly pay-to-play solutions that are expensive and require constant attention. The search engines often change the criteria for their searches, which can instantly undermine past optimization efforts. The best long-term solutions are content based. SEARCHING BY ARTIST NAME
Where does your gallery rank? Galleries in particular can benefit from quality search engine optimization. One of the greatest hopes of a gallery is to come up high in a search engine ranking when someone searches for one of their artists. This is not easy to do, especially for galleries that are getting started late. But it is possible. 49
If a Web user searches by the gallery’s name, galleries will generally come up on top. The battle is in the more general searches, e.g., when searching by an artist’s name, style or period of art. If a gallery’s website comes up when someone searches by an artist’s name, then the SEO is working well. For example, if you Google Fred Tomaselli, James Cohan Gallery ranks in the top position. That’s what you want. Aside from a custom “content-only” solution, getting that top placement requires a lot of time, persistence, hard work and regular brushing up on search engine metrics. But even all that won’t guarantee a top placement. FRESHNESS, WORDS, LINKS AND MORE: OTHER WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR RANKING
Keep Content Fresh: Regularly updating the content on sites
is one way to get the attention of search engines. Websites that keep content fresh tend to get more traffic, which translates to a higher ranking. A site that doesn’t update is neither very useful nor interesting and will be passed over in favor of a fresher site. Aside from the search engines, adding new content is good practice in general. All of your gallery’s advertising, exhibition catalogs, announcement cards and emails that go out should include your gallery’s Web address. Try to get your website URL featured everywhere that your gallery is mentioned. If you circulate a press release announcing an exhibition, include the URL in it. If that URL gets picked up and posted on other websites, that Get Your URL Out There:
will increase the visibility of your site and the likelihood that it gets picked up by a search engine. Links and More Links: Other
qualified websites linking into your website play a major role in search engine ranking; some experts think links are the best way to get higher rankings. In essence, the more sites that link to your website, the greater chance that your website will rank above a competitor’s. Therefore, getting your site linked from portals and industry resources like the BBC, NY Times, Artnet.com, Artincontext.com, Artinfo.com, Artforum.com, and passive traffic like Wikipedia is highly recommended. People clicking from these related sites to your website will increase your ranking. Write for the Web: In addition to incoming links, optimizing
your website so the content-to-code ratio attracts search engine spiders is another important step for increasing your search engine ranking. Web searchers search by keywords, looking for things like “contemporary American sculpture” or “Ed Ruscha catalog.” A site won’t turn up on a search engine if it doesn’t feature relevant keywords that describe its content specifically. Try to keep that in mind when writing headlines and text for your site. Target your artists and keywords by using paid advertising services such as Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing. A search for “Ed Ruscha” will display a prominent link to your artist, exhibition or publication. AdWords and Search Marketing also allow Use Paid Advertising:
you to tailor your ads and keywords on the fly and get instant feedback on what keywords prompt people to click to your website. These services include extensive reporting to track your progress, and their costs are negligible. Talk to Your Designer or Web Developer: Any competent Web
firm knows the importance of search engine ranking these days and has developed strategies they can implement to improve performance. Again, there is no magic spell they can cast to instantly boost Web traffic, but there are proven techniques (like “content-only” solutions) that can be employed to put your website in a better position. Search engines exist to connect Web searches with the content they’re looking for, so let the Internet do some work for you. There’s no reason that your site can’t be harnessing some of the search engine traffic that’s out there now. Even if you capture one new client, all the effort and expense will have been worth it.
Regardless of how great your SEO solution, some design conceits should be avoided if youâ€™re looking for better ranking: e.g., splash pages should be discouraged and a websiteâ€™s first page should feature content.
David Maupin David Maupin founded Lehmann Maupin with his partner, Rachel Lehmann, in 1996. The gallery has organized and curated exhibitions for an array of international contemporary artists working in painting, sculpture, photography, video and new media. Interviewed by Adam Lehner.
I think your website is an unusual combination of the raw and the beautiful, and I was wondering how you came up with that. Funny you should mention that. Raw and beautiful—that’s what we call honesty. And honesty is not a moral issue! It’s more about things being interesting-looking. Elegant, attractive, pleasing. And it also just makes sense—it’s easy to use. So,
yes, we want our website to be honest. This desire for honesty, for example, was behind our approach to the artist page. I was going to mention the artist page. It’s quite distinctive. For example, for every artist, you have a big author photograph. The artist page is really important to our overall approach to the site. We want the site to function as part of the network of our artists, and in some way our context. After all, we have artists who live all over the world. It’s very hard to create a community when they are all so far apart. We have artists in Germany, Korea, Brazil, a couple in Japan, a few in England, a few in New York, a few throughout the United States. It’s just hard to keep it all together as a family this way! The website is a really good way of establishing a real context and community. Can you give me more of a sense of how you see this happening? Number one, we made a decision that we were going to keep our website really up to date. We have someone who works on it almost full-time. So we are always in communication with the artists, finding out what they’re thinking, what they’re up to, et cetera. We also decided really early on to use photographs of the artists. I have to say, it was my idea. It’s an attempt to try to establish and maintain a kind of intimacy with the artists—and between the artists. We regularly change the pictures, at least once a year, or something like that. It sets the tone we want: high-tech intimacy. I’m just looking at the site now, and I see Tony Oursler has a new portrait up—I haven’t seen it before. He probably contacted us and wanted us to change his picture. He’s done that several times. On the other hand, we haven’t changed Ross Bleckner’s picture since 56
we first set up the site. It’s too perfect! He was moving studios, and I saw that he had a box of photographs and I saw the picture of him as a young boy pointing at the announcement of his bar mitzvah outside a synagogue and I said, “This is it! It’s just too funny not to use!” It sounds to me like one of the things you’re doing is giving artists a way of visualizing and participating in the gallery even if they live thousands of miles away. I would imagine that makes a huge difference. It would be so easy for them to feel totally disconnected, like they had no idea what was going on and nobody cared. But the website must really help bridge that gap. Yes, I think it does. Also, our artists tend to be interested in what other artists are doing. They want to know what their exhibitions look like. And so we’ve emphasized putting exhibition photos and even photos of art fairs online. It wasn’t so clear that we should do that a few years ago. Art fairs were more trade shows then. Now they’ve developed into satellite galleries with three- or four-day-long life spans. As that shift has happened, you’re really trying to have the booths represent the gallery, a kind of curated booth. You really do have good coverage of your exhibitions and art fair installations. This must be a good way to keep your artists engaged in the creative process of coming up with ideas for installations. They don’t have to attend the art fairs, but they see what’s going on, which must help them try to come up with even better ideas for you. Absolutely. Our artists don’t usually appear at fairs, and we don’t encourage them to do so. But they are part of the process. We 57
program art fairs the way we used to program the gallery ten years ago. And art fairs are so intensive and involve so much work and creativity. And yet they’re so brief—a lot of people don’t see them. So our documenting of the exhibitions and art fairs is a way of using the website as an archive. Now you can have video and great images. Another change is we have started selling large editions on the site. I’m kind of excited about that. Of course, it’s been happening forever in other businesses, with books, et cetera, but the art world is very old-fashioned—that’s the charm of it—but I think things have gotten to the point where people will go online and buy a Tracey Emin edition or a Gilbert & George edition or a Do Ho Suh edition. I didn’t think that five years ago. What has changed? The comfort level. People have gotten used to using their computers and websites to buy things. One of the things that turned me off was how slow things were. Another thing that turned me off was people didn’t keep their websites up to date. But I think people are getting better at both of those things now, and so the climate is changing. It occurs to me that one of the benefits of the upgrade to higher quality images on your site is that you make it easier for clients to feel comfortable buying things without seeing them in person. No, there is no substitute for seeing the work in person. Okay, but I was just thinking that improved image quality might make clients even more comfortable with this process. Aren’t you doing more business that way? 58
It really depends on the work. With many kinds of photographs and paintings, yes, JPEGs can persuasively convey something important about the actual works. But sculpture, video, animation, work that has a minimalist aspect, work with any kind of optical illusion—with these kinds of pieces, the work doesn’t usually translate well into JPEGs. You begin the conversation with emails. You do the background work, you do the homework, with emails. But then you meet at the gallery or at an art fair. I sense that there’s an unusually close fit between the identity and mission of your gallery and the identity and mission of your website. When you started the gallery in 1996, did you have a specific vision in mind for what Lehmann Maupin Gallery should become? Yes, absolutely. The fundamental thought behind starting the gallery was that the art world was undergoing a de-centralization. Great artists could live anywhere in the world. We wanted to give those artists their first shows—in New York in particular. With a lot of the artists, that happened. That wasn’t our only idea—there are nuances to our program that deal with identity, and so on. But we gave Do Ho Suh, Tracey Emin, Kutlug Ataman—we gave them their first shows in New York. Anya Gallaccio. Sergio Prego. Mr. So we realized what we set out to accomplish. And of course we also began to include older artists, people who expanded our program. That’s what the Web does—it brings us into one place. So you wanted to be unusually international? Yes, that was our identity. Every gallery has an identity. This was ours. 62
Founded by partners Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin in 1996, Lehmann Maupin presents exhibitions that examine the work of both emerging and well-established artists whose work impacts contemporary art and culture. The gallery has given important artists their first oneperson exhibitions in New York, including Kutlug Ataman, Tracey Emin, Anya Gallaccio, Shirazeh Houshiary, Do Ho Suh, and Adriana Varejão. In addition, the gallery has exposed emerging talents—such as Suling Wang and the Japanese artist Mr.—through exhibitions at the gallery and participation in select art fairs. The gallery’s program also includes important established artists such as Ashley Bickerton, Gilbert & George, and Tony Oursler. First opened in SoHo, Lehmann Maupin moved in September of 2002 to its present location in Chelsea. A second New York gallery space opened in late 2007 at 201 Chrystie Street in Manhattan’s new cultural hub, the Lower East Side. Most recently, Lehmann Maupin announced plans to open its first international gallery space in March 2013 at the 407 Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street in Central, Hong Kong View more at www.lehmannmaupin.com
pictured on page 54: Do Ho Suh, Reflection, 2004, nylon and stainless-steel tube, dimensions variable, edition of two, courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York.
www.luhringaugustine.com on the iPad
Mobile-Friendly Websites and the Tablet Smart phones and other mobile devices have become ubiquitous in our culture. These devices present challenges to Web designers, who must learn to optimize Web content for a user interface that has limited display, interaction, and bandwidth capabilities. Anyone who has used an iPhone to browse the Web can testify to its usefulness as a mobile tool, but it can be frustrating too: some sites take forever to load and navigate, and any intensive browsing is taxing and clumsy, not at all like the seamless, rich experience you get using a computer with a 65
www.markmooregallery.com on the iPhone
monitor and full-sized keyboard. In large part this is due to the inherent limitations of the mobile devices themselves, but a contributing factor is the design of websites, many of which are not optimized for handheld devices. DESIGNING FOR MOBILE DEVICES
Recognizing that smart-phone use is expanding exponentially (more than 1 billion people use mobile devices as their primary internet access point), gallery owners want a website that can deliver a satisfying experience to art world insiders and the gallery-going public. That starts with understanding why people are using their smart phones to browse the Web. They are on the go, away from their laptop or desktop computer, and looking for specific information—an address or phone number or the name of the artist currently showing at the gallery. These users don’t just happen to stumble on your website; they’re familiar with you, value your gallery, and talk about you. What they want most is quick access to essential information. A mobilefriendly website needs to be clean, simple, and intuitive. The design should suggest that of the full-fledged website, but feature content front and center. Because of the smaller screen display, care should be taken to minimize page styling and file sizes. It is generally best to hide graphics, as these will invariably be resized when displayed on the smart phone’s screen, reducing their usefulness. By carefully paring down the content and simplifying the interface, galleries can create a better mobile experience for users. So while the website won’t look the same on a mobile device as it does on a desktop or laptop, it will be responsive and easy to navigate, and have the familiar look and feel of the gallery’s main website interface. For a gallery whose 68
very essence is the presentation of works of art, these strategies— spare use of page styling and graphics, smaller file sizes—might seem self-defeating. Smart design, however, can help bridge the gap between the conflicting needs of providing a responsive website for mobile-device users and displaying rich interactivity. Gallerists should keep in mind that the functions important to a mobile user are different from those of a desktop or laptop user. Simple and quick navigation is important for all users, but it is essential for mobile users. A website optimized for mobile devices should display all the important navigation options in easy-to-read fashion on the home page. Keep in mind that a typical smart-phone screen is only 2 x 3 inches, so the options need to be pared to a minimum. The home page of a mobilefriendly site, therefore, might display just three navigation keys: current exhibition, artist list, and contact information. To learn more about the current exhibition, users would navigate to a separate page, where, along with links to information about the artist and exhibition, they would find links to view images. These images would be sized for quick loading on the customer’s mobile device. The idea is to mirror the content of the fullfledged website, while delivering it in a form suitable to a small display screen. These design strategies are known as “adaptive” and “responsive” design for mobile browsing. THE TABLETS
With Apple’s phenomenally successful introduction of the iPad, a game-changing category of mobile device—the tablet—has emerged as a genuine market force. While tablets have been around for many years, Apple’s iPad and iPad Mini have set a new standard for richness of features and elegance of design. 69
With tablets and smartphones an essential tool for the global art business, galleries need to be thinking about how to improve the mobile experience of their website.
For gallery owners, another issue related to mobile devices is the temptation to design special smart phone apps for promoting 72
and enriching a gallery’s Web presence. We believe galleries should rethink this strategy. Unless you have a program with content equivalent to that of a museum or a magazine, an app doesn’t make sense. And even if you are fortunate enough to possess sufficient unique content, dedicated mobile applications are expensive to create and maintain, and they must be developed separately for each platform—iOS, BlackBerry, Palm, Android, Windows, etc. It’s true that an app well done can be immensely satisfying, but apps represent a huge resource commitment, both up-front and long-term. Moreover, apps cannot be updated as rapidly as websites, and they merely duplicate information that is, or should be, available on the gallery’s website. In essence, a phone app, which involves a full software development life cycle, is in most cases nothing more than an app wrapped around a website. And since the app will work only on one platform, such as iOS, spending money on one is not a good use of gallery resources. A better and much more economical solution is to create rich content for your website, either on your own or with assistance from your Web developer, and then optimize that content for mobile devices.
Video and the Internet
Today even the most casual Web user watches video content online via sites like nytimes.com, cnn.com, or facebook.com. You see it almost everywhere. And not surprisingly, YouTube is now the second-most-popular search engine, after Google. In short, using your computer or smart phone to watch videos has become commonplace. Dozens of websites specializing in user-submitted videos sprouted up seemingly overnight. Led by YouTube and artcentric sites like Vimeo, the popularity of these websites has spread at a viral pace, fueled especially by the emergence of social-networking sites like Facebook. The success of YouTube and Vimeo (two of our favorite options for video uploading), 75
and the fact that so many consumers are comfortable viewing video content online, presents enormous opportunities for galleries. It is easy to upload videos to YouTube or Vimeo, and both sites offer a way to embed the uploaded videos onto your own website, where they can be viewed by anyone with a click of the mouse. To use a video-hosting site like YouTube or Vimeo, all you have to do is go to the site and open a free account. Once you’ve done this, uploading video files is easy: • Click on the Upload Video button. • Select a video file to upload from your computer. • Click OK, and the file is uploaded and then automatically converted from its original format for web viewing. • Give the video a title, a description, and a “tag” (a keyword that describes the video so it can be found by other Web users). The process is almost as simple as adding an attachment to an email. Anyone who has experience adding photos to sites like Facebook or Flickr will be comfortable adding video content to YouTube or Vimeo. Viewing videos is even simpler. Just type a keyword (or keywords) into the “search” box prominently displayed at the top of the site, and pages and pages of thumbnailed videos will 76
be displayed. Clicking on a video takes the user to a page where the video automatically loads, with buttons to pause, rewind, and control the volume and a drag bar that navigates through the video itself. To share the video, a URL is included, as well as HTML code that can be used to “embed” the video on a Web page. The videos are displayed in HTML5, eliminating any need to have a multitude of plug-ins or players on a machine and are mobile ready for tablets and smart phone viewing. Vimeo is popular with the creative community and has a less commercial interface, while YouTube is more mainstream, with a much larger share of the market. YouTube has a file limit of ten minutes. Vimeo allows videos of longer duration and offers better video quality, two attributes that result in good artistic content for a more discerning and creative audience. It’s the embedding function that has made YouTube and Vimeo such a phenomenon, as it allows videos hosted on these sites to be played on any website. With the embedding feature, a blogger, for example, can simply paste the “embed” code into his website and the video will appear, complete with pause and playback controls. This allows for quick and easy “viral” transmission of videos, as “hot” videos are posted repeatedly on other blogs, websites, message boards, and Facebook pages. Whereas most photo-sharing sites are used to share photos among friends and families, videosharing sites have become video repositories for everything from lost TV shows, current events, curious personal creations, old music videos— all the detritus of pop culture’s history. Pretty much anything that’s ever been captured on film makes it onto YouTube or Vimeo, and the content library is ever growing. 77
In an incredibly short amount of time (even by Web standards), video-sharing sites, especially YouTube, have had a profound impact on the Internet. Aside from the billiondollar deals and piquing the interest of marketers, the sharing of videos itself has become a medium of communication. Web users express themselves by choosing certain videos to place on their sites; viewers can comment on a video in blogs or on YouTube itself. Telling someone to go “YouTube” a clip has already become part of almost every Web user’s lexicon.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE IMPLICATIONS OF VIDEO FOR ART WORLD WEBSITES?
The advent of online video has opened up enormous opportunities for art world websites. Whether featuring their own video art collections online or using the phenomenon of video-sharing sites as a way to promote the gallery, artists, and exhibitions, online video gives galleries a powerful and wide-reaching medium for interacting with Internet users. All galleries can do this, not just galleries with video art collections. Websites like YouTube and Vimeo make it simple for galleries to upload videos of art pieces to the Internet and quickly share them with the art loving public. By selecting and uploading short clips and samples of video art pieces to YouTube or Vimeo, and tagging them properly, a gallery can use the widespread reach of these host sites as a way to help build traffic to the gallery site. Since a Google search often turns up YouTube as a first link, this is a way for galleries to take advantage of YouTube’s high search engine results.
Internally, galleries can use the technology behind sites like YouTube and Vimeo as a quick way to catalog and feature their video art collections on their own websites. A gallery could host its videos on YouTube or Vimeo and then use the embedding feature to encode the video directly into a webpage. There’s no need for complicated coding and customizing of a video player when someone else has done all the work for you. Security is a concern for galleries that don’t want their video art to be taken off a site and distributed without authorization. While the low-quality and limited “artistic” value of online video cannot compare with the impact of an installation or a gallery setting, galleries should still take steps to ensure that their content is protected. One idea is to select only excerpts or short clips from video pieces and bookend them with information about an exhibition, a gallery, or an artist. Brief samples of a video piece can only create more interest about the artist and the gallery itself. Galleries should not ignore video content as a way to build gallery awareness and Web traffic. Gallery tours, artist video interviews, documentaries, commentary, event footage—all are content ideas that can be realized and distributed with online video. Galleries can generate their own video pieces, feature them as content on their own website, and distribute them throughout the Internet via YouTube, Vimeo, and other video sites. The galleries can also reach out to art blogs and other online media to spread the word about the new pieces and videos. On sites like iTunes, the videos can be paired together with gallery podcasts as excellent multimedia packages for gallerygoers to download to their mobile devices.
The biggest challenge for a gallery seriously considering producing original video content is the production process itself. Generating finished, high-quality video is a multi-step process, from scripting and shooting to post-production. Expertise and experience are required, skills that might not necessarily be found in-house at a gallery. But any gallery that can add this type of content to their website will earn immediate dividends in terms of increased visibility, exposure, and buzz. After all, high-quality video has the potential to capture a viewerâ€™s attention far beyond that of flat images and text. The explosive growth in popularity of YouTube, Vimeo, and other sites has made Web video virtually ubiquitous. Now is the time for galleries to decide what role video will play in their websites.
Tom Powel, Photographer for the Art World Tom Powel, founder of Tom Powel Imaging, Inc., provides photography, video, and related imaging solutions to the art world. Based in the heart of New York’s Chelsea art district, Tom has worked with many of the world’s top galleries, museums, foundations, artists and collectors. He has been the subject of numerous feature articles, including a front-page article in The Wall Street Journal. Interviewed by Dan Miller.
When you were in college you worked as a studio assistant for the artist Philip Pearlstein, is that correct? Yes, that was a great internship. It allowed me to experience a real practicing artist’s life, to learn what the challenges and opportunities were, and it was a way to explore and help
me understand what I really wanted in my life. It was so gratifying—I mean, I literally spent from 8:00 in the morning until midnight, five days a week, working for this guy. So, you were an intern? Yeah, I would set up his modeling sessions every morning— he had one from 8:00 in the morning until noon. And then afternoons were spent doing chores and errands and office stuff—studio organization. And in the evening, from 8:00 til midnight. He had two separate modeling sessions each day. So, he basically was working on ten different works of art at any one given time—all from life models. So what I would do is make sure that all of his props, all of his models, all of his tools, paints, canvases, etc. were organized and set up. Once that was done, I could then set up my own materials and work. So while I was doing this I had the opportunity to do my own work right next to this guy—this legend of an artist—during the sessions. Sounds like a phenomenal opportunity. How did this internship come about? I was a senior at Ohio Wesleyan and they have an intern program—a lot of small midwestern colleges operate out of an organization called the Great Lakes Colleges Association, which sets up professional internships for juniors and seniors in various cities around the country. It’s part of their “theory to practice” philosophy. Where did you live while you were interning? I lived at the Windermere Hotel in the West End; Pearlstein’s 84
studio was on 88th and Columbus. This was back in ‘78 before gentrification up there. It was a great experience, and a way for me to realize my potential but also to face the challenge of what it takes to be an artist full time as a career path. And quite frankly, it freaked me out. Pearlstein didn’t paint from photographs? No, he’s all from real life models. How did you get interested in photography? My interest in photography started when I was seven years old and my father handed me my first camera, an old Leica, and then from there I got into doing black and white printing. I had a little lab in a bathroom next to my bedroom. It was great. My father was an inventor, so he always nurtured that part of me. The painting came much later in my life, but photography was always the basis of how I see. So, you had aspirations to be a painter but you loved photography? At that point in my life, in my college years, painting and photography were separate in some ways. The immediacy of photography was what made it so appealing—the fact that I could work on compositional elements without laboring over a single object or project for months on end. And in fact I had a self-portrait project in painting that took me two semesters to complete, and it almost killed me—it was one of those things that kept getting better and better as I worked on it, so I’d have to go back and re-work it. And it just became this really frustrating process, so photography was the relief to that tedium. 85
Above: Two sample spreads from Remembering Henryâ€™s Show, a 240-page fully-illustrated catalog published by The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, 2010, on the occasion of their inaugural exhibition. Photography by Tom Powel Imaging. Designed by danmillerdesign.com
In the end, I chose to focus my photography on the art world because I am an artist, I have an affinity for it, and I am able to see and do new work every day. Itâ€™s the subject that interests me.
Did you start to think of photography as a possible career path during your college years? Yeah, I mean, it always was a focus professionally. Were you thinking of survival or were you worried that you might not make it as a painter? Well, once the Pearlstein experience was over I was struck with the dilemma of like, “Can I do this? Can I be an artist?” As for photography, I think I was more afraid of how much I liked it than whether I could make a living at it. I loved it so much that I felt like this wasn’t practical. How could something you love be something you actually pursue as a career? I mean, honestly, when you’re that age you’re taught all your life that your job should be miserable because it makes money. And it didn’t take me long to realize that that was just stupid philosophy. In the end, I chose to focus my photography on the art world because I am an artist, I have an affinity for it, and I am able to see and do new work every day. It’s the subject that interests me. How did you get started working with galleries? It’s funny thinking about how long I have been doing this. I mean, we just finished an amazing and challenging project for The Brant Foundation with over 200 image captures. I love doing this and I remember how I got started. I showed up at Metro Pictures one day and said, “Do you need any photography?” As luck would have it, they had this really difficult piece that they couldn’t get a good shot of and they had a photo challenge going on to see who could come up with the best solution. So that was my first job. This was 88
1986. I went down and did the project, a plexiglass sculpture in the shape of a red “O” from a Mobile sign, a gas station sign—just the “O” on its side, tilted on a 2 x 4 laid on the floor with a fluorescent light behind it. And they couldn’t get a good balance between the object and the environment, so I figured out how to do that. It was challenging. I like that story a lot because it goes back to your father’s influence on you in terms of solving technical problems. You’re right. It was rewarding work, and that fact is what had me gravitating toward doing professional photography for the art world—the work was interesting and challenging, not at all routine. It wasn’t long before you became known as the go-to guy for difficult shoots. Can you give me an example of a recent assignment that was both technically challenging and rewarding for you as a photographer? I was challenged recently to produce a photo of an artist’s studio floor. Now, he has this great studio in Long Island City, and we’d shoot all his paintings out there where he paints. The studio is about 24’ x 30’—that’s one room in a gigantic 10,000 square foot building that’s like a giant warehouse. The studio is basically covered with plywood panels, 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood that are seamed with autobody Bondo, like a grout almost, and it’s got cigarettes and paint and all kinds of blots and stuff ground into the surfaces. And he wanted to create a photo of the floor that was large enough so he could create literally a 1:1 reproduction in scale of his floor. Now, there’s no camera, even if you split it up into six or eight images, 89
that’s high-res enough to give you an image that’s that big. Plus, to scaffold that would be impossible. I thought, “Okay…” and I figured out that if we shot it in small segments, and then stitched those together in Photoshop, that might work. So I tested out the idea of how I could brace the camera properly, right? And what we ended up doing was just shooting with a Canon EOS 5D, because we can do a live view from the camera itself, and line it up according to a grid. So we gridded out the whole room, both ways (x and y) but only at the edges of the wall, just a mark. Then we’d stretch a piece of blue tape across, between the two marks. And we’d run the tripod down every two feet incrementally, all the way to the end. And we’d line it up for that vertical line, and you could always adjust the camera using its live view function. It took us 185 shots. You’ve done a lot of work with galleries and, of course, museums and artists. Any words of wisdom to pass on to galleries especially? They have to be more conscious of the fact that their exhibition history is the most valuable thing they have. And very few of them allow the viewer to really explore that in a significant way. Galleries spend a lot of time, energy and money putting on exhibitions and after thirty days they’re gone. So galleries depend on their websites to archive their exhibitions. And the historical aspect of keeping these exhibitions alive on the Web, it’s priceless. The past is the future, see what I’m saying? How you preserve it and present it on the Web is critical to a gallery. And mostly what we’re seeing are photographs—still images— that just don’t do justice to the exhibition. If all you’ve got is bad photography, what can you do with it when the exhibition has ended? So I always advise galleries to budget so they have 90
the resources to properly document an exhibition. Get the high quality still images you need. Animate it, create something that’s more dynamic, so that when people go and visit this stuff, they’re looking at it as if it’s something that’s happening now. View more at www.tompowelimaging.com
Glenn McGinnis on Technical Solutions for Galleries Founder of Cyber City, a New York-based technical-solutions company that has managed computer networks for art galleries and small businesses since 1996. Cyber City has unequaled experience, serving over 600 galleries worldwide. exhibit-E talked with McGinnis about how Cyber City started and how they manage high tech for galleries. Interviewed by Dan Miller.
So you got your undergrad degree in art from Cornell in 1993? Yes, I received a dual degreeâ€”a B.A. in history and a B.F.A. in painting and sculpture. 93
When you graduated, did you have any experience in the New York art scene? None. I was really idealisticâ€”I was hoping to plug right into the gallery/artist scene [laughs]. So did you show up with a little portfolio under your arm and knocking on doors? No, I saved myself that shame and embarrassment. I got some really good advice from a friend in the art world. He suggested that I work at an art gallery to see the business side of things, so I did. What was your experience like at the gallery? I worked as a gallery intern, actually. I was surprised to realize soon after I started that I had a sincere interest in business. The gallery was also ahead of the curve with their technology. They had just bought the system directly from IBM for a tremendous amount of money. It was a bold move for a small business in 1993. While I was there, the server crashed and so the gallery was in a bind. OK, what operating system was the server running? It was running Novell 3.1, and I had never, ever seen a Novell operating system. The hard drive had crashed, the server was down, and no one could fix it, so I saw an opportunity. I was already spending way too much time in computer shops in Chinatown, so I went down and bought some parts. I was locked in the gallery with the artwork from Saturday night until Monday morning, and managed to fix the server.
So what happened next? I had been working on a business plan for an Internet café. Was that @Café? My understanding is that @Café was one of the first Internet cafés ever—or at least in New York. Well, I would call it a tie with Cyberia in London but @Café was the first place that opened as a dedicated Internet café. We opened in 1994 with 24 systems, and we charged $5 per half-hour to surf. What systems were you running? At first, they were all Apples, but then Bill Gates came into @Café and did an interview with Kurt Loder and MTV in front of a Mac. A week after, it was an even split between Apples and Windows machines. Through all this, the media attention was amazing, but the business side was no fun: it was seven days a week, 20 hours a day. It was basically a restaurant mixed with a computer network back in the early days! It was a nightmare—just ketchup in the keyboards. Did you have a server at the café? Oh yes, we wanted to do everything, and that was part of the problem. We were an I.S.P., we had modem banks, we had user accounts, dial-up accounts all running on equipment packed between the dishwashers and the bathrooms. But it was my boot camp for technology. To give you a sense of the time, the Internet was so much in its infancy that we asked for a trademark on the “@” symbol and actually got it. 95
What? Yeah, we registered the “@” symbol for “general entertainment purposes,” and the U.S. patent office gave us a certificate for this. They obviously rescinded this later. Amazing. So how long was @Café in business? It lasted for three years before I shut it down—we just weren’t making money. We had not stuck to our initial vision of what we were selling. It was an amazing time. Unfortunately, it was not a Hard Rock. So you were out of a job? Yes, but literally the day after I locked up the café, I got a call from the gallery where I had interned. They were moving from SoHo to Chelsea and needed help installing their computer network. So you were helping out some of the earliest Chelsea art-gallery pioneers? Yes. I told them, “Well, I don’t really do that kind of work.” But after the café, I had some expertise in technology and networks. So you set up the new network for this gallery. Yes, I was able to step in during the build-out of the space, which was huge. I moved them off the coaxial, ring-based networking model and had the construction crew install an Ethernet network. I transitioned them away from their old Novell server, put in a much less expensive Windows server, and added new workstations. 96
While I was setting up their network, another gallery was moving in next door. Their director stopped by and asked me to help out with their installation. I told them, “Look, I actually don’t do this—I’m only doing this as a favor.” But they were persistent, and I loved the technology, so I stayed on to complete their network. It just grew quickly from there—I would go from one gallery to the next. When was this? This was in ’96. I worked from my apartment. I feel very, very lucky. It was an incredible amount of hard work, but I was also at the right place at the right time. How did the vision for Cyber City evolve? I had been so frustrated as a business owner by the lack of responsibility my vendors took for their work. Everyone compartmentalizes. When something went wrong, people would just point fingers. At the same time, I was very interested in the technology. I wanted a business that was clear about our responsibilities, and also a very clear advocate for the client because I never had that myself. I knew that if I could manage vendors and mediate the experience, I could bring complex networking reserved for big business into the smaller shops. What do galleries need that’s different from other companies? Galleries at their foundation are about aesthetics—it requires a respect and an awareness of that sensibility. You need to have sleek-looking systems that are not going to distract from the art. Wireless is a great example of a convenience technology that was almost immediately perceived as a necessity. Starting 97
to minimize wires was a big plus for fine-arts dealers. Galleries also have different expectations for their mobile devices. iPhones and Androids are dominant in these businesses because they are so wonderful at handling multimedia. How do you manage multiple locations, international locations, and massive amounts of data? If you have multiple locations with massive amounts of data you need to share, you need to invest in robust Internet connections and a terminal-server solutionâ€”where people are connecting virtually to where the data actually resides so you can manipulate it without pushing it across the Internet bottleneck. The fastest data exchange is still the local network. You need to leverage technology to replicate the local data experience remotely. Massive amounts of data can be tricky. Oftentimes when your staff is manipulating images or video, there is no substitute for a local-server solution with an optimized hard-drive storage array and plenty of redundancy. It would depend on the scale of the project. International locations are handled the same way as a gallery across town: set up a VPN, make sure the company data is available for everyone who needs it. We can tailor a solution to any size network or small business. How can galleries benefit from cloud servers? Whatâ€™s exciting about the cloud is the ability to connect multiple locations to a central server. You can model the local server/workstation network and apply it to multiple locations when your data is accessible via the Web. This is opening up 98
the idea of the work environment and taking down some of the conventional boundaries. That’s great, but the challenge now becomes: where is that data stored? In the cloud-computing model, the expectation is that you are handing over all of your corporate and private information to the cloud. This can have disturbing implications. Who owns the data? Cyber City has approached this issue by having our own data-center facility that is purely our responsibility. We are able to provide cloud services with the accountability of a small business. Do galleries know what they need, or do you guide them? It would be a very rare and technically savvy gallery that could pilot their ship in terms of technology. People know what they need, but they bring us in to guide them. So what advice can you give to art-gallery owners in terms of their technology? Proactively decide on your business’s approach to technology. Do you want to allow blogging and Facebook in the office because they’re good for morale and viral marketing? Do you only want business applications and websites? It’s important to recognize the blurring lines between personal technology and business technology and discuss this openly with your staff. Describe your range of services? We try to be a one-stop shop for our clients related to technology needs. That can include anything from formatting a Word 99
document to project-managing a business move. We manage backup, virus protection, Exchange Servers, databases, Mac and PC networks on an ongoing basis—and we’re available to troubleshoot them all on our tech-support line or on-site. Are there important trends that you see happening, and how do you respond to those? We’re seeing more advances with handhelds, and we’re keeping pace with that. There’s so much utility in those devices that the so-called classical systems do not provide—the mobility, ease of use, and over-all aesthetics. We’re excited by technology, so members of our team are often early adopters of these devices on a personal level. But we make sure that the innovations make sense for small business before we recommend them to our clients. You’re also going to see more and more marketing about responsible stewardship by the cloud-computing community. There’s a growing recognition in the industry of consumer concerns about data integrity and fluidity. Cyber City believes in the paradigm of the private cloud. There is no reason that every small business can’t have one. It’s going to be important to start navigating the differences between public services—like, say, Google Apps—and private business. The platform is being developed for everyone. Small business is about strong individuality. There’s no reason to give up the individuality and the accountability. You can have the advantages of the cloud and the advantages of a small business team.
Are you concerned that gallery owners are under-valuing their digital assets? It’s a good point. One of the hallmarks of a productive computer environment is knowing how to dependably access your data. The primary building block is centralization. You can work from this building block to responsibly tackle your backup and disaster recovery plans. Cyber City has had a challenging time communicating these potential dangers without sounding like we’re employing scare tactics. We’re against that approach, but I know from working back in ’96, the way small businesses are using their computers has changed significantly. We didn’t trust the systems the way we do now. Now most of our work is happening exclusively in the digital world. It is so critical that we control our data and information, and if something happens to it, we know how to get it back. Bottom line, what’s your goal in managing technology for creative businesses? We want to work with a company’s data and staff so they feel liberated by the technology, and at the same time owners, managers, and directors feel empowered to manage effectively. That’s our ultimate goal. View more at www.cybercityinc.com
Web-Based Gallery Management
While everyone predicted that using the World Wide Web would become an important part of everyday life, has anyone not been surprised by how fast—and how profoundly—the Web has been integrated into almost everything we do? Think about some of the pre-Web habits of regular life. Ordering take-out from a restaurant. Paying bills. Checking movie times. Keeping yellow pages and phone books around. Is there any activity that hasn’t been replaced, or at the very least made easier or quicker, through some sort of website? 103
As the Web has become accepted by the art world, the speed of that migration has accelerated. The most profound shift is happening on your very own computer. All those applications you installed—the ones you brought home in the big boxes with the thick manuals—are finding a new home on the Web. Word processing, spreadsheets, even photo editing and manipulation—all of these applications are being adapted and transformed into “Web applications.” Dramatically less expensive than the regular programs (in some cases free), easy to use, and instantly updated, Web applications are causing people to rethink the way they use their computers. Now these changes are impacting art galleries in the most important place: the gallery-management software that sits at the heart of a gallery’s operations. And as anyone who has worked with the existing management programs knows, this upgrade could not have come a moment too soon. While galleries have become significantly more wired over the last few years—email and websites are a given now—the management software is still lagging behind the times. Difficult to learn, complicated to use, prohibitively expensive, and completely immobile, these types of programs have been practically demanding to be revamped and simplified. For a gallery that would like to make things easier on itself from a computer and technical standpoint, transforming the gallery-management software to a Web application would have an immediate impact on productivity. exhibit-E’s galleryManager is one of the first software solutions to look at gallery management exclusively from a Web perspective. This is not a Web add-on to some landlocked PC program; this is pure online gallery management, accessed 104
entirely through a Web browser and programmed with the latest in secure website technology. exhibit-E has already set the pace for creating top-of-the-line art gallery websites, all of which are administered by the galleries themselves using a Web interface. This is the same model that has been applied to the creation of galleryManager: providing users with an easy-tomaster solution that doesn’t require extensive upfront training or a hefty manual. Moving gallery-management software to the Web opens up entirely new ways of working, both in and outside of the gallery. Under the old model, the programs were installed on a limited number of computers in the gallery. In order to work on the program, one had to be sitting at the actual computer where it was installed, or employ a cumbersome solution to access it remotely. That limited mobility and accessibility; for a gallerist with a busy travel schedule, that meant always having to update a laptop with the gallery software before hitting the road. Under a web-based approach, the software can be accessed from any computer connected to the Internet with an up-todate browser. That means a gallerist can operate the software at an art fair, at a client’s office or home, or from the comfort of his or her own bedroom. And every authorized user has access to the software in its entirety—you can do the same amount of work at an Internet café in Zurich as you can sitting at your desk in the office. All the information of a gallery—the inventory, the contacts, the transaction history—is instantly accessible with just a few clicks. There might be some skeptics who think that gallerymanagement software that doesn’t come on a compact disc along with a hefty manual and price tag must not work right: 105
there must be a catch; there must be something wrong with it. But think about the evolution that has taken place with web-based applications. You use this type of software anytime you take part in online banking or managing your credit card online. Consider the evolution of email, which for a long time was landlocked, tied down to whichever computer the emails were delivered too. If you wanted to check your email, or get to your old email, you had to have access to that particular computer. But with webmail—meaning sites like Gmail and Hotmail—inboxes can be accessed and checked online, from any computer, anywhere with Internet access. Important documents or emails that were buried in an inbox on your home computer can now be easily accessed if they are in a Gmail inbox. It’s not as if the current boxed programs on the market don’t do the right job for galleries. To say that these programs have already helped streamline gallery operations and reduce redundant work would be putting it lightly. But they require a lot of investment, both financially and personally. These applications tend to be very expensive, with prices for the top programs running into the thousands of dollars. On top of that, they might require that additional software be purchased. Some of them are not compatible with both Macintosh and Windows operating systems. Setting these programs up can be time-consuming, and typically they must be customized for the gallery installing them. And since this is a specialized and relatively small market, getting the users up to speed must be done without the benefit of third-party help; there are no “Art Gallery Management Software for Dummies” books out there. 106
When done right, web-based gallery management can save a lot of time and prevent a lot of frustration for gallerists who donâ€™t feel comfortable studying manuals or taking classes in order to be able to perform routine functions. Web-based management is a broader, easier way to approach gallery operations, and it is a concept that is likely to spread quickly among galleries. After all, who doesnâ€™t like making things easier on themselves?
galleryManager founder Dan Miller and client services manager Billy Maker discuss exhibit-E’s new online inventory gallery-management system—the origins of the product and how it compares to the existing offerings on the market. Interviewed by Michael Gwertzman.
Where did the idea for this product come from? We felt we could reduce the headaches that we found many of our clients experience with existing gallery-management software. Knowing that their software wasn’t a natural tool, we knew we could make a big contribution. The more we looked into it, the more we found that everyone wanted something 109
that was easier to use, something that didn’t require taking courses to understand, and something that eliminated the need for an in-house server. We realized we had the capabilities to do all that and seamlessly integrate with their website. So it made sense for us to do this. You guys are known primarily as a design company, as a Web design company. Has it been a challenge to have your clients think of you in a different way? The gallery-management firms that are already out there, they’re coming from the technology end of things and trying to force good design on top of the offerings. We’re coming from the opposite end; we’re starting with great design and a good user interface in terms of how both our website and admin pages function. We understand that really well, so we’re able to hide the complexity of the websites and the admin areas to the point where it’s so amazingly easy to teach someone how to use one of our website admins—they don’t even really think of it as a technology product. Galleries don’t want to be bothered by tools or be hindered by the technology. They just want to get the job done. They want to be efficient and effective for their clients and their artists, and that’s what our focus has always been. How do you see this product being used? Is this going to become the hub of the gallery? By default, any inventory-management system will be at the center of the administrative hub of a gallery, whether it’s ArtBase, Art Systems, or some other system. But we are taking it a step further in terms of ease of use. Initially, galleries may replace their old inventory systems that are out there now. 110
They might even be moving up from using Excel, or just having file folders filled with images or whatnot. They’ll now be able to store hi-res photos of artworks, contacts of people, invoices, and things like that, all in the same place. If they already have an exhibit-E website, they will be able to integrate it with galleryManager. Has it been difficult for you to get your head around things like accounting and inventory and other administrative functions, the kinds of things that galleries use the existing programs for? We end up using all of the same tools in terms of how we take care of our infrastructure, and, all the websites we handle. I think our biggest advantage in developing galleryManager that it is all part of the day-to-day of our operations, dealing with different galleries’ inventories. We’re using it the same way they do, but in terms of keeping track, keeping everything secure, keeping everything organized perfectly, that’s been our primary concern for our clients over the past years. So in that respect, it’s not really new territory. It’s a well-trodden path. So let’s talk about the offerings that are out there, without going into too many specifics. Do you think these programs traditionally have been a little needlessly complicated, or does that complexity serve a purpose? The existing programs are certainly complicated and that was our sole impetus for developing galleryManager—to eliminate complexity and streamline things. Most of the management software that galleries currently use are application-based, and they can be limiting in terms of what you are able to do with them. On top of that, just getting to learn how to use them can 112
take up a lot of time. You have to read manuals, you can even take classes and get instruction if you’d like. And we just felt that there wasn’t a need for all that complexity—to have such a steep learning curve in order to manage the administrative needs of a gallery. I know people sometimes look at something and see that it’s very complicated and difficult to learn and think, “Oh, well, this must be something very powerful and special.” Do you think galleries will bring that prejudice to what you guys are proposing here? No. This goes to the core of what we are trying to do as a company, which is get rid of all the complexities and make it so it’s really accessible technology, so you can use it without having any kind of training, without having to read through a manual. It just makes sense. We’ve been able to do that very well with our websites, and now we’re doing the same thing with galleryManager. So the hope is that they’re not daunted by it, so that they look at it and say, ‘Oh, this is easy’ and just jump right in. I know people get nervous about transferring data and migrating things. Have you thought about that? Will you be able to manage that process with galleryManager? We’re definitely going to be able to transfer data without any sort of issues. This is definitely a part of the process of getting started with galleryManager. Knowing how the galleryManager software works, what would you say are the strengths of the program itself ? Definitely ease of use. Reliability. You don’t have to worry about keeping a server on premises, you don’t have to deal with 113
viruses, and your data is reliably backed up. With a normal computer, if something goes wrong you could have lost your entire collection of data and images and invoices. And that certainly is not going to be an issue with galleryManager. You don’t have to pay for any upgrades. And it’s going to work seamlessly with your exhibit-E website. Hurricane Sandy revealed the fragile nature of location based inventory management. Sandy was the unimaginable event that nobody wanted to believe could happen. But there were more than a few galleries that were caught unprepared, who did not take all art out of harm’s way, and who had not anticipated what a good soaking would do to their database. With waterlogged servers and lost data those galleries were out of commission. After Hurricane Sandy there was much cleaning up to do in Chelsea, but galleries also had to rethink how they store and manage their inventory database. Some of those galleries contacted us looking for a sustainable, long term, web-based solution. We got them into galleryManager. What about the mobility? Anyone who has switched to using something like Web mail loves the ability to check their email anywhere. Right. You can do it anywhere. You’re not locked to one computer. If you’re at an art fair, if you are at Art Basel Miami and you want to show a selection of inventory to a client down there that you haven’t thought to bring photos of, you just log right in from your iPad or computer and everything’s right there. Or if you want to present a curated selection of inventory from galleryManager you can do that from your iPad or any other tablet or computer. All the information that’s associated 114
After Hurricane Sandy there was much cleaning up to do in Chelsea, but galleries also had to rethink how they store and manage their inventory database.
with an individual piece of work, or artist, all the information about past clients you’ve worked with, the location of a work, the provenance. Or if you’re a gallery owner and your assistants are away for the day or on vacation and you need them to upload something, they can just hop right on and change it for you. It’s really like a one-stop shop for everything related to running a gallery. In terms of flexibility and mobility, this does sound like an extension of what you’ve already been able to do with exhibit-E. Exactly. It is just one more piece of functionality of the websites that we provide for the galleries. It fits in seamlessly, and it’s one less thing that the galleries have to worry about. Do you think the galleries are worried about that information being exposed, that information being hacked? We think that there’s probably a perception that stuff is exposed. But in reality, well, two points here. One, we’re using the same secure protocols that a bank would use protecting your credit card information. But two, by having this information on our Web servers, we’re adding an extra layer of protection and reliability that some galleries just might not think of. A computer in a gallery might not be as up to date on all the right patches and virus protection. We take all of those headaches out of the equation. It’s more secure than if you were on one of these programs in the gallery, especially when considering the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. Our galleryManager clients had access to their inventory throughout the crisis.
You’ve taken the website now to a platform that everyone can manage themselves. You’re doing this now with the online inventory management. What do you think is next? What are the major things where you can say, “Well, let’s do this next”? Generally what we’re going to do is keep listening to our clients and respond to their needs and demands as new things come up. The art world moves so fast, and there are so many new tools for communicating and exchanging information these days that we have to stay in sync with how the galleries themselves are doing business. More specifically, we’re going to keep adding new features and capabilities to our products, improving and developing what we have already started. Technology moves fast. There will be a lot of opportunities to continue to innovate features and just keep getting better. View more at www.gallerymanager.com
FOUR CASE STUDIES
www.richardprince.com Magazines, books, movies, TV, records, cars, paintings, drawings, sculpture, houses, fashion, sunsets, advertising…welcome to richardprince.com. When Richard Prince, the American artist and collector best known for his appropriations and reiterations of images, approached exhibit-E about designing a new website for him, he provided a clear brief: he needed a website that could handle lots of content, that would be easy to navigate and that would support a broad array of back-end capabilities, giving the artist the flexibility to use the site as a tool of expression. The site he was using at the time was outdated and even the most basic changes were challenging. The only option that would give him the dynamic site he wanted was to custom design a new website. Prince is a prolific artist, collector, writer, receiver of information and obsessive observer. His interests are varied and 120
the website reflects that. Rich in content, the website offers an extensive presentation of his work, interests, writing and collections, and gives him a broad palette to explore and express himself in this newer medium. Our aim was to create a platform for the artist that was visually stunning, slightly irreverent, simple to navigate and easily managed by the artist and his studio. We adopted a bold graphic feel for the design, utilizing a condensed sans serif typeface. The page layouts evoke the aesthetic of a rock poster, with strong graphic elements and an intentional echo of randomness. The design feels intelligent, organized, and current. The website’s home page greets the visitor with a bold “Richard Prince” headline, black font in all caps against a light gray background. Underneath this are the featured content categories, displayed horizontally in line, in gray font, all caps. These categories serve as clickable navigation bars, which take the visitor deeper into the content of the site. Beneath the categories layout are panels displaying artwork, easily changed whenever the artist desires. The effect is concise and visually impactful. Navigating the website is seductively simple, enticing further exploration into the site. The bold, all-caps type is represented in three color states for clarity of navigation: black, gray and blue. It’s a muscle car blue, bright and assertive. The minimalist color palette does not distract. Roll over a category and the typeface changes to blue; click on a category and it changes to black, while the “Richard Prince” header type and all the other navigation type turn light gray. This lends an unexpected softness to the otherwise bold graphic presentation. Then another pleasant surprise—roll over the gray “Richard Prince” header 121
and it turns blue; roll over any of the gray categories and they turn blue too. The effect is almost tactile. Prince has opted to organize his website into twelve content categories, which serve as the site’s main navigation menu: Photographs, Paintings, Drawings, Exhibitions & Installations, Untitled Originals, Sculptures, Publications, Limited Editions, Own Collection, Writings, Biography, and Contact & News. Click on “Photographs” and you are taken to a section of the site devoted primarily to Prince’s photographic images. A menu of subsections, arranged thematically, appears on the left side of the screen. The site allows him to add new subsections (or subtract existing ones) as the need arises. From a design perspective, it’s a beautifully simple and clean interface, which allows the artwork to occupy center stage without distractions. Click on “Cowboys,” for instance, and you are taken to a page of thumbnail images representing each of the pieces in this category of work. Click on a thumbnail, and you are taken to a gallery where each of the pieces in this category of work is displayed, one at a time, in a spare viewing pane that fills the computer screen. Each piece of art is clearly identified and dated. You can scroll back and forth through this gallery using the generously-sized left and right navigation arrows, or jump back to the subcategory page with a single click. iPad users will find the arrows ideal for navigating with their thumbs. No matter which page you are viewing in the website, the home page menu is always right there at the top of the page, making for easy, intuitive navigation. As you browse through the various categories from the main menu, you will find the same intelligent design framework with subsections consistently placed and clearly displayed on every 124
website page. The artist is free to add, modify, disable, or delete subsections throughout the site, as the need requires. He is not limited by the website design. In terms of layout, in any section of the website where there are thumbnail images, these are displayed on the page in an imperfect grid that appears slightly random, as if the artist has laid the images down on a table for you to view. The slight randomness is intentional and system-generated. Unique to this website, Prince has included glimpses of his own extensive collection of art, books and stuff in general, lending the site the air of a work in progress. The site’s value added is that the artist is using the medium to reveal his creative process—we are gifted with what feels like a very personal view into his hobbies, his obsessions, his library, his homes and other things that lend context to his work. As Prince once said about his art, “A lot of it is experimental, spontaneous. It’s about knocking about in the studio and bumping into things.” The website allows us a glimpse into that process. Browse to the “Own Collection” section of the Website, and you’re treated to photographs of Prince’s houses and other buildings, with what appears to be his personal art collection in situ. Also shown are photos of individual paintings, photos of books and manuscripts from his own personal library, and photos of albums, posters and artifacts he’s collected over the years. The “Exhibitions and Installations” section of the Website provides links to artwork from Prince’s recent exhibitions, as well as images of installations featuring his work. In a refreshing variation in the design, the “Exhibitions” page uses a single column format, with featured content displayed in 125
horizontal rectangles, framed by the light gray background common to the rest of the site. The title, venue and dates of each featured exhibition are shown neatly on the left, with an image of art from the show on the right. Click on an exhibition, and you are taken to a page of thumbnails of images of works from that exhibition. Click again on a thumbnail, and you are taken to a gallery where the image is displayed in its own viewing pane, filling the screen. The “Writings” section includes a selection of Prince’s written work. The layout here is suggestive of newspaper clippings. The first few paragraphs of each “story” are shown as gray text against a white background, displayed in vertically oriented rectangular columns, arranged on the page in seemingly random order against a light gray background. If you are hooked on a story after reading the first few lines, click on “Read More” and you are taken to a new page where the entire story is displayed in a wider, letter size format for easy reading. Like all exhibit-E websites, the site has an easy to use administrative interface, which allows the artist to manage content with a minimum of effort. Adding a subsection under one of the twelve menu categories is effortless, requiring just a few keystrokes and clicks of the mouse. So too is populating that new subsection, or an existing one, with images of artwork and with accompanying text. The process is no more involved than attaching a photo to an email.
Like all exhibit-E websites, the site has an easy to use administrative interface, which allows the artist to manage content with a minimum of effort.
www.matthewmarks.com Founded in the early 1990s in New York City, the Matthew Marks Gallery is one of the worldâ€™s most influential gallery spaces for international contemporary artists. The gallery represents over twenty-five American and European artists of different generations and has three locations, all in the heart of Chelsea, with more than 15,000 square feet of exhibition space. The gallery is known for representing both established figures like Ellsworth Kelly and Jasper Johns and younger artists like Nayland Blake, Nan Goldin, and Darren Almond. Matthew Marks was one of the pioneers in the Chelsea district and is known for its deep commitment to its artists. When the gallery approached exhibit-E about creating a new website, they had firm views about the kind of user experience they were after. 128
They wanted a state-of-the-art website with an elegant and intelligent design that would reflect both the vibrant contemporary side of the gallery and the established 20th-century masters as well. They also needed an efficient interface that would allow them to easily update website content. They knew their old site was in need of an overhaul; artist information was hard to find, search engine ranking was poor, and managing the site was cumbersome. The new website features a beautifully spare and intuitive design. Our goal was to make everything easily accessible to the user. The clean look has the appearance of simplicity, but in fact the website is deceptively robustâ€”it is rich with content and features, including e-commerce, downloadable PDF press packets for each artist, links to museum exhibitions (both present and past) for gallery artists, and links to private rooms. The architecture of the website achieves a new level in gallery website design. The first thing you see when you arrive at the site is a large image announcing the current exhibition against a black background, with the website menu arranged horizontally at the top of the screen. The screen transitions to a new image every three seconds or so, revealing other current Matthew Marks exhibitions at the galleryâ€™s various locations. The website can facilitate up to eight current exhibitions on the opening page. Clicking on one of these thumbnails takes you to the exhibition page, where you find information about the artist and the exhibition on the right half of the page, with a clickable image filling the left half of the page. Click on this image (or the button below it) and youâ€™re taken to a screen full of large thumbnails, each an image of artwork from the exhibition 129
immaculately framed with a white border. Click on one of these, and an eye-popping image of the artwork fills the screen, again framed attractively in a white border against the black background. Here the black background becomes an active element exploiting the white border and activating the space around the artworks with an irresistible clarity. It’s a beautiful device for displaying artwork on the Web. As you move from page to page, the menu bar is always displayed at the top of the page, allowing for easy navigation wherever you go in the site. Another navigational aid is available when you are viewing full-sized images: near the top of the screen, just below the left side of the menu bar, are three simple directional arrows which enable you to move backward or forward one image at a time, or jump one layer up the menu to the thumbnail page. Also on the exhibition page is a button taking you to another corridor in the site, this one devoted to the artist and his body of work. The organizational structure for this section gives the gallery the ability to share a generous amount of information about the artists. Here you will find selected images of the artist’s work; biographical information about the artist and a brief description of his work; the artist’s exhibition history; links to publications available for purchase; links to press packets (in PDF format); and links to current and past museum exhibitions for the artist. The artist’s previous Matthew Marks Gallery exhibitions are also archived here, with full-page images of the artworks available for viewing. The menu bar gives you the choice to navigate by “Artist” or “Current Exhibitions.” Another menu choice lets you view a list of museum exhibitions featuring artists represented by 132
Matthew Marks; there are links here to the museum websites, where images of artworks and descriptions of the exhibitions can be found. Customers can click on the “Books & Posters” menu option to view a gorgeous display of items available for purchase directly from the gallery. The site is fully set up for e-commerce. It should come as no surprise that Matthew Marks, an active promoter of art fairs, would include a menu button taking you to information about art fairs where the work of the gallery’s artists are represented (“Art Fair Installation Views”). Another menu option takes you to news about the gallery and its artists. A fun and interesting feature here is a tab called “Diary,” which takes you behind the scenes for a more intimate look at gallery artists, events, installations, and interviews. This area also includes content from years past. In addition, there is an option here to view video content in the form of links to YouTube files; the site supports custom Flash video as well. The decision to embed video or use Flash video is up to the gallery, depending on its need. But this special feature, developed especially for the Matthew Marks Gallery website, is a capability most gallery websites don’t have. The menu also includes a search tool, which sorts results logically by artist, exhibitions, and books. The Matthew Marks website is driven by a powerful back-end. The site is entirely managed by gallery staff via a simple-to-use, intuitive Web interface. The result is a totally integrated gallery solution, with an elegant public interface and a refined back-end interface that makes the day-to-day maintenance of the site easy for the gallery staff.
www.carrolldunham.net The Carroll Dunham website is exactly what an artist’s website should be. It provides access to the artist’s work, writings, interviews, lectures, video, publications, articles, and reviews, all within easy reach and organized in a way that helps the Web user understand more about the artist at any given period in his career. The result is a Web experience that is rich and informative for the art connoisseur, scholar, student and art lover. For instance, one feature that differentiates this site is its ability to aggregate information from every period of Dunham’s career in a way that would make it possible for a site user to easily view artworks and writings from one specific period. That capability is a powerful tool for research and comparison. 134
Artworks are organized by period. To view images of paintings from 2000–2002, the user clicks the “Paintings” tab, then clicks on the “2000–2002” button and images of paintings from this period are displayed. The user can opt to view thumbnails or scroll through large screen-sized views of the art, all displayed against the backdrop of a clean white background, like an exhibition space. When viewing an individual image, the user can page down further and find links to other artworks, writings, essays, and reviews from this same period of time. The beauty of this is that when you are looking at a particular period of paintings you can also see drawing, prints, sculpture, and writings from the same period. That logic applies to any menu section the user visits. This ability to drill down to another layer of detail enriches the user experience, giving the user the freedom to wander through the site retrospectively and contextually, but with ample information to digest, ponder, and enjoy. The design of the website is graphically simple, providing a clean canvas for the art itself. The first thing a user sees when he goes into the site is the art—images of paintings drift up the screen, past a prominent “Carroll Dunham” banner at the top of the screen. When the user clicks on the banner, the menu bar is revealed, with buttons for paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, writings, press, publications, biography, and contact information. Observant users will notice that the shape of the menu bar is suggestive of the hat worn by Dunham’s notorious “Killer” character, seen so often in his paintings between 1997 and 2006. For the artist, maintaining the website is simple and intuitive. With exhibit-E’s web-based back-end, the artist can 135
quickly and easily add images and other content, and the structure of the site is designed to support unlimited growth. The site is not intended for commerceâ€”for this, there are links to the galleries that represent the artist. The website gives the artist enormous flexibility in the way content is organized. Dunham is free to create different categories and date ranges. For instance, instead of categorizing works by period, he might sort them by series or specific date. The data, though, remains fully associative, enabling the artist to easily build an intersecting web of information regardless of how he organizes the site.
This ability to drill down to another layer of detail enriches the user experience, giving the user the freedom to wander through the site retrospectively and contextually.
www.gagosian.com Organizing information—and making it look good in the process—is ultimately the end goal when producing any art gallery website. Even for the smallest galleries, keeping everything easy to find, well-ordered, and efficient to navigate, while still properly representing the gallery’s image and stature, can be a heroic challenge. Now consider a larger gallery—one with multiple locations, a significant stable of artists, and a long history of exhibitions, and that challenge quickly becomes compounded. Without a clear vision, and smart, effective use of design, the most important information can easily get overwhelmed in a sea of links, text, images, and all the other trappings of a standard gallery website. 140
That was the challenge facing Gagosian Gallery, when exhibit-E was asked to redesign the website, www.gagosian.com, in the fall of 2006, and even today, the site still looks fresh and equal to the stature of the best known and most visible contemporary art gallery in the world. How did exhibit-E create a design with such staying power? With twelve locations (stretching from coast to coast and across the world’s oceans to Hong Kong, London and Rome), Gagosian Gallery is unique among its peers in terms of scale, history, and complexity. Translating this online, and presenting the true depths of its content and archives, required a high level of design expertise. The difference is not in fanciful design conceits, the noise too often used in Web design. Rather, what sets this gallery website apart is its directness and simplicity. The site’s stream-lined navigation allows the user to easily process a dense amount of content within a remarkably restrained and elegant design. Browsing gagosian.com provides an up-close look at how gallery websites can be designed with an eye towards the future. Upon first approaching gagosian.com, the site wastes little time getting to the most relevant information. Right there on the front page are the current exhibitions taking place at the different Gagosian locations, with an image from the exhibition, the gallery location, the artist’s name, exhibition dates, and a link to “View Exhibition.” One is immediately taken with the uniformity and restraint of the site. There are no visible bells and whistles. For the user, browsing the Gagosian Gallery site is an engrossing experience; an art lover can easily spend hours digging through the amount of content contained within. 141
And getting to the content is not a formidable challenge: it’s built to let the user navigate, and there are multiple “connections” throughout the site, i.e., there are no dead-ends where the user is left with nowhere else to go. It’s quick and easy to jump from artist to exhibitions to related multimedia. The site uses a familiar but sleek top navigation bar to provide the user with a menu of areas to click to. The navigation menu is only revealed when the user needs to click to another portion of the site. When the mouse is not near the top of the site, it fades away. The effect is not only to clear up space on the page, but to encourage the user to spend time scanning the page they are currently looking at. With no links at the top to distract the eye, the user doesn’t feel like he/she has to rush off to another portion of the site. The site itself features an all-white background and the only color comes from the art featured on the site; all links and text are either black or a soft grey, while exhibition images pop with contrast and color. The clean white background highlights the artists work; it doesn’t compete with background images or other navigational elements. There are numerous methods of getting to the content. Users can browse by exhibitions—either current, past, or upcoming. Or, if a user is looking for information on a particular artist, there is an “Artists” page with the full list of exhibited artists featured. The artists currently being exhibited are featured with a thumbnail image at the top. The “Shop” section offers access to all the publications, editions, and catalogue raisonnés that Gagosian has produced; it’s an invaluable resource for collectors, art lovers, and historians alike.
With twelve locations (stretching from coast to coast and across the worldâ€™s oceans to Hong Kong, London and Rome), Gagosian Gallery is unique among its peers in terms of scale, history, and complexity. Translating this online, and presenting the true depths of its content and archives, required a high level of design expertise.
But without sensible, clean navigation, all the engaging content would go to waste. So gagosian.com’s most important triumph is the way in which it links between the various, related pieces of content. For example, each artist is given their own page (with a biography and a sample of their work), and from that page, the user is given links to their exhibitions and publications on the left hand column. On the right hand column, a “more” box provides blog-like links (time stamped and dated) to the latest site updates that are relevant to the artist— a new exhibition or a new edition. Likewise, if a user enters into the content by browsing upcoming exhibitions, the page for each exhibition features links to the artist’s information. So no matter how a user dives into the site, they’re not going to miss the relevant content they’re looking for. Gagosian.com also features a powerful—and quick—search box that’s featured right at the top of the page. The best part of the search is that it pre-sorts its own search results. Instead of just presenting the user with a meaningless list of links, the results are divided into artists, exhibitions, and publications (where appropriate). It is touches like this that make browsing the site an overall sensible and intelligent experience. These ingredients collaborate seamlessly on gagosian.com, and the end result is a site which fully accomplishes its mission: to enhance usability, to increase the capability of the gallery to present the art and artists, to present the Gagosian Gallery in an innovative, informative fashion and ultimately to serve as an extension of the gallery online. It’s a reflection of durable truths in contemporary Internet design— usability, simplicity, and a focus on content.
There are still plenty of opportunities for what galleries can do with their most valuable resourceâ€”their content, namely the art and the artists who make itâ€”and the design of gagosian.com is positioned to evolve as the art world further embraces the Internet as a means of doing business.
20 SAMPLE WEBSITES
GLOSSARY Adaptive Design
Adapts content to the size of the screen and also takes into account the capabilities of the device, offering a much better user experience as the whole design will be based on context. AdBlock
A very popular browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox and Safari that allows users to visit websites without having to view ads. Admin
The section of your website where you update and make changes to the siteâ€™s content. Adwords (Google Adwords)
A Google advertising service where you pay only when users click on your ad. Apps
Apps are single-purpose applications for mobile devices, including the iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile. Blog
A website where entries are display in chronological order. It is also the process of posting to a website. Browser
The application used to navigate the Internet and view websites. Popular browsers include Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera. 190
Memory on your computer that is used to store frequently accessed webpages, allowing you to access these sites more quickly upon subsequent visits. Byte
A unit of digital information corresponding to one character. Cloud Computing
Is location independent, allowing technologists to use computational resources on demand, similar to how the electrical grid functions. Expertise in the systems being used is unnecessary, as the technology infrastructure in the cloud is fully supported. Users interact with the cloud through a web-browser, and data is stored on remote servers, typically in a grid. CMS
Content Management System (same definition as Admin, above) Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A globally distributed network of servers designed to improve webpage loading times by mirroring the webpage in a location that is geographically close to the user. Cookies
A small file that certain websites send to your computer to keep track of your preferred settings or to keep you logged in, for example, Hotmail or Gmail.
DNS (Domain Name Service or Domain Name Servers)
Computers that translate the domain name you type into your browser into the website serverâ€™s IP address. Every computer on the Internet has a unique IP address, which is its location. Domain Name
The address/URL of a website that corresponds to the unique IP address of a computer on the Internet, for example, www.exhibit-E.com or www.google.com. (e)nnouncement
A custom mass email solution (with mailing list administration) produced by exhibit-E, allowing galleries to create email promotions designed to integrate with the gallery identity. Facebook
A social networking service with over 800 million users. Flash
A format that allows the addition of dynamic movement or animation to a website, offering the Web designer a broader array of design options. FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
Method of uploading files to a server over the Internet. GIF
A graphics format that is adept at displaying type and solid objects on a webpage. GB (Gigabytes)
A storage measurement that consists of 1,000 megabytes.
A word or a phrase prefixed with the symbol #, a form of metadata tag. Also, short messages on microblogging social networking services such as Twitter or Instagram may be tagged by including one or more with multiple words concatenated. HTML5
A standard for the primary website programming language that allows sites to display rich multimedia without proprietary plugins like Flash. HTML5 is also capable of displaying video, and dynamic drawing of 2D shapes. http:// (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
The standard protocol for information transfer on the Internet. Domain names are prefixed by this in the browserâ€™s address bar. Image Optimization
The act of preparing an image, whether scanned or imported from a digital camera, for the Web, using resizing, cropping and compression. IP Address
A scripting language embedded in Web browsers that allows advanced functionality to be added to a website. JPEG / JPG
A graphics format that is adept at displaying images.
Words that are used to summarize sections of content; they are integral to searching the Internet and optimizing websites for search engines and particularly effective if integrated into the site content. KB (Kilobytes)
A storage measurement that consists of 1,000 bytes. MB (Megabytes)
A storage measurement that consists of 1,000 kilobytes. META Keywords
An obsolete method of identifying keywords with a particular webpage. The modern search engines ignore the contents of META keywords. Metadata
Specialized terms and keywords used to describe a website to machine-learning algorithms. Operating System
The brain of the computer; the operating system runs all of the programs on your computer. The most popular are Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. PDF (Portable Document Format)
A standard format used for transferring documents over the Internet that preserves the style of the original file. Photoshop
The most popular program for optimizing images. Pixels
The smallest unit of measurement on a screen. It is used for dimensions of images that end up on the Internet.
A graphics standard created to improve upon, and replace the GIF standard. Podcast
A Web feed of audio or video that can be subscribed to and downloaded to your MP3 player automatically. You can then listen or watch the content whenever and wherever you want. Pop-up Blocker
A utility that prevents unwanted pop-up windows from appearing on your screen. QR Codes
QR Codes are 2D barcodes that can encode all sorts of information. Commonly used for URL embedding, they present a way for galleries to have artful URL redirecting. Responsive Design
An approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experienceâ€”easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrollingâ€”across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones). RSS (Really Simple Syndication)
A Web feed format that summarizes the content on a website. It allows you to track any new content on a website without having to frequently go to the site. Quicktime
A video plugin developed by Apple Computer capable of playing back video and sound.
The width and height of a screen measured in pixels. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search Engine Optimization is the art of improving site visibility and page rank in search engines through natural (unpaid) search. Search Engine Rankings
A measure of how well a website performs on a particular search engine. Server
A computer that is used to offer information to other computers for download, for example, the computer that hosts a website. Site Traffic Report
A summary of site traffic over time for a website. It can show at a glance the number of unique visitors, when people accessed a website, how long they stayed there, what country they were from and a wealth of other valuable information. Social Graph
Publicly available information about a person that represent a userâ€™s online identity. Social Networking
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are all media used to facilitate social networking, i.e., social structure, relationships and friendships online. Spam
Unsolicited email that is sent by marketers. It represents over 75 percent of all email sent today.
A program that stops a user from receiving Spam. There are two types, each with benefits: one that resides on your computer and one that resides on a server. TIFF / TIF
A file format used for storing uncompressed images. Twitter
Twitter is a web-based application that allows users to post 160-character updates from their phones, the website or from smart phone apps. URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
Describes the location and access method of a resource on the Internet, also referred to as the websiteâ€™s address, for example, http://www.exhibit-E.com. vlog
A vlog is a video blog post, created by shooting a video, and uploading it to the Internet through your blog. Web 2.0
Is a definition for modern Web applications that allow dynamic information sharing, and often interact within multiple applications simultaneously. Web Application
An application with similar functionality to a desktop application, but written a language that web browsers can understand. Unlike desktop applications, web applications can run on any computer, as long as it has a web browser and internet connection.
Web shortening is a technique that allows very, very long URLs to be shortened for easy portability. Web shortening services include bit.ly, ow.ly, and NanoURL.. Wikipedia
This is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers; with rare exceptions, its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the website. The name is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a type of collaborative website) and encyclopedia. Its primary servers are in Tampa, Florida, with additional servers in Amsterdam and Seoul. Webmail
A website that allows you to access your email when you are away from your computer.
Michael Gwertzman is a freelance writer living in New York City covering cultural news and urban affairs. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, the New York Post, XLR8R magazine and URB magazine. Adam Lehner is the Managing Editor of October magazine and author of The Rearrangement, a fictional account of an interior decorator’s descent into madness, published in 2008 by MER. Paper Kunsthalle. Designed and edited by Dan Miller, exhibit-E Special thanks to Jim Cholakis and Mike Miller. Digitally printed and bound by Meridian Printing, East Greenwich, RI in an edition of 500. Copyright © 2013 by exhibit-E, LLC All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission in writing by exhibit-E.
tel 212 625 9910 fax 212 966 4425 info @ exhibit-e.com www.exhibit-e.com
The Art World and the World Wide Web. Essays, Interviews and Case Studies.