February 7, 2002

On The Wire

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While the world of modern art has always been considered an abstract venue of contemporary expression, this world has become even more modernized as it has expanded its medium and ventured into the world of the Web. As the visual meets the virtual, we ask ourselves how the Internet is directly enhancing the possibilities of modernity and the implications of this medium upon the viewer. Not only is it possible to access portions of various museum collections on specific museum web sites, but as these sites expand, they delve into the virtual world of art as well.

At www.MoMA.org, the Museum of Modern Art transfers from its New York City locality into one’s home via the computer. With access to the presentation of various art works and collections of vast mediums, information about education resources, and with general information about the museum and its current programs and exhibits, this site is complete with cultural substance. Nevertheless, the most unique aspects of the site are sublinks to several online projects that were created or co-produced for MoMA.org. The art world enthusiast can now set his/her eyes on the Internet as the virtual becomes interactive and modern art takes on even greater depth and proportion.

Digitally created, and requiring a web browser plug-in, the online projects featured on this site range from abstract German expressionism to Japanese virtual material, from technology in the 1990’s to highlights from conversations with contemporary artists. In conjunction with the collections at the actual MoMA, this feature expands the possibilities of modern art and extends the visual gaze to virtual interaction with sight, sound, and motion.

One of the most interactive of these projects is the Art Safari online that, as is explained on the site, allows visitors, especially children, to view four images that are located in the museum’s animal collection, then answer questions as to what is seen in the artwork, and create their own pieces of art that correspond to the project. With a children’s display section, the site encourages viewers to submit their artwork and actually access it online to become a contributor to the interactive art community.

Another project endeavors to allow visitors to learn the mediums and materials of art creation as the link is entitled, “What is a Print?” With examples of works by famed artists such as Joan Mir