Web browser as all-access art gallery?

A new video from The Idea Channel, a PBS endeavor on YouTube, suggests that perhaps the web browser has reached the point where it might be capable of replacing the act of going to an art gallery to see art. I do think in some ways that it is true, in that one can visit just about any major museum or art gallery via their website and see the art even if that particular institution is not geographically accessible to you. And even more so, the web allows one to view art made by artists who are independent of galleries or museums, and also to see more experimental work that may never make it to a gallery … but it still begs the question, can the web actually “replace” art galleries or make them obsolete?

Our opinion here at Artsology is: no. While the web is great in providing equal access to art to all people with an internet connection regardless of geography, it just doesn’t seem right to think that the experience of viewing art online could be equal to or better than the experience of seeing art in person. In the case of art that is created specifically as a digital work that is meant to be viewed on a screen, then we do feel that the web browser is a perfect venue as “gallery” for viewing these digital works; but the idea of seeing a Rodin sculpture or a Picasso painting on a screen and having it equal the experience of being able to walk up and see it in person – no, we don’t think that could ever be a replaceable experience.

What do you think? Watch the video and let us know …

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