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Greater New York '05 Online Gallery



Early 21st Century Art
"Another rubicon was crossed in the mid-'00s with the publication of the GNY05OG (Greater New York 2005 Online Gallery). This Borgesian project began at the instigation of "blogger" James Wagner (as citizen journalists were then known). In response to a Stalinesque ban on photography at the PS1 Contemporary Art Gallery in New York, Wagner called for artists to sketch the show and offered to post the sketches to the Internet. The response was overwhelming--overcoming their natural territoriality, apathy about other artists' work and fear of not being seen as "playas," hundreds of artists flocked to the institution and submitted drawings. The gallery was so personal, idiosyncratic and non-hierarchical that critics began describing it as "better than the original show" (Village Voice) and a "case of the map becoming the territory" (October). The art was viewed all over the world, revitalizing New York as a "dynamic center of art rather than just a series of year-round vegetable stalls" (The Guardian).

The show also marked the beginning of a new, meta-art, wherein artists used powers of observation, drawing ability, and Photoshop skills to create an enhanced online product somewhere between the physical and the virtual. The new work had a torqued up effect akin to the sampling phenomenon in music, where tweaked sounds become more punchy and "present" than live playing. Eventually museums became physical "sample banks," with real-space objects serving much the same function as plaster casts of still life subjects in the academy, that is, mere shells used as starting points for finished electronic work.

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