Keeping it Amateur

Are you a pro at surfing the internet? Do you consider your knack for excavating the hidden jewels of the world wide web an art? You're not alone. The internet's expanding cornucopia of wonders has parlayed into a more conceptually rigorous genre of internet art that concerns itself with the specifics of being online. 'Take It To The Net,' an exhibition on view at London's Vilma Gold gallery through 4 June, presents a handful of international artists who both cull and translate their material to and from the internet. 'What is or is not conceived of as art is of less importance in an era where the amateur as producer has become the professional,' says curator Hanne Mugaas. 'The Internet has opened the floodgates for producers, and the emphasis now lies in the hands of those who access the information.' Included in the show are Jean Baptiste Bayle's website circumventing download laws by offering hot MP3's played in reverse, and his archive of covers of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean.' Paul Davis exhibits well-designed mixtapes and Michael Bell-Smith's video collage of twelve chapters of R.Kelly's 'Trapped in the Closet' show visualizes the compelling conventions of the 'hiphopera' genre. Works by Seth Price, Paper Rad, Takeshi Murata, and Thomas Barbey round out this aurally-pleasing exhibition while reflecting on the nature of internet fandom and the syntax of surfing. - Marisa Olson