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Brief Published: 15 Oct 2013

Tumblr Curates Digital Artists


New York’s Phillips Auction house teamed up with image and micro-blogging site Tumblr to host an online exhibition and auction in a bid to support and validate digital art in the changing face of art and culture. 

Paddles On! – also in association with online auction house Paddle8 – showcased 17 digital art pioneers and their work, which included websites, YouTube videos, software and animated gifs. Pieces such as Ifnoyes.com by Rafael Rozendaal – a website featuring a moving screensaver that users can alter by moving the curser across the screen – showcase the potential of digital systems and graphics to be considered as art in the digital age.

"We’re presenting these artists as part of a new wave of art-making, from a generation where using technology isn’t radical or experimental, but a given, and an essential part of their creativity," said Phillips’ director of digital strategy Megan Newcome in an interview with US publication Time Magazine.

An upcoming talk hosted by the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London on October 19 will explore how the digital world has impacted on the art market, and how it will continue to evolve. The work of famed digital artist Ryan Trecartin – who presented at this year’s Venice Art Biennale and will be discussed during the event – is a good example of how influential glitchy, riffed internet art can be.

Elsewhere, pieces such as Mark Tribe’s Black Creek – a high-resolution photograph taken of a landscape within an unnamed video game – represents the artistic skill required to create modern video gameplay. See Touchscreen Gaming and Innovations in Gaming for more. 

Having traditionally struggled with legitimacy in fine-art markets, digital art is quickly gaining credibility, thanks to a growing crop of digital-native artists and the success of image-sharing and micro-blogging sites such as Tumblr. For more on internet art, see Tumblr Art Symposium. For more on this digital aesthetic, see Glitch, Dot Matrix & Disruption Graphics, The Museum of Glitch Aesthetics, It’s All Glitchy and Digital Chromatics