The first ever Online Art Biennale
Friday 26 April sees the launch of the first ever Online Art Biennale showcasing the works of 180 artists selected by 30 curators across the globe. This virtual happening, which can be viewed at www.artplus.com, is the brainchild of David Dehaeck, who also launched the online art platform Art + to exhibit the work of promising young artists in spring last year. At the time he planned to mount his online biennale before autumn, but it was a more time-consuming and complicated process than expected and he eventually had to contend with the spring launch which officially kicks off on Friday. The selection committee boasts an impressive group of experts, led by the prolific curator Jan Hoet 76 as director, who personally selected 25 promising young artists. Faced with a huge pool of international talent, the organizers teamed up with 30 curators, who were each appointed to a different country and had to come up with five young creative talents. In Belgium Laurent Busine, director of MAC’s Grand Hornu, chose Edith Dekyndt and Frédéric Platéus amongst others. In the US, Nancy Spector, curator of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, was responsible for the east coast and Jens Hoffman of the Jewish Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit sought the local talent in Los Angeles and surrounding areas on the west coast. Other big names in the art world included co-directeur of the Serpentine Gallery in London, Hans Ulrich Obrist, who selected talent in the UK and Daniel Birnbaum, director of the Venice Biennale in 2009 for Sweden and Katerina Gregos, director of Art Brussels for Greece. Says Hoet about his venture: “You cannot get away from the fact that so much is happening on the Internet at the moment. Moreover I have always wanted to reach as wide an audience as possible at the same time by making museums as accessible as possible. I now want to do the same with the Internet. We hope that with this Online Biennale we will reach professionals and artists as well as active Internet users who would not normally visit a museum.” The key objective of the biennale is to showcase the cream of the plethora of art and artists. Online visitors will also enjoy the opportunity to link up with the artists and curators and to buy art via the gallery that represents the artist. The biennale will not provide a platform for direct sales. After its launch the biennale will run until 2015. “We estimate to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors,” say Dehaeck. Registration is free but a visit to the biennale costs 8 dollars 6.1 euro per month. Dehaeck remains tightlipped about the budget and financing of the project, but does say that 30% of the proceeds will go to the artists and that he is still seeking major sponsors. For now the income will have to be generated by online visits and the sale of limited editions of artworks in the online museum shop.