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Art on the Web

Carolyn Campbell shares some great art sites on the Net.

Do you fantasize about spending your leisure time in the great museums and galleries of the world? Your prayers have been answered in cyberspace. The arts on the Internet have made a stroll through the Louvre Museum in Paris as simple as a click of a mouse. Presto! The Mona Lisa is smiling back at you in full color on your computer screen. Want to know the going price for a Warhol at Sotheby's? Just log onto their home page for the latest auction results. Dying to cruise New York's galleries to see work by some of today's hottest artists? Hundreds of art webpages await your eager eyes and email queries.

My excursions through cyberworld have uncovered some surprisingly entertaining sites; really awful ones, and enough artworld gossip to keep me logged-on for hours. Michael Garibaldi-Frick, a sculptor and webmaster of the highly popular Scultura Arts Forum site mentioned some of the advantages of exploring art on the net. "Art patrons benefit because of the ease of browsing the Web in the comfort of their own home. Many patrons do not like the high-pressure gallery scene and the Internet provides a very relaxing method of browsing and learning more about artists in greater detail."

Deciding where you first want to visit is a challenge. In the past year there has been an avalanche of new art sites -- nearing 8,000 total to choose from. The pages increase daily, and range from presentations by international museums to works by guerrilla artists. My personal preferences are those that are easy to navigate, have engaging graphics, informative text, and an audio track is a big plus. I also enjoy being able to give feedback to the site's creator through email; this sets up interesting opportunities for coast-to-coast or international dialogue. PR maven Anna Graham, who telecommutes to L.A. from her home in Montana, says, "I look for sites that are visually captivating and offer an array of choices for learning about museum collections, exhibitions and programs. I've revisited some of my favorite museum sites lately, and those that haven't been updated since my last visit seem to have lost some of their appeal. I think it's important that sites evolve and offer new ideas and opportunities for the return visitor." One site she loyally clicks onto is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's (LACMA) home page (co-designed by her husband Eric Lindeen). I agree with Anna's choice; the images are terrific and the calendar of exhibitions, concerts, films, and lectures is current and enticing.

Just roaming the net can deliver some terrific discoveries. While checking out the European-based The Thing ,I randomly selected a few of their suggested links and arrived in the zany worlds of the Center for Advanced Whimsy, eos2 and Fat.

For Southern California art news I always check with Artcommotion and Art Net for the national scoop. If I want to read a story later, I immediately download it as some sites do not keep back issues. One source that does is Talk Back! the best art critical discourse forum on the web (created by former Californian, now New Yorker, Robert Atkins). The Dia Art Center presents intriguing online artworks. One piece by artist Susan Hiller offers an audio segment in several languages.

Here are some of my favorite visual arts sites. I've also come across great literature, dance and music pages, which can be found through the award-winning Arts USA site. So settle back, give your computer the art search command and Make it so!

ArtCommotion

Art Net

ArtNetWeb (a different site than above)

Arts USA

Artswire

Dia Center for the Arts

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Louvre Museum

Sotheby's Auction House

The Thing


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