ARTSCENE'S COOL ART SITES
You're here for art, and ArtScene is the right place for art in Southern California. Here are some of the best sites we have found on the Web for more of this stuff. We've tried to break 'em into some defining categories. Just so you know, we add (or delete) these links based on editorial (our opinion) merit only--we don't do exchanges. Feel free to let us know of any quality art sites you think ought to be in here, or those that may be declining in quality or that have gone offline.
World Class Museums, no geographical boudaries. Developed sites only, no mini-sites with museum scheduling and gift shop order form will get a link here! The ArtScene Museum Index provides a page for every art museum here in Southern California, with links to any more in-depth site material available. There are also some good indexes maintained on all current museum sites that are on-line. We recommend World Wide Art Resources museum database, or the Yahoo museum index.
Art Service and Information, sites of practical--even indispensable--value to the art professional.
Special Focus Sites, really the heart of the matter as far as we're concerned: about art, the more cutting edge and bent the better.
Art Indexes, places to go to jump off to lots of other art Web sites.
Southern California area City Guides, for a broader array of cultural options.
General Indexes and Search Engines, the basic places to go to launch serious Web surfing.
WORLD CLASS MUSEUMS
These are major institutions with world class collections. Southern California museums are not included here--go to the Listings for a complete list of all of them. Those included here have begun getting those collections on line--we're trying to avoid including museums that have only placed rudimentary press-packet information on line as yet:
Musee Louvre, France's greatest repository is the world's most famous museum. Also in Paris, the Centre Georges Pompidou is one of the leading modern art museums.
And the second most important museum in the world is certainly the Metropolitan Museum in New York. 'Nuff said.
The Whitney Museum of American Art, home of the (in)famous biennial, is devoted to the art of our time. We're still waiting for MOMA's arrival .
Two of Washington D.C.'s top collections belong to the National Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American Art.
The Art Institute of Chicago rounds out the top eschalon of American museums.
A group of San Francisco's major museums went in on a shared domain to offer you simultaneous access from a single home page.
Less prominent museums that provide exceptional content include the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, and Montreal's Musee d'art Contemporain.
ART SERVICE AND INFORMATION
Cutting edge graphics, good art and the lastest technological bells and whistles are not the point in these sites--quality information of value to arts professionals is. These sites specialize in carrying real substance.
One of the better looking and more substantial sites on the entire Web is ArtsUSA, which offers au courant news and articles, as well as public documents, covering the breadth of American culture.
Arts Wire is an important art service organization that provides a uniquely practical body of information to the arts constituency nationwide. Up to date information on government and the arts anchors their weekly newsletter, and links are provided to arts agencies that are on line.
Shrunk and politically shell-shocked as it is, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is still there and still actively providing grants to organizations--even if the individual artist has been cut out. All you need to know about America's major art agency is here.
The College Art Association represents the academic community of artists and art historians. There is a growing body of information--standards and guidelines, newsletters, conference news, advocacy alerts and committee activities--that will help familiarize you with this important organization.
If you are an art student planning your college education, be sure to visit All Art Schools, a database of art schools located in the United States.
Formerly High Performance magazine focused on the world of performance art. Publishers/editors Linda Burnam and Steve Durland recently moved from L.A. to North Carolina, where they have relauched HP under the aegis of Art in the Public Interest, placing their main emphasis on the connection between art and social involvement. As we grew to expect from HP's previous incarnation, production values are high.
Yes, it's dry and text-only, but the Center for Safety in the Arts offers a significant body of information of importance to any artist in all disciplines. Use it or you could lose it.
SPECIAL FOCUS SITES
Then there is the growing band of more specialized sites that treat subjects of interest and/or do it well:
A fair number of classic artists and compliations are featured in sites, but too often they are very limited or flat. We think these are among the best:
Dutch master Jan Vermeer has his wonderful eighteenth century realist paintings simply presented, complete with maps locating the museums in America and Europe that hold each work.
Mexican feminist icon Frida Kahlo is featured in depth in a nicely designed site.
Speaking of feminism, The Women Artists Archive, based a Sonoma State University, has made over 1,000 women artists' works, ranging from all historical periods, avaiable over the Web.
Latin American art has become a definite force in contemporary art, and Latin Art is the first really good guide to activities in this field, international in its scope and very clear in its layout and navigation.
Particular art forms and movements have cropped up, the following sites representing their focused interest or discipline with some depth.
Murals are the special focus of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, which has developed a thorough look at the murals and muralists of greater Los Angeles, along with in-depth information about the organization; the smaller L.A. Murals, focuses on samples of the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) "Neighborhood Pride" program of murals along with a taste of Robin Dunitz' fine book "Street Gallery"; and Art Crimes, which runs images of new graffiti art from different cities around the world.
The more general arena of public art is represented with Public Art on the Net, not a wonderfully designed site, but featuring a good gathering of links that make it a useful resource stop.
The Kitchen in New York City is one of America's major performance art venues. This site has a ways to go, but working with the Electronic Cafe International this promises to be a lot more than schedules and past event information. Santa Monica's own Electronic Cafe has developed a site that is not only worth visiting to learn more about the growing network of such cyber-art centers, but because it hosts links to download and sample virtual reality environments.
Mailed Art devotes its attention to artists who rely on the Post Office to shape their work.
If you are interested in traditional and academic art, it is very easy to get sucked into very commercial art that tries to pass for the real thing but lacks aesthetic and historical merit. Traditional Fine Art Online, Inc. avoids this with well curated selections in their exhibition section, and an e-magazine that shuns promotional bluster in favor of balanced profiles and useful information.
Individualistic, eccentric, offbeat. These sites are among the most aesthetically innovative and challenging we've seen:
Fluxus Online presents and interprets Fluxus movement artists.
Truly boundary-stretching work is presented by two "museums" that are like no others. L.A.'s own Museum of Jurassic Technology seems to have entered a period of redefinition--the result, perhaps, of the legitimizing effect of favorable media attention--but remains one of the most refreshingly indefinable locations in L.A. or on the Web. The Museum of Ephemeral Cultural Artifaccts (MECA) goes for the artful that ain't necessarily art, favoring the transitory in nature.
Gatherings of artists on the Web can be unruly and dreadfully uneven. These sites manage to orient themselves towards inclusion of many artists will maintaining good--to surprisingly good--levels of quality in a well-produced design setting:
Artist Jon Peterson's W3Art site features mostly artists working in the downtown L.A. art colonies and serves them well with a well-designed site.
A multi-disciplinary site that features a wide variety of work by independent artists, Kaleidospace was one of the truly pioneering art sites in the Web, having been around since March, 1994 (and we thought we were on the cutting edge!).
Similarly, Art on the Net offers virtual exhibitions by a variety of independent artists. This site also features a fairly extensive page of art site links.
One of the most extensive, if eclectic, networks of imagery is accessible at the popular WebMuseum site.
ArtScene is one of a handful of art "magazines" that have been transferred to the Web--or that are now being designed especially for the Web. These are, we think, the most pertinent to visual art and the best quality:
Los Angeles has never been a great mecca for art glossies, and Coagula and its publisher/editor Mat Gleason has never made a pretence toward pretension. It's a romp of a quarterly rag the mostly skewers art world obnoxiousness with a satirical sense of good fun. It's really Gleason's voice that carried the load, and you might even enjoy his personal and art gossip blog that's part of the deal here.
X-Tra is another L.A.-based mag, perhaps more of a journal, that strikes a balance between eccentricity and rigor (this is a good thing), perhaps because it is operated on a non-profit footing by a group of local artists.
Another L.A. based and oriented art-mags-on-line is Striking Distance, which presents a nice amalgam of exhibitions (mostly by young, non-affiliated artists doing cutting edge work), articles (under the mag title "C3I"), a studio visit/interview (sprawling, not cropped and edited, affairs--more like the interview itself for a change), and more.
Good quality area fine art guides--a la ArtScene--are unfortunately few and far between, and those that we have liked have tended to, well, not last. An exception is Preview of the Visual Arts, which covers about 200 fine art spaces in the Northwest (Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia). Some worthwhile editorial content and well handled gallery listings and links.
The Journal of Contemporary Art has a spare and raw graphic look that supports avant garde posturing and some good interviews with artists (eg., Lari Pittman) worth hearing from.
Even more austere from a graphic standpoint, but full of good articles and (a limited number of) reviews is Critical Review, originally under the guidance of the prodigious Donald Kuspit.
Harding any mags place their full content online (like, well, ArtScene does), but some do place enough to be worth a stop; just a billboard with a subscription pitch will not do it.
Best on-line guide to European art that we have seen thus far is Officiel des Arts. Information is clearly and simply presented, the depth is very good, and there are some nice news and touring features. What is missed are exhibition reviews or much depth of information about exhibiting artists.
There are many other art sites on the Web that you may enjoy exploring. The following sites offer organized indexes with art fans in mind. They are varied in their selectivity and orientation.
World Wide Arts Resources
Fine Art Forum Directory
Internet for the Fine Arts (IFA)
Guide to Museums and Cultural Resources
WWW Virtual Library Museums Pages
Musee Online is a new museum resource that indexes all types (not just art museums) of online museums and rates the quality of each of their sites.
Universes in Universe offers a fine selection of links devoted to Chicano, Latino and Latin American art.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA CITY GUIDES
ArtScene is, of course, about as in-depth as you can get on one subject. Here are some helpful sites that provide you with depth of information about the larger cultural scene in Los Angeles and Southern California. But you can go to just about any of the major Web portals now and find information organized into local guides that will be helpful.
The L.A. Times operates Calendar Live!. Bear in mind that this Times/City Search product is a guide to all segments of cultural L.A. (art is one of about twenty). As is the case with all of these area guides, it behooves us to remind you that ArtScene will give you more focus and depth on your fine art needs. But Calendar Live! (and these other guides) is a wonderful complement if you want to explore other categories of life in the L.A. lane.
Digital Los Angeles, America On Line's Digital City now includes an L.A. guide along with around twenty other cities across the country. While Digital City is probably the most ambitious combination of original content and database to Web content that deals with Los Angeles, the art section tilts far too much to the commercial sort of content. Limited content plagues this site, which we honestly think is overshadowed by the Times' site unless they do their homework better.
Rather than trying to build on original content, @ LA is a compendium of indexed links. The structure is clear, thorough, and not overly dependent on database searches (we think searching through linked indexes makes more sense for most of us).
EventMail, a new provider of personalized event information. Using Push technology, they e-mail you a regularly updated calendar of the kind of cultural events that YOU are interested in.
Los Angeles, an "alternative" Web guide, and a part of Boulevards Network, a system of Web sites that focus on alternative arts and travel.
GENERAL INDEXES AND SEARCH ENGINES
To get the big picture of the Web there are a group of index site and search engines that will pretty much take you wherever you might want to go--whatever the subject. We don't want to spin off recommending all kinds of non-art sites to you, but if you are relatively new to the Web, check these out and you will be rewarded with the gas pedals of the Internet.