CRUMB web resource for new media art curators has an interesting discusion theme in the month of July: Collecting New Media Art. Go to the CRUMB website to subscribe to the discussion list to follow and/or participate.
A commonly-stated reason for not taking new media art seriously is that it 'can't be collected' because of its reproducibility, difficulties in conservation, etc. However, as explored in Rethinking Curating, it CAN be, and is collected, even by commercial collectors, as found by Caitlin Jones at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in New York, and Carroll Fletcher Gallery in London. As the Variable Media project found, conservation can also be handled. As Steve Dietz outlines, tactics for collecting in museums might include archives and libraries as well as actual collections. Tate Modern and V&A are also accessioning new media works. CRUMB's Beryl Graham is working on a edited book for Ashgate publishers concerning just this subject, with contributions from some of the respondents listed here.
So, how are individuals, galleries and museums getting on with collecting new media art? Are the tactics new? Who is buying what?
Dietz, Steve. 2005. “Collecting New Media Art: Just Like Anything Else, Only Different.” In Bruce Altshuler, ed., Collecting the New: Museums and Contemporary Art, 85–101. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Also available at http://www.yproductions.com/writing/archives/collecting_new_media_art.html
Invited respondents are:
Annet Dekker is an independent curator and researcher. Currently she is involved in organising an international conference “Collecting and presenting born-digital art” for Baltan Laboratories and Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. Since 2008 she is writing a PhD on strategies for documenting net art at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, under supervision of Matthew Fuller. http://aaaan.net
Steve Fletcher, Carroll Fletcher Gallery, London. Carroll/Fletcher is a contemporary art gallery exhibiting existing and new forms of artistic production across a diverse range of media to explore contemporary socio-political, cultural, scientific and technological themes. http://www.carrollfletcher.com
Catharina Hendrick is a second year PhD student researcher investigating the affect collecting new media art has on contemporary art museums, at University of Leicester. http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/research/phd-student-research/CatharinaHendrick
Perla Innocenti is Research Fellow on cultural informatics and digital preservation, and PI of EU-funded MeLa project at University of Glasgow. http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/cca/staff/perlainnocenti/
Caitlin Jones is Executive Director of the Western Front Society in Vancouver, BC. Previously she had a combined curatorial and conservation position at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and was the Director of Programming at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in New York. A key member of the Variable Media Network, her writings have appeared in a wide range of exhibition catalogues, periodicals and other international publications. http://front.bc.ca/about
Wolf Lieser, founder in 1998 of the Digital Art Museum [DAM] - project, and director of Gallery [DAM], Berlin. Author of the book Digital Art http://www.dam.org
Lizzie Muller is a curator, writer and researcher specialising in interaction, audience experience and interdisciplinary collaboration. She is Senior Lecturer in the School of Design at the University of Technology, Sydney. http://www.lizziemuller.com/
Domenico Quaranta is an art critic, curator and lecturer. A regular contributor to Flash Art, he is the author of Media, New Media, Postmedia (2010) and the curator of Collect the WWWorld (2011 – 2012). http://domenicoquaranta.com
Louise Shannon is Curator and Deputy Head of the Contemporary Programmes at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She has developed a series of digital commissions for the Garden, and was co-curator of Decode, the first exhibition devoted to digital technologies at the V&A. http://www.vam.ac.uk/microsites/decode/
Mike Stubbs is CEO/Director at FACT Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool, which has projects including Opencuratit http://www.opencurateit.org/
Lindsay Taylor is Exhibitions Officer at Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston, and chair of North By NorthWest Contemporary Visual Arts Network. She led the exhibition and collection project: Current: an experiment in collecting digital art. http://www.harrismuseum.org.uk/exhibitions-2011/420-current-an-experiment-in-collecting-digitalart.html