Monday, November 1, 2010

Youtube "plays" the Guggenheim... by Spencer Twelmeyer

In New York this past week, on October 22, the Guggenheim held the first biennial for creative video. The event, "Youtube Play", was streamed live to an online audience and the Guggenheim itself acted as canvas for the projected videos to be viewed. The jurors for the show included such notables as Douglas Gordon, Shirin Neshat, Laurie Anderson and Nancy Spector. The 25 finalists selected can be found here.

These videos are pretty great but I question the concept/motivation of the Guggenheim on this one. Was this a corporate promotional event branding Youtube as a legitimate stage for fine art? If so, I think that this event was more for the establishment than it was for the artists. I am not denying how well the Guggenheim executed the event. It is because the event was so polished that I take issue with its authenticity. To hear more of this argument, the Guggenheim as marketing minded, read Tyler Green's article discussing "pay-for-play."


  1. I wish I could have seen it! I have not had a chance to read Green's take, but I find this so intriguing. On the one hand, you don't want to be gimmick-y. On the other I love everything about the accessibility of this project. It could go a long way to broadening the museum's appeal.

    So funny that when we talked about this you said that the project "was like putting Banksy in a museum." In today's newsletter, CAA linked to two articles about street art. They are, one which featured street art in the museum and the other in a "traditionally" illegal space. The museum exhibit includes Banksy (and my fave Brazilian street artists, Os gêmios). I wonder if the rejection of the appropriation of street art by museums has more to do with preservation of it's authenticity or is the young rebels' lament at his rebellion going mainstream. Perhaps a bit of both?

    Check out the articles here:,0,563519.story

  2. Great post, Spencer. I think it is interesting to think about ethics in museums - Green's article esp. questions why the Guggenheim/HP/Youtube are not being completely open and transparent about their relationship and finances with this collaboration. How transparent does a museum's finances need to be to be ethical? Should they be completely open about the money they are possibly receiving from HP/Youtube for this project?