Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

Exhibition websites three ways: Bradford, Miro, LACMA

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We’re 20 years into the mainstreaming of the world wide web and there’s still no museum-wide consensus on what an exhibition website should look like.

That’s pretty cool. It leaves room for institutions such as the Wexner Center for the Arts to go whole-hog on a website such as Pinocchio on Fire, the museum’s website for its ongoing Mark Bradford survey.

The site, which will ‘travel’ with the show for the next two years, was short-listed for a Cyber-Lion at the Cannes International Advertising Festival. It includes almost a dozen Bradfords in varying levels of detail, video clips of the artist talking about his work and lots of fun stuff on ‘how’d he do that?’ I’m hardly an expert on websites or on ways to engage younger audiences, but it seems to me like a really good example of a site that’s likely to be equally interesting to old fogies like me and, say, high school kids. (It was designed by Columbus’ own Resource Interactive.)

Except for its reliance on Flash, the Wexner’s Bradford site couldn’t be more different from the website MoMA put together for its 2008 Joan Miro show. That’s another of my favorite sites, mostly because it presents the show in a way closely related to the way it was installed in the galleries, complete with a big JPEG of every work on view.

Still, neither website includes catalogue essays, which is a disappointment. That’s why the third ‘best practice’ for museum exhibition sites is what LACMA does with its fantastic ‘Reading Room,’ which presents complete exhibition catalogues online. (OK, no, they’re not exactly exhibition websites, but they present what the others lack…) Any museum examining what to do with its exhibition websites would be wise to study these three.

Related: Mark Bradford at the Wexner: Examining the utility of the ‘early survey’ exhibition; Bradford, Rauschenberg and Crow.

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