Recently, many of us have had to reconsider visits to museums, which can be pricey. Museum attendance throughout the United States has ebbed, probably because the economy forestalls discretionary spending. I have a temporary solution for those of us who find the monetary burden too heavy but would rather not sacrifice a healthy interaction with the art world. First, I exhibit several Web sites, which could accompany this one, where art enthusiasts can find information on art shows (usually free) going on in Athens. I’ve also posted a handful of ways to interact with the art world through the Internet. Although this solution offers a highly constricted interaction with artistic mediums, it can help if your pocketbook won’t allow art purchasing and museum visiting. The Internet, of course, is not an adequate surrogate for firsthand interaction with art, but it can be an edifying assistant to the physical experience of visiting a museum and a convenient way to stay informed. My primary objective in visiting art Web sites is to gain a more thorough understanding of the pieces I’ve interacted or hope to interact with; perhaps these sites will reveal fruitful results for your curious art mind.
First, let’s explore the free, tangible options available to us in Athens:
One of my favorite art venues in Athens has to be the friendly White Tiger Gourmet in the Boulevard area. Not only do you have the option to munch on delicious typically southern dishes, but, without paying an entrance fee, you can admire the eclectic array of typically southern art. Recently, “Morning Gravy,” a show featuring works by the Lines brothers, has garnered attention for its whimsical, handsome photography. Look for more shows by local artists in this venue.
For those stationed in Athens and its surrounding areas looking for great, mostly free exhibitions, the Web sites of Flagpole, the alternative newsweekly in Athens; Athens Music and Arts, a tumblr blog written by Athens local Julie Phillips that gives an overview of local cultural events; and the Railroad Arts District blog, which also covers Athens’ cultural events, offer insightful details on upcoming shows.
The following Web sites serve a slightly more didactic purpose. The Met podcast and the WYNC radio station casts are both auditory options available to you on the Internet. The BBC also provides sound bites and podcasts based around culture and the arts. The Flavorpill Web site, which offers cultural goings-on, links its readers to the Met podcast, which gives a thorough look at American paintings, among other analyses. For a more "judicial" look at ethical and legal questions surrounding art, the Art Law Blog does just fine in raising these questions. Finally, I’d like to mention the crude but entertaining and comprehensive c-monster culture blog and the reasonably well organized art:21 blog. The former gives international updates on happenings in the art world with an intuitive navigational format. The latter falls into the informational update category, abandoning the sensational stories seen in c-monster (e.g., curator gets fired for spending too much time looking at racy Modigliani paintings; sentenced to three years in prison) for a more level-headed rundown of contemporary art.
In the vein of art news blogs, ArtDaily.com offers the most exhilarating images and viewer-interactive options but not necessarily in-depth original analysis of art. Art in America magazine publishes articles similar to those found at Art Daily but perhaps in a less flashy way. However, for those who are looking for videos, large images and thrilling stories that you can tell your grandma (unlike those on c-monster), it wins the art site race by far—containing, for example, a video deconstruction of Picasso’s “Guernica.” The Daily Beast also satisfies some of those same impulsive and entertaining urges. Although these Web sites feature sensational art stories, the avid art critic can also find something intriguing among well-thought-out, well-written pieces on contemporary art and questions concerning ethical issues in the art world. For another interactive Web experience check out the BBC Leonardo studio. Art:21, the aforementioned PBS television show covering contemporary art, posts its shows online.
And, of course, when GMOA’s renovations are complete and we reopen to the public in January 2011, you can indulge in our own fascinating collection... for free! For more information or suggestions regarding blogs and Web sites featuring art coverage, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.