Laurie Anderson says museums losing cachet to Web

Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:05pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Laurie Anderson sees a new online trend in the art world that has galleries and museums in a tailspin: the power of the Web to distribute art.

The performance artist and voice of America's cultural fringe says websites such as YouTube are now recognized as a means to put art in front of mass audiences, challenging traditional routes such as physical museums, art galleries and theaters.

"If you want to make a movie or work of art, you don't need to get past that just make it, put it up and there it is, in the world, just as if it were hanging on the wall at MoMA," she told Reuters, referencing New York City's Museum of Modern Art.

Anderson, whose new show "Delusion" opened in New York City last week, recently helped judge a competition mounted by the Guggenheim museum and YouTube for creative online videos.

Cultural institutions are "now kind of panicking," she said. "They are going to be in the situation of record companies."

But Anderson was unsure if free distribution offered online is a positive or negative for fine arts, music or film -- creative arenas she has mixed skillfully into her shows.

"Do we really need those people (institutions) to tell us what is good? I don't know," she said. "In some ways it's this wilder system of good things being sorted out by the market...but it's probably in the long run pretty hellish."

"DELUSION"   Continued...