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Google creates an online exhibit for contemporary art

Don't call it modern art.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
October 6, 2017
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Some artists actually like it when you say "my four-year-old could do that," because it means you've a) questioned whether a work is art, and b) wondered why or why not. I just learned that from Google Arts & Culture's brand new Contemporary Art digital collection, packed full of information on the notoriously opaque subject. It includes videos, explanations from experts at 180 institutions and, best of all, gigapixel-resolution images that let you experience the pieces as if you were at the MOMA.

Google introduces you to artists like Chris Ofili, known for working with elephant dung and creating works around black culture, Louise Bourgeois and her iconic giant spider sculptures and Douglas Coupland, the Canadian artist who coined the term "McJob" and calls failure "a pure state of being."

The collection also explains the difference between modern and contemporary art, taps experts and artists to answer the "big questions," ie, the most-searched ones on Google, like "what is the meaning of contemporary art." It also lets you explore artworks and exhibitions, galleries, mediums and methods and issues like racism, poverty and global warming that shape art. There's even a section called "Explaining Contemporary Art with Emojis," and, near and dear to Engadget's heart, "The Future of Art."

In the collection, curator and luddite Ben Vickers ironically called Google itself "the most comprehensive gesamtkunstwerk ('total work of art')," as it's "attributable to no single author, contingent on a collective will and capable of altering our perception of reality on a daily basis," which seems to apply doubly here. You can check it here and, by the way, don't forget to catch the Engadget Experience, our immersive art and tech event happening at the Ace Hotel Theatre in downtown LA on November 14th.

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