Online or IRL

It’s no secret that many people today are married to their technology (for better or worse) so it’s logical that much of the art community has transitioned online as well. Some museums and art organizations even advertise online art exhibitions. The experience is much different than attending an exhibition at a gallery in real life (IRL), but it has its own comparable benefits.

Museum, organizational and individual art exhibitions have been the only way to show off private and public collections of art for centuries. These exhibits take place in galleries or homes of the artist or collector. For a long time the only way to experience the art was to physically be in attendance when the exhibition was available. While this is still practiced, other avenues of art appreciation have developed as well.

I’ve previously mentioned how Millennials have helped move art to an online platform as technology has evolved. These new developments have allowed for the basis of online art exhibitions, where quality images of art pieces are presented online, available to anyone with internet access.

Personally, I think online exhibitions lack the overall effect an audience feels from physically going to a gallery or museum. Especially for fine art pieces that were painted, drawn or pasted together, the message and impact of certain pieces can be lost or misconstrued if only seen on a monitor, in my opinion.

I believe online galleries and exhibitions can decrease the value and experience of viewing art. On the internet our attention is divided between many tabs, websites and tasks. In an art gallery we are focused on the pieces that surround us and the specific feelings and messages we get from them. I think this allows for a more powerful impact and perception of art when we’re actually face-to-face with the original piece, rather than the scanned image.

I can still remember one of my first trips to the Art Institute of Chicago and being blown away by the magnitude of skill, design and methodology of the many compositions and pieces on display. Never have I been so affected by a composition I viewed online. If anything, to me, online galleries seem to serve as incentive to go see the work in person.

Understandably, online galleries can benefit audiences that can’t travel to view the works in an actual gallery and serve as a better base for work made to be viewed specifically online. They can also be more affordable, but I still think, overall, seeing the art in person is a better alternative. While online exhibitions certainly have their strengths, going to a real life gallery is still, in my opinion, the best way to view artwork.