May 1, 2015 Repository 176: Top 11 e-Tools for Your Art Box | Bookmark Now Posted In: art practice, community, contemporary art, education, perspective

Courtesy Douglas Coupland.

Courtesy Douglas Coupland.

I’ve just completed an art history lesson for my local 3rd graders. The art history lesson will be accompanied by an exercise. Unlike the massive number of exercises out there, I am hoping a heavy history lesson will inspire them to look at art differently – specifically Monet and Impressionism. What I will deliver to these 8 and 9 year olds will likely give them an edge in understanding that no, in fact, it’s not just a pretty picture, but it was once considered a dirty, sloppy mess. Overkill for the third grade set? I always believe their minds are sponges, and if they can learn and understand what “oviparous” means in kindergarten, they can understand in 3rd grade that Impressionism was not a style specifically but a larger reaction to the status quo.

In doing my research, I noticed there was a TON of misinformation in so many sources. Well meaning artists giving “art” lessons, and well meaning blogs sharing their favorite Impressionist or Monet tale. There was even a British special starring a convicted forgerer who teaches people to paint in the style of masters including Monet. How’s that for an Internet rabbit hole?

So dear reader in a way to help you from avoiding that path, I thought I would share some useful tools I use when either visually researching for my own art practice, art historical fact checking and/or engaging forums about now art (e.g. contemporary). Also, I can’t tell you the number of conversations with artists (some fairly established) who have neither context nor history for the work they are doing or work that appeals to them – totally NOT OK. That’s like a dentist forgetting the molars are in the back of the mouth and not the front.


1. WikiArt
The democratic non plus ultra of high quality images of visual art. Sorted by alphabet, movement, century, nationality, etc this a fantastic resources if needing to check dates or explore an artist or two in more details and with pictures.

2. MetPublications
397 and counting of free publications, catalogs and newsletters all spanning back to the mid 19th century.

2. Guggenheim
65 free catalogs and counting.

3. Art21
Eloquent, inspiring artists talking about their work. Your bar starts here.

4. Open Culture
John Cleese exploring benefits of laughter yoga, or 110 of J.R.R. Tolkien’s drawings and paintings – an amazing resource of footage, interviews and information all free. Want to watch Noam Chomsky debate with Michel Foucault? It’s in there.

5. ArtBabble
Interviews, Archives, and educator resources compiled here from museums throughout the world. Includes kid friendly, short videos on major artists if you need to use in a classroom of children or attention deprived adults.

For the Practicals of your Practice

6. New York Foundation for the Arts Resource Database
Over 12,000 awards, services and publications listed here. If you are looking to do a residency or grant that is not by nomination only this is your best tool.

7. Creative Capital
Professional development workshop opportunities for artists. I’ve participated in a few of these for curiosity’s sake. I found one extremely helpful (applying for writing grants), and one not so helpful (marketing for artists – PS. artists should not market their work, that’s what galleries are for, and if you are unrepresented and your work is strong, your peers should be promoting your work some how – you can’t live your life on social media or you will never get the good work you need to do done). A more recent “sold out” webinar touts that it will teach artists how to approach, engage and communicate with galleries, museums, etc. I’m very curious about this one, as an ex-dealer I know the best way to deal with all of the above is by a referral – not you directly. That’s how I showed work, that’s how I got artists’ work in museums and generally how it’s done. Your network should support you, and don’t feel pressure to approach a gallery cold. It takes a village, and let’s hope our villages are 1 degree from Mary Boone m’kay?

NEWBIES – Fledgling Start Up Tools That Show Major Promise

8. Google Cultural Institute
A Google powered and curated pinterestesque board of major cultural institutes and cultural treasures around the world. There is an Art Project section that contains “galleries” created by some of the directors of major and smaller, unique museums around the world. You can collect images in “my galleries” and share with friends or keep as reference for your project based work. I’ve squirreled around a bit on there, and think there are some issues with sharing galleries they might be working on internally. Aside: seems another grand way for you to have to have a Google email and username. Nice cross section of rarely seen work though I must say though, worth opening an account.

9. Artsy – Art Education, Art Genome Project
While Artsy was developed to cater to new collectors with no specific dealer relationships, their business is building relationships with galleries world wide. And everything is for sale. That said, you can look at pricing, see what they are writing about – there is an editorial department – and see what galleries have art that is simpatico to your own. They occasionally do smart collaborations with foundations (prizes for emerging curators, etc), and have a beta “Art Genome” project where they are trying to catalog major and minor artworks (for sale) by attribute (e.g. “sunny, religious, landscape, humor, sculpture).

10. Point & Line
Developed as a reaction to the shallow “likes” and lack of candid dialog around contemporary art, Point + Line aims at creating a community with critical discourse around contemporary art. Think of this as a virtual critique. I’ve had my work up on the site and had dialog with others about their work. It’s a great tool, and I’ve apprciated the opportunity to share my work with thoughtful and generous viewers. As you know your art does not exist unless someone is looking at it and engaging with it. I have a great feeling about this new start up and can’t wait to see it evolve and add features for the community to become even more robust. The quality of the work is generally high, which is helpful given the maelstrom of “art” out there on the internet.

11. John Cage Database of Complete Work
Because I Love John Cage.

OH! And never forget the rule – garbage in, garbage out – what you read, see, eat and listen to will come out in your work. Careful where you hang out on the web;-)

Peace and have a beautiful weekend!!!! xoxoxo

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