January 26, 2005 News & Features » Cover Story

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Nathan Altice, 25 

Online curator

Online art conceptually shares a lot with Dada and other 20th-century art movements that are "playful and subversive," he says.

One of the most playful pieces in the exhibition is Virginia Commonwealth University student Joel Holmberg's "A Brief History of My Friends and Their Friends and Their Friends' Friends." The piece lets viewers look at images of printouts of Friendster profiles — an online club that lets people post pictures and facts about themselves and then links to their friends' profiles.

Altice uses conceptual artist Sol Lewitt as an example of a 20th-century artist whose principles are reflected in contemporary Internet art. Lewitt's huge wall drawings in the 1960s were based on a set of instructions that he created and assistants implemented. "It's like having an art recipe to make an art cake," Altice says.

Computer code is similar too, he says — a set of instructions that might look a little different depending on how a particular combination of the Web browser, operating system and monitor settings interpret the code. VCU professor Peter Baldes' piece, "Hypertemps," takes advantage of these inconsistencies and invites the viewer to see how the technological disruptions change the way his series of animations looks in different contexts.

What's next: The exhibition will have a permanent home on the University of Richmond Web page and will be "installed" all over campus as the first thing that pops up on the public computers. Altice will serve as host for a panel discussion March 15 with artists Alexander Stewart and Peter Baldes; Lisa Mark, curator at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and Rachel Green, editor of Internet Art. — Amy Biegelsen



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