In 2011, internet search giant Google announced the Google Art Project, which allows anyone with an internet connection to access images of artworks housed in museums around the world. The initial roster of institutions was 17, with another 151 institutions added in 2012. Google recently added 20 more institutions. Museum collections in over 40 countries are now represented – available to be experienced in 20 different languages.
In terms of delivering visual images of artworks to home computers, tablets, and smartphones, today’s internet is a dream come true conduit for museums, galleries, artists, art collectors, art aficionados, and private dealers such as ourselves. The internet serves up a broad and seemingly endless supply of visual art, from masterworks such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night to the less sublime yet still compelling thrift store classic Velvet Elvis, all in real-time. There’s no need to travel, buy admission tickets, or even change out of your favorite pajama’s in order to virtually visit a lifetime supply of art via the internet. You don’t even have to whisper or leave your food and drinks outside. It doesn’t get any better than that. Or does it?
We’re in an age where our collective attention spans are shortening while simultaneously being conditioned to absorb ever-increasing amounts of information that gets delivered to us in smaller sized scraps of sounds and sights. It is a testament to the power and mysteries of the human brain that more of us don’t go cross-eyed just trying to keep up.