The Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan may seem the ultimate arbiter of contemporary art success, with space on its rotunda walls reserved for the world’s buzziest artists. But this October the museum will showcase 25 videos made not by famous or even up-and-coming artists. Instead, the museum is preparing to welcome the unknowns–from YouTube.
The museum and the video site are pairing up on a project they call YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video. Participants can submit videos (one per person) created within the last two years, until the July 31 deadline.
As one might expect from a collaboration with a site that features both dancing birds and baby delivery how-tos, the competition has few entry restrictions. The hope, as described in a promotional video, is to tap the truly “new” and “to reach the widest possible audience, inviting each and every individual with access to the Internet to submit a video for consideration.”
From the countless entries that are sure to come, the museum will whittle the submissions down to 200 of the most promising and then an expert panel will narrow these down to the final 20 to 25 for display. Within that selection there will be no winners or runners-up, the museum says, because the aim is to present a sampling of the most exciting work.
Some might fear giving the high art throne to videos that routinely refashion other creative works, and Nancy Spector, deputy director and chief curator of the Guggenheim Foundation, recognizes such skepticism. She told The New York Times:
“If this is all the Guggenheim did, it would be a problem,” Ms. Spector said. “There are many layers to our programming. And we can’t say at this point that this won’t spawn ongoing relationships with people we discover through this process. One can only hope that it will.”
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