Although many modern art museums have made strides in welcoming digital art exhibits, either in temporary or small permanent displays, few have made this genre the main event of the facility. Additionally, the digital nature of this art means that it can be exhibited anywhere, and dedicated facilities are not only unnecessary, but uncommon as digital exhibitions are displayed at various locations regularly. If you are looking specifically for digital art exhibitions, the following museums have dedicated the majority, if not all, their exhibition space to digital works.
Mori Building Digital Art Museum, Tokyo. Born from a Japanese art group called teamLab, the new facility has 10,000 square meters of digital art space to showcase the marriage of technology and art. These “techno-geeks” combine the experience of engineers, skill of computer programmers, and the creativity of artists and designers in immersive experiences found throughout the facility. One of the main forces behind the idea of a digital art museum is the philosophy to remove boundaries and the permanence (and physical restrictions) of traditional art forms. Digital art is truly an experience; viewers are invited to enter the work itself and can become a unique experience each time it is visited. Works are moveable, but the large scale (installation) works are expensive, so are created specifically for the site and not to be sold. The founders have designed this as an experience, with the profit to be made from ticket sales.
The Wrong Biennale. As the first large international celebration of digital creativity, “The Wrong” combines both online and offline collections of digital art. Although not a true museum, this art fair stands as a centralized location for exclusively digital art works. Held every two years and combining ideas from more than 120 curators in the most recent 2017-2018 season, online pavilions and assorted galleries, art spaces and other facilities worldwide host the 1,600+ works featured worldwide, all making up The Wrong. This alternative to the traditional art fairs brings digital art to enthusiasts worldwide, accessible from any computer. What makes this biennale so unique is its inclusiveness; nothing more than interesting and unique qualifies artists’ work for being included in this distinct art fair.
DiMoDA (Digital Museum of Digital Art). Since 2013, this digital-only museum is a veritable traveling art gallery of works. First conceived and exhibited at The Wrong Biennale, this has grown to become its own museum. Works have been shown at museums and festivals from New York, to San Francisco, Dubai to Bangkok. Since it is a digital museum, it can be visited from anywhere at any time, and as a museum, it is dedicated to more than just temporary exhibitions; the curating team is also committed to preserving digital artworks just like more traditional forms. Artists help in curating their own virtual exhibition spaces (“wings”), offering a truly individual display for each artist. This may very well be the start of a new era for digital art and museums—the future of digital art facilities is truly unknown, and DiMoDA may be the start of a new era, or an example of what NOT to do.
Victoria & Albert Museum’s Computer Art collection
An early contributor (and collector) of computer-generated art, this more traditional museum space has been gathering computer artworks since the 1960’s. Visitors to this forefather of the mix of technology and art already expect the unexpected, so the addition of immersive digital experiences seems natural here. The newly established Computer Arts Society organized the first digital exhibition in 1969, an event which inspired many young digital artists of the time and provided support to artists who defied the art establishment at the time.
ZKM Center for Art & Media, Karlsruhe, Germany. Dubbed the “Digital Bauhaus,” ZKM is dedicated to not only exhibiting digital art works, but to lead the world in digital art conservation in a challenging technological world. Additionally, ZKM is driven to encourage public education by committing resources for research and education, with its in house laboratory and a wealth of educational programming for visitors of all ages, schools and educators. ZKM’s devotion to digital arts offers aspiring artists a home to discover their artistic talents and develop their personal styles.
Digital Art Found Worldwide
Although digital art can be found anywhere online, these five organizations and museums are leaders in the digital art scene and continue to pave the way for newcomers to this exploding art form. From showcasing a wide variety of digital arts in unique ways to providing resources for aspiring digital artists, providing access to the art world to enthusiasts with only a laptop or cell phone for contact with the facility, these digital art museums have led the art world into a new era, and made huge strides to preserve the journey of art throughout the digital revolution.