A Museum for Virtual Hope
May 4, 2005
For me the time in life has come to get aboard or orbit in cyberspace forever. I have always dreamed of establishing a museum for internet art. I think the stepchild art medium needs one. Besides my own work is homeless when it comes to residency within museum collections.
"Pixelism," oil/canvas, 72"x48", 1989
After months of research, I finally singled out where this "field of dreams" might be. Not New York, not Seattle, nor L.A. As an individual I cannot afford such a grand dream in such exorbitant real estate markets. I live in remote Hawaii and desire to commute back and forth to a Pacific west coast museum location (ah, the price of living in paradise). At this juncture in the overheated U.S. housing market, even small Eugene city's downtown commercial property is beyond my means. That's if you can even find anything of quality for sale; and if so, snapped up instantly by in-the-know investors.
So the lucky municipal to have the "Web Art Museum" land in their backyard (actually "Main Street") is Creswell, a tiny town subsiding on grain farming, dairy farms, orchards and the timber industry. However, times are changing as its identity is endangered by Eugene's (Creswell at bottom of this map) urban sprawl creeping towards its borders and loses small farm acreage that is subdividing into residential plots. In a few decades I guess Creswell will be a "suburb" of big sister Eugene. This outcome is accelerated by an interstate highway that makes the 8 mile geographical separation only 5 minutes. Already many Eugene downtown workers commute for country style living by night.
Via the internet I have identified and targeted 4,000 sq. feet of downtown that used to be a church then school district offices and warehouse. I can stretch to acquire it if I can get the price I offer, below listing. I'll know in a week. Imagine, a former church- how fitting a place to pray for the success of a digital art museum!
I called a good artist friend about the written offer now too late to retrieve. Instead of a fellow artist's vote of confidence, he said "the museum will go the way of your virtual cemetery." Or, put another way, it's going to "give up the ghost." "It will fail and set you financially back - again." I did not realize how fragile my self-imposed confidence was. I mean, to get ahead, one has to take risks, right? But for the next hours my 'free floating anxiety" was more like relentless turbulence while locked in a cockpit caught up in a tail spin. Is such a place feasible from a financial sustenance perspective? Was I dooming myself to being wed to a "deferred maintenance" money hole? Would the days of operation be numbered?
The morning light were like new rays of hope for the yet unborn entity clutching to my inborn sense of aesthetic mission. Once again, it was blindly moving forward, accept the well wishes of other friends and relatives, reject admonition by doubting Thomas's, and full throttle towards "Let the show begin!" The emotional storm subsided further when, at a checkout counter for groceries, I spotted a quote on the cover of a tabloid. Move star Sandra Bullock declares "I do what makes me happy." At 59 life now does seem shorter. It does takes 5 to 10 years to build a successful business. I know going in I can't depend on the locals but have to use a web presence to entice people off the adjoining I-5 interstate highway that traverses from LA to Seattle. It could be another cultural attraction to stand in partnership with the Creswell Historical Society museum, strange bed fellow for a cyberart museum but together more critical mass to bring traffic into the local economy. Past and present united in cause, and the future in the case of digital fine art.
I stand ready to do what I can for my medium. I as artist, besides director, will have a "brick n' mortar" place to mold into a space of respectable exhibition space. I have learned a thing or two operating online the "Truly Virtual Web Art Museum" since 1997. Along with the web sites of other Webists and other art groups dedicated to contributing visual fine arts to the global cyberculture, it's time to download, print, and frame - "show and tell."
Interested artists can email web sites that facilitate the existence of original art on/for the internet @ review.