The Rise of Digital Art Museums

Digital art is defined as an artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process. Recently, there has been a rise in modern art museums adapting to showcasing digital art. 

Already a fixture in the Asian art scene, digital art spaces are gaining traction globally. Asian buyers and collectors are ahead of the market, and they are very open and receptive to new art mediums.

TeamLab is a Tokyo art museum that was recognised as the world’s first digital art museum. In 2001, they debuted their landmark digital art technology, creating interactive rooms that grew into an eponymous museum that opened in 2018.

No paintings, no sculptures, just artworks displayed using projection-mapping technology.

The first year of its opening saw 2.3 million visitors come through the museum, the largest attendance for a single art institution in the world.

Sydney, Australia embraced a multi-sensory digital art exhibition into traditional museums through Van Gogh Alive.

The show will feature dynamic projections of van Gogh’s most beloved paintings that will shift in sync to a soundtrack while specially formulated aromas are released to fully immerse visitors in a powerful multi-sensory experience. The scale of the show is truly mind-boggling, with the projections covering a space equivalent to more than 30 IMAX cinema screens.

Although the exhibition was temporary, it became one of the most visited art exhibitions, which solidifies digital art connecting new visitors into the art scene to keep these traditional spaces alive.

A combination of traditional art museums closing due to COVID-19 and the popularity of NFT artworks has seen a rise in digital art museums, and these increasing popular digital art shows are here to stay. However, will this impact the traditional art space and tangible artworks be a thing of the past?

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Recently, Superchief Gallery opened a New York space that is being declared the world’s first physical NFT gallery and is currently showing 300 artists’ works on high-resolution screens.

Although the argument stands; there is a poetry to standing next to a work of art, the same canvas that a great artist touched, to study the brushwork and finer detail. Similar to NFT’s (non-fungible tokens) and listening to a song, people will continue to pay to see the real thing. 

Superchief’s gallery director Edward Zipco stated, “one aspect of the NFT market that was severely lacking was a physical presence. It should already be clear that when you look at art history, after Warhol, Polke, Richter, the next to come is not Beeple. And NFTs will not replace physical art any more than NFTs from a Nike sneaker will replace real sneakers.”

Digital art and their physical representation is complex to grasp, and many museums are still hesitant about its conservation and how it will challenge traditional art experts opinions on how art and objects are valued.

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