The Guggenheim is Making a Major Investment in Digital Art and Technology

The Guggenheim is committing to the burgeoning field of technology-based art.

The museum announced Wednesday the LG Guggenheim Art and Technology Initiative, which encompasses a new annual award program and the creation of a curatorial position dedicated to art that engages with virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, NFTS, and more.

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The LG Guggenheim Award, administered by the Guggenheim Foundation, will recognize one artist every year for “groundbreaking achievements in technology-based art.” The award will be juried by an international panel of  artists, curators, museum directors, and other art professionals, and carries an unrestricted prize of $100,000. The first recipient will be announced at next year’s Young Collectors’ Council Party.

The inaugural LG Electronics assistant curator will focus on “deepening” the Guggenheim’s ties to such artists, in the form of exhibitions, research, and education.

Naomi Beckwith, museum deputy director and chief curator, said in a statement that by “promoting scholarship and public engagement, the LG Guggenheim initiative will provide essential support to the visionary artists who inspire new understanding of how technology shapes and is shaped by society.”

The LG initiative is a significant step in the Guggenheim’s efforts to innovate its programming. In 2021, the museum debuted a series of installations titled “Re/Projections: Video, Film, and Performance for the Rotunda”, that filled its central spiral with experiments in familiar art forms and cutting-edge technology. Its final presentation was Wu Tsang’s unearthly “Anthem”, a looped film projected on a long curtain suspended from the ceiling.

The program may also help the Guggenheim catch up to New York institutions with long-term investments in emergent art: Christiane Paul has served at the Whitney as adjunct curator of digital art since 2000. She was responsible for the museum’s essential exhibition “Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, 1965–2018,” which tracked the history of technological art and attempted to imagine its future. The New Museum debuted an incubator for art, technology, and design in 2014.

Every institution, however, is still grappling with how nascent technologies like NFTs and the metaverse will shape the experiencing of art.

The LG Initiative, the Guggenheim said, “will provide essential support” to the “mission to collect, preserve, and interpret the art of our time.”


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