Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Brooklyn Museum's "Click" results are in
"Lance & Tomoko hanging the "Click" show," Brooklyn Museum
Results are now posted for Brooklyn Museum's "Click: A Crowd-Curated Exhibition." The show got underway this spring with an open-call for artists to electronically submit one photo on the theme: "The changing face of Brooklyn" & continued with a public evaluation process in which online visitors could evaluate the photos (I wrote about the process here).
Now the museum has put up a website analyzing the results., The photos are displayed tag-cloud style -- relative size of images indicates their popularity with evaluators -- & a number of tools are provided to search in interesting ways & select & compare photos by various criteria. All this to test the question: "...is a diverse crowd just as 'wise' at evaluating art as the trained experts?"
In the age of Flickr it's a trendy question. Because it falls across basic fault lines of class, education & politics, it's also one guaranteed to provoke riproaring (& attention-getting) arguments. But I'll give "Click" its due for making a fair run at it. The director of the project, Shelley Bernstein, seems to have made a special effort to head off dogfights (she led a recent blog entry with, "Click is not a contest...it is a study in crowds.") So maybe the way to look at is: the results are not just art -- they're also data. And sociology. And politics. And an interesting glimpse at the zeitgeist as a famous (mythical) borough morphs into... something else.
I do, however, have to respectfully disagree about the contest. You can get a sense of the competitiveness out there by taking a look at the anonymous comments on the submitted images . The ones I sampled were frequently angry , sometimes really nasty, & shockingly negative. Wow, you thought professional critics were mean?
Anyway, I'm not weighing in right now on the question "Click" poses. For one thing (full disclosure), I submitted an image & it didn't make the cut in any of the categories of the (non) contest. For another, I'm looking forward to seeing what the "Click" blog's experts have to say.
Can an anonymous crowd judge art in any meaningful way? Can they curate a diverse body of work? Let's see.