“Is Google Art Project second-rate?” (yes)

February 11th, 2011

I’m not losing much sleep  over Google’s Art Project virtual tours and neither is Sebastian Smee at the Boston GlobeIs Google Art Project second-rate?

Compare Synthescape‘s virtual tour of the Couldtard Gallery to any on Google’s overblown shows. Some people actually get things right.

2 Responses to ““Is Google Art Project second-rate?” (yes)”

  1. H Niyazi

    Why the constant need to compare and denigrate one over the other? They are both great, both free. Is that not enough for you Jonathan?

    This tendency to harp on about negative aspects on anything aimed to promote increased awareness and accessibility is disturbing.

    I for one am glad the rest of the world is excited about a new art resource, which can only get better if Google and their partner Museums listen to feedback and continue to work on it.

    One of the greatest problems with art history has been it aloofness, its elitism – something reflected in dwindling attendance and funding to university art departments. These type of comments hearken to that outdated mindset.

    My recommendation to you is to focus on your otherwise great content, and not get mired in something supremely beyond your control :)

    Kind Regards
    H Niyazi

  2. Jonathan Janson

    H,
    Thanks so much for you stimulating comment which merits a thoughtful reply. I enjoy our little debate.

    1. Why the constant need to compare and denigrate one over the other? They are both great, both free. Is that not enough for you Jonathan?

    Open criticism is not automatically denigration and the fact that something is free in no way implies it is exempt from criticism. It’s Google’s choice to accept or reject any criticism that comes their way, it’s not my obligation to avoid criticizing Goolge.

    2. This tendency to harp on about negative aspects on anything aimed to promote increased awareness and accessibility is disturbing.

    Just as Google is free to actively promote their Art Project as much as they like (and I am wondering how much money was spent there and how much will enter their coffers) so are we open criticize their project as much as we like. That Google claims their aim is to promote increased awareness and accessibility of art does NOT make it necessarily true. I sincerely feel that their museum tours, in my opinion accusable of shabby craftsmanship , will dilute interest anesthetizing the appetite for real art experience in the medium and long run. However, I am, although conditionally, in favor of their high resolution images.

    I’d say the more I “harp” of the subject, the more other will go and se the project and jjudge for themselves the Ar Project.

    3. I for one am glad the rest of the world is excited about a new art resource, which can only get better if Google and their partner Museums listen to feedback and continue to work on it.

    We are in agreement regarding the second part. My criticism is feedback and it is up to Google and the museums to evaluate its pertinence.

    4. One of the greatest problems with art history has been it aloofness, its elitism – something reflected in dwindling attendance and funding to university art departments. These type of comments hearken to that outdated mindset.

    Art history, except in rare case I believe, does not particularly carry the sin of aloofness. Certain aspect of art and art history are very complex and cannot be oversimplified less we loose site the depth of these works. Just like certain aspects of the physics can be appropriated by the layman and many are completely out of reach and need technical expertise. This is not elitism. If there ever was an art that is elitist, it is modern art. A few, perhaps no more than a few hundred players, factually determine the artistic validity and economic worth of cutting edge art leaving the great part of people seriously embarrassed as what to think. This is where the battle against elitism should be fought is in not.

    Fund withdrawals could depend on many circumstances, not because art history is plagued with elitism (the overwhelming majority of art historians and museum curators I personally know, are anything but elitist) , but because the cultural level of the population may have even decreased and “high-brow” art is increasingly seen with hostility. Moreover, there is politically correct attitude whereby what is not understood has been purposely (usually, deviously) concealed.

    People are not required to take to Classical art. They have a very free choice and a sufficiently wide number of art forms at their finger tips.

    Art can be experienced on many levels and each person should seek the level which enriches him most. I dare not think that everyone should be obliged love a rap song or a Vermeer. Frankly, I don’t understand why one cannot experience a plurality of art forms. I enjoy listening to Bach, Bob Dylan or even the latest catchy summertime tune while I am work. Each satisfies a different part of my artistic thirst but I DO distinguish their different intellectual and spiritual levels of sophistication and long-term satisfaction.

    5. My recommendation to you is to focus on your otherwise great content, and not get mired in something supremely beyond your control :)

    I doubt if Google art museum tours are “supremely” beyond anything or anyone. And, I am sure that Google can magnanimously take in stride my comments in the case they ever run across them. However, your passive acquiescent attitude, in part allows, those in control to misuse their powers.

    I remind you that my criticism take very little time away from my creative initiatives, usually while I sort through my email or drink a cup of nice hot tea like the one I am enjoying at the moment.

    Again, thanks so much for giving me some tasty food for thought.

    Jonathan

Leave a Reply