Thursday, June 4, 2009

Smashing art

Cool stuff on your home computer

Published in the Weekly Volcano, June 4, 2009

You’ve already seen all the latest shows at Tacoma Art Museum and Museum of Glass, at Robert Daniel, Fulcrum, Grand Impromptu and all the others — although the fetish art and Tacoma Erotic Art Show are yet to come. So where do you look to satisfy your craving for visual stimulus in the form of exciting and original art?

On the Web, naturally. And you thought the only stimulation on the World Wide Web was porn and Facebook. No, there’s art on the Web; exciting art the likes of which you’ll seldom find in area galleries. You just have to know where to look for it. Sometimes you can find art in the most unexpected places.

Like Smashing magazine. Smashing is an online magazine for Web designers. It’s all about layout and design and logos and jQuery-based content sliders and modal windows — and I’m a Web designer in my “day job” yet I have absolutely no idea what those last two are. But aside from all that, Smashing has some amazing art. On their home page look to the links in the right-side column under the heading “Popular Posts” and you’ll find things such as 50 Graffiti Artworks, 50 Brilliant Posters, 50 Movie Posters, Beautiful Desktop Wallpapers and Beautiful Underwater Photos. Here you’ll find some of the most stunning graphic art, photography and fine art to be found anywhere.

Which brings up another point I’d like to make. I think that much of the best painting being done today is done on the walls of buildings. If today’s top graffiti artists are not as avant-garde as Picasso and Braque were in 1907, they are at least as innovative and fearless as Warhol and Lichtenstein were in 1962.

For more (debatably) great art on the Web you can do the obvious and Google “best art websites.” If you do, the first thing to come up is a site called, naturally, “best art websites.” But guess what. If the art on this site is even close to being good art, then I’m the queen of England. A very democratic site, they rate art sites by popular vote, and the number one vote-getter is a site called deviantART. But the stuff on this site is neither deviant nor art.

For the best of the best — if you have a lot of time on your hands and want to do a lot of leisurely browsing, visit the Webby. This is a site that honors the very best Web sites in the world in a number of categories as chosen by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, whose membership includes such luminaries as David Bowie, Arianna Huffington and Harvey Weinstein. Their choice this year for best art site went to British artist Keith Tyson. Spend some time navigating his site at

But what, you ask, is this fetish and erotic art show in Tacoma, meaning to hell with all this Web stuff; I want to see real art in the flesh. OK, take yourself down to Robert Daniel Gallery Friday or Saturday, June 12-13 starting at 9 p.m. for an erotic art exhibition and entertainment featuring the documentary film Why Do We Hide? plus performances by The Little Red Studio and members of Seattle’s Center for Sex Positive Culture. I can’t actually recommend this because I haven’t yet seen any of it, but I can vouch for the overall excellent quality of the visual art represented at Robert Daniel Gallery.

[Robert Daniel Gallery, Tacoma Erotic Art Show, 9 p.m., June 12-13, $10, 2501 S. Fawcett Ave., Tacoma]

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