Internet Art: Online Clash of Culture and Commerce

The development of Internet art has been short and rapid and dates from the introduction of web browsers in the mid-1990s. Artists realized the potential of a medium and system of delivery that side-stepped the mainstream art institutions and allowed them to make direct contact with an audience. Their interventions have ranged from works that deconstruct the browser itself, to works that shade into political activism. Internet art has been international, with distinct contributions emerging from the US, the Far East, Europe, the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, and the Third World. As the sophistication, range, and numbers of works made for the Internet has burgeoned, major art institutions have moved in, attempting to host and curate them, to ambivalent responses from the artists themselves. Internet art raises fundamental questions about the definition and value (both aesthetics and monetary) of the art object, art's role, and its relationship to its public, and the future of the current art establishment.