BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

The Digital Museum

On the importance of the museum’s web presence

The Digital Museum
The Digital Museum

The museum is one of the most established yet simultaneously questioned institution today. Within debates that circle around its educational function, its relationship to curators or independent collectors, the issue one repeatedly comes back to is the question of how museums can adapt to modern claims.

Interestingly and maybe even surprisingly, this question can partially be answered by looking at how museums present themselves in the oh-so-modern world wide web.

In a recently published New York Times online article, Ken Johnson brings this to attention and makes the point that “websites are actually driving forces in how museums are adapting to changing times.”

As museums come to realize that the Internet does not stop in front of their own doors, directors and curators have been trying to redefine the way they interact with their audience today. The result of their endeavors comes to the fore when looking at the way museums present themselves online. Many websites for instance have become more “useful”, especially when it comes to viewing entire collections online. Additionally, some institutions, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also feature insightful essays that provide an intellectual framework. Furthermore, video and audio material, which in some way calls to mind bonus material on DVDs, serve educational purposes and give people, who are unable to travel to world famous museums themselves, the chance to virtually experience art in great detail. Another noticeable development is the increasing interconnectivity between museums, which cross-link their websites and create a larger network of exchange and accessibility.

Certainly, some institutions have stronger web presences than others. London’s Tate for instance, puts a special emphasis on its digital strategy, which aims at promoting the collection to a global audience.

The obvious question that comes to mind is how this increasing digitalization is changing the way we actually see and most of all value art. This issue was already addressed in discussions triggered by the introduction of Google Art Project in 2011, offering virtual tours of renowned museums worldwide. Today, museums are following this trend of making their art entirely accessible online. So, if we can access everything form home and gather information ourselves, do we then still need the actual experience of going to a museum and the curator’s work?

Although the educational mission of museums has truly reached another level through digitalization, especially in terms of outreach, Ken Johnson makes an important point by stating that “the idea of coming to the work of art naked, disarmed and open to whatever it expresses in its actual, nonvirtual being” is at danger...

Amended Image by Lilithis via Flickr; CC Licence Info

More Information on The New York Times

Insiders (68)


Exhibition venue with the theme ‚Living with Art‘

Wilhelmina Jewell Strong - Sparks

Founder of BiTHOUSE Projects - BAAR Art Journey


Collector behind the ARNDT Collection

Sandra Guimarães

Director of Museum of Contemporary Art Helga de Alvear

Grazyna Kulczyk

Founder of Muzeum Susch


Interview with Georgie Pope and Eleonora Sutter, Co-founders

Kamiar Maleki

Director at VOLTA

Gallery Weekend Berlin 2022

Tokini Peterside

Founder and Director, ART X Lagos


Founding Director of the Athens Biennale

Boris Ondreička

Artistic Director of viennacontemporary

Maribel Lopez

Director of ARCO

David Gryn

Founder and Director of Daata

Fondation Beyeler Audiovisual Broadcast

Fondation Beyeler and Nordstern Basel present Dixon x Transmoderna

Gary Yeh

Founder of ArtDrunk and Young Collector

WATCH: The Best of the BMW Art Guide

Where will you travel next to explore art?

Maike Cruse

2020 Gallery Weekend Berlin

Touria El Glaoui

Founding Director of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Johann König

Messe in St. Agnes

PArt - Producers Art Platform

A crisis initiative to help artists directly affected by the pandemic

Barbara Moore

CEO of Biennale of Sydney

Unique Collector’s Item

by Independent Collectors

Alix Dana

Fair Director at Independent

When Collectors are Able to Commission

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Juliet Kothe and Julia Rust

Initiators of Collection Night, Berlin

Marie-Anne McQuay

Curator of Wales in Venice, 58th Venice Biennale 2019

Dorothy and Herb Vogel

Two extraordinary art collectors

Heather Hubbs

Director at NADA

Every Art Collection Needs Space

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Collecting Art with François Pinault

Rudolf Stingel at Palazzo Grassi

A Common Ground

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Caroline Vos

Director at Amsterdam Art Weekend

Hidden Collections

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Nicole Berry

Executive Director of The Armory Show

Daniel Hug

Fair Director at Art Cologne

The Role of the Art Fair

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Peter Bläuer

Director at LISTE

A Brush Against Nature

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Ilaria Bonacossa

Director of Artissima

Excessiveness, the Latent Danger of Collecting Art

by Independent Collectors

Jo Stella-Sawicka

Artistic Director at Frieze

Florence Bourgeois

Director at Paris Photo

Where Artists Can Work More Playfully

by Christiane Meixner

Specifically Commissioned

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Manuela Mozo

Executive Director of UNTITLED, ART Miami and San Francisco

Important Museums and Private Collections

by Christiane Meixner

Susanna Corchia

Director of the Barcelona Gallery Weekend

Emilia van Lynden

Artistic Director at Unseen, Amsterdam

Carlos Urroz

Director at ARCOmadrid

Shoe Smudges Streaked Across the White Walls

by Christiane Meixner

Amanda Coulson

Director at VOLTA Basel

Douwe Cramer

Director at Singapore Contemporary

Art and Architecture – Attractive Allies

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Jo Baring

Curator of Sculpture Series, Masterpiece London

Bidders and Buyers

by Christiane Meixner

Anne Vierstraete

Managing Director at Art Brussels

Nanna Hjortenberg

Director at CHART

The Crucial Role of the New

by Independent Collectors

Makers and Believers

On Art History’s Most Famous Patrons

The Past is Back

And collectors are buying it up

Are Artists the Better Curators?

On the diminishing boundary between professions in the art world

The Man in the Middle

On the curator’s private and public engagements

A Private Matter?

On the importance of physical space for the value of art

Off the Wall

How museums contribute to the worth of artworks

Where to Go Next?

The fragmentation of Manhattan’s gallery scene

To Buy or Not to Buy

Collectors on their experiences of letting an artwork slip away

How to Pass On a Passion

On long-term challenges for new private museums