Digital Art, Money and Independence

On Tuesday, May 13, 2014 from 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM NYPL Labs presents a panel on Digital Art, Money and Independence. Don’t miss this important conversation!

As the software and electronic art movement builds momentum, profit-making opportunities seem to be increasing. Interactive agencies are discovering tech art’s eye-catching potential as a promotional tool, more tech artists are finding gallery representation and museum placement than ever before, and digital art auctions and private sales are rising. But do the financial opportunities come at a steep price?

Addie Wagenknecht, Amy Whitaker, Barry Threw, Justin Bolognino and Kyle McDonald will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Isabel Walcott Draves, founder of LISA, to discuss the following questions: Does a profit motive kill the experimental, independent nature of today’s digital art? Are artists still creating their best work when a consumer brand is funding their output, or when they are considering marketability in a gallery or collections setting? Which is a better measure of independence to a digital artist, unbridled creativity or financial stability?

How can artists think about money and still stay true to their creative work? Given the collaborative, open-source and viral nature of much of the best software art, are eventual profits equitably distributed or are some people profiting at the expense of others? When artists make money from their work is it “selling out”? Once they start hiring out their skills, are they even still artists? And if not by chasing the dollar (or the Euro, or the yuan), how else can talented tech artists make a living?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 from 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
South Court Auditorium
Steven A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library
455 5th Avenue (bet. 40th and 42nd)
New York, NY 10018


Panelist info after the jump


Addie Wagenknecht – Contemporary artist represented by bitforms gallery, co-founder of NORTD development labs, chair of the Open Hardware Summit at MIT

Amy Whitaker – Lecturer on art and business, author, and instructor, with experience working at the Guggenheim, MoMA, the Tate, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Yale, Williams, and RISD.

Barry Threw – Artist working in immersive and interactive experience, director of software at Obscura Digital (interactive installations on a massive scale), electronic music expert, manager at Recombinant Media Labs

Justin Bolognino – Founder and creative director of the Meta Agency (a talent agency for digital artists) and brand strategist, incorporating art into large multimedia events

Kyle McDonald – Open-source artist, community manager for openFrameworks, subverter of networked communications and personal identity


Isabel Walcott Draves – Founder of LISA (a community of tech artists and popular event series); Internet strategy consultant and entrepreneur; started SmartGirl, the first social media website for teen girls, in 1996.


Ben Vershow – Founder and manager of NYPL Labs (an experimental design and technology studio working to reimagine the Library for the Internet Age); formerly the Editorial Director of the Institute for the Future of the Book, a small Brooklyn-based think tank exploring the future of reading, writing and publishing.

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