Death and the Object: The Gallery of Lost Art May Be the Best Art Experience You Ever Have on the Internet
by Jen Graves
on Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 1:35 PM
Aaaaaaaah! Dead artist!
I am floored. A few days ago, Anna Minard pointed me to the Tate's Gallery of Lost Art: "A virtual exhibition in which we reconstruct the stories behind the disappearance of major works of modern art and present the evidence of how it happened."
The site is not just a database, it's an actual experience: It's eerie. There's audio that sounds like haunted electronica. (You can, of course, turn it off.) The artworks—the whole thing is curated and written, beautifully, by Jennifer Mundy, and illustrated with multiple images, videos, and writings for each work—range from Paul Thek's lost self-effigy with his right hand's fingers cut off (see above) to the disappearance at sea of Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader to the de Kooning drawing that Robert Rauschenberg laboriously erased with the blessing of the elder de Kooning himself—to many, many, many more.
There's a blog on the site, replenished constantly with new loss stories. And there is a part of the site that describes all the various kinds of losses covered:
Above all, the site is about death and the object. What better place to consider that than through the place where we constantly, daily, visit in order to see mere digital shadows of art objects themselves: the Internet?