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New York Times
chief art critic
Michael Kimmelman's auctions

Still from the promotional videotape for Vanessa Beecroft's The Silent Service

New York's Chelsea art district, looking northeast

Art Will Survive, and Thrive, on the Net
by Charlie Finch

So Michael Kimmelman sniffs, in his year-end review for the New York Times, that high-end art will never sell on the Internet. End of story.

For those of us more than tired of Mr. Kimmelman's world-weary critical tone these last few years -- he's been the only bozo in town not to notice the quality-driven contemporary art boom -- it's no surprise that little Kim knows nothing about the cyber art world.

Contemporary art is a sedentary business, with gallery slaves, curators, directors and museum guards waiting on objects all day, while the artists make them.

Art on the Internet turns passive time active. Sitting arties can satisfy their new art curiosity with a click, see what the hot new artist looks like in Artnet Magazine's people page; surf for contemporary bargains for that young collector; heck, even buy out of an artist's studio!

This is why Artnet's gallery service operation is a financial bonanza, with many major gallery clients around the globe. Art world professionals have an insatiable hunger for what's visually alive. At the turn of the millennium we have a richly overpopulated smorgasbord of world artists of all colors, genders and persuasions, making great art in media unimagined in human history.

And we're blessed with an instant, dynamic, high-resolution delivery system to give it to us, the Internet with justifiably proud at the forefront.

The intense, packed, standing-room-only crowd at Pat Hearn's memorial service a few weeks ago, filled with art-world luminaries, demonstrated that we out-of-left-field dystopians of art are as tightly interlinked as any Vanessa Beecroft military formation. Thousands of art sites on the net filter like streams of colored rain into the Chelsea matrix, enriching the art worker's world, whether billionaire collector or a stretcher-maker looking for sales.

It can only get better.

CHARLIE FINCH is coauthor of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).