Everybody knows that one of the clearest definitions of what is art, and what is not-art, is that art is what you find in a gallery (or other official art space), whereas not-art is, well, everything else.
In modern art galleries you can often hear people say, 'I could have made that'. The standard response to this is to point out that they didn't make that, and more to the point, didn't think of making it, either.
The first person responds to that point by observing that even if they had made it, nobody would revere it as art anyway. If I made that thing, would we soon see it in the Museum of Modern Art in New York? We would not.
The Web changes the rules in many areas of life, of course. So what about art? I don't have the resources to open a gallery to display my, er, installations in central London... but what about on the Web?
Whilst every web designer no doubt feels that their latest website is a work of art, what about web-based art, I wondered -- art designed purely for the Web? This is a pretty obvious idea that people are bound to have done.
It's hard to find though. I searched around for online galleries and almost all of them were 'real-world' artists showing pictures of their art works on the Web. The images were not the art works themselves, but photographs of them. (The most enjoyable of these sites is one where the art loses little in its translation to the computer screen -- because it hasn't got much to lose -- at BadArt.com).
Some of the established (real world) art galleries has managed to develop a few electronic works on their websites (see links below), and I'm sure there are others, but clearly there is scope for new web-art galleries. The Museum of Web Art is a striking, but seemingly rare, entry in this category.
[Interactive update: A helpful reader e-mailed me with the web addresses of two key galleries of web-based art, which appear below].
Given the general paucity of web art, I thought I'd better make my own contribution, however useless, so here it is -- my first experiment with Macromedia's Flash (so you may need the plug-in if you haven't got a newish browser).