Today, Looted by American Artist debuts on artport, the Whitney's portal to Internet art and online gallery space for commissions of net art.
Looted temporarily replaces all of the images on whitney.org with textures of plywood while the webpage backgrounds change to black and the text on them fades. The artwork symbolically and literally boards up the Museum and its website in an act of both redaction and refusal.
Through this project, American Artist examines the distinction and tension between protest and looting, extending this physicality to the online space, which has been the primary site for viewing art and cultural programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. As an intervention into a museum website, Looted underscores that no space can remain unaffected by the examination of and demands for racial justice. The work also alludes to larger discussions of restitution and critiques of those cultural institutions who hold looted objects.
Looted is a Sunrise/Sunset project—a series of Internet art projects commissioned by the Whitney specifically for whitney.org to mark sunset and sunrise in New York City every day. Unfolding over a time frame of 10 to 30 seconds, each project disrupts, replaces, or engages with the Museum website as an information environment. Visitors anywhere on whitney.org during sunset or sunrise will experience Looted. More information on the project is available at whitney.org/exhibitions/american-artist.
The Sunrise/Sunset series is organized by Christiane Paul, adjunct curator of digital art at the Whitney Museum.