Guggenheim Uses YouTube's Social Media Channel As Casting Call For Video Artists

Who would have thought that one's talent at producing YouTube videos could be considered art that's worthy enough of going on exhibition at the Guggenheim? Starting today, anyone with access to a Web cam, video camera or iPhone can submit YouTube video presentations into a video-art exhibition contest conducted by the Guggenheim foundation of museums in partnership with YouTube.

Titled, "YouTube Play," the objective of the Guggenheim is to surface innovative talent from unexpected sources.  According to a NY Times report, "it is open even to entrants who don't consider themselves artists, and actively encourages the participation of people with little or no experience in video."

As an international event, the Guggenheim curators will judge the work in consideration for placement at all of the foundation's museums in the States and Europe: the Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York, the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

What the Guggenheim is really looking for is something that has never been done before. So, if you're a visionary that can translate what you see into a new way of looking at the world, this is great way for your experimentation to potentially pay off. 200 leading videos will be selected for further attention by the panel of expert. From that grouping, the goal is to select between 20 and 25 finalists that would then be presented at the Guggenheim.

This longer video gives you a glimpse into some behind the scenes footage from the set of the YouTube Play intro, directed by John Kelly and produced by Nexus Productions.

The finalists will have their videos on simultaneous view at all the Guggenheim museums, and the 200 that made it through the first round will be available on the YouTube Play channel.

Nancy SpectorNancy Spector"There will be no first prizes or runner-ups among the 20," notes Nancy Spector deputy director and chief curator of the Guggenheim Foundation "because this is not about finding the best, but making a selection that represents the most captivating and surprising work."

While Ms. Spector and YouTube believe this endeavor is a way of breaking down traditionalRobert StorrRobert Storr art-world boundaries, Robert Storr, dean of Yale University's School of Art casts a critical eye on the program.

“It’s time to stop kidding ourselves,” Storr added. “The museum as revolving door for new talent is the enemy of art and of talent, not their friend — and the enemy of the public as well, since it refuses to actually serve that public but serves up art as if it was quick-to-spoil produce from a Fresh Direct warehouse.”

I personally don't agree with Storr's assessment and feel that the social media channel of YouTube is one of the most direct ways of surfacing talent that would have heretofore gone unnoticed, due to lack of education or financial resources. If the Guggenheim and YouTube can surface those undiscovered artists, they should be commended for this insight, not criticized.

According to the Guggenheim foundation, there is "no other medium pushing the boundaries of creativity like video." To have one's work considered, all you have to do is post it on YouTube and then submit is at Submissions close July 31, 2010.