If your exposure to art is limited to the occasional trip to Chelsea’s galleries, the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Museum of Modern Art, it may be because you simply don’t have the time to really get into it. But say you’re still curious about the latest art-world goings-on. What to do? Well, like pretty much everything these days, that information is as close to you as the nearest keyboard or smartphone. There are a lot of art websites out there devoted to covering the latest news from nearly ever angle you can think of, and they are, for the most part, easy to digest for layman and insider alike. So if you want to find out more about contemporary art (and the people who make, buy and sell it) we recommend the following art websites.
Top art websites, ranked
Launched in 1995, Artnet was one of the first art websites with no previous link to an existing print publication. Its prime purpose is online art auctions, and indeed, it pioneered the form. Likewise, its news vertical quickly established itself as a go-to source for news, reviews, profiles, art-world gossip and the occasional light-hearted feature like a recent article about playing Pokemon Go at MoMA. For its first 16 years, Artnet News was helmed by artist and critic Walter Robinson. When he left in 2012, Artnet News shut down briefly for retooling, returning in its current form as a more news-driven site.
Originally found in 1902, Artnews is the oldest art magazine in the world with a storied history that includes such former contributors as MoMA founder Alfred Barr, Aldous Huxley, Jean-Paul Sartre and William Carlos Williams. Though it still published in printed form quarterly, Artnews has shifted much its content online, continuing its legacy as a trusted source of art criticism and news in the digital age.
This feisty blog was started by Canadian Art critic Paddy Johnson, but has since added a small staff of editors devoted to delivering “blunt” criticism and news that has earned AFC (as it’s also known) a reputation for refusing to pull punches while still retaining the art world’s ear—no mean feat in an industry noted for thin-skinned types. Besides its own content, AFC links to stories from around the web.
Given the thickness of a typical print issue, and the number of ads in it, Artforum could be mistaken for Vogue, and indeed this publication—which originally started on the West Coast in the early 1960s—wields the same clout in the art world as Anna Wintour’s baby does in fashion. It’s website is no exception, especially it’s Scene and Herd section, which concentrates on coverage of major art-world personalities.
The Art Newspaper
Talk all you want about styles, trends, ideas and art-historical significance, when it comes down to it, the business of the art world is business—and no one covers it as comprehensively as The Art Newspaper does. Founded in 1990, The Art Newspaper is the Wall Street Journal of the art world, publishing print versions in English Chinese, French, Greek, Italian and Russian (along with special daily editions for visitors to the major art fairs like Basel and Frieze). Its website is just as thorough, with reviews, profiles and editorials, as well as stories focused international law, tax policy and other political and economic developments relevant to art.
A relative newcomer, Art Report bills itself as “the art source for the next generation,” with a style pitched to Millennials. Profiles, trend pieces and reader-friendly features (“Art Gallery Spaces You Can Rent On Airbnb Around The Globe”; “How To Approach Abstract And Conceptual Art For Beginners”) are all part of a mix that’s as lively as it is informative.
Hyperallergic’s motto is “sensitive to art and its discontents” and describes itself as “a forum for playful, serious and radical perspectives on art and culture in the world today.” Launched by art critic Hrag Vartanian and publisher Veken Gueyikian, Hyperallergic takes a wry, sometimes dyspeptic approach, to its coverage, with acerbic reviews and stories that go well beyond the art world to focus on the larger intersection of culture and politics.
Canadian publishers Louise Blouin owns several important art titles, including Art+Auction, Gallery Guide and Modern Painters. While the website bearing her name serves up the same menu of art-related news, reviews and profiles as other online outlets, it also features sections on lifestyle and travel.
The Architect’s Newspaper
Founded in 2003 by editor-in-chief Bill Menking and publisher Diana Darling, The Architect’s Newspaper, as its name implies, focuses of architecture, and is an authoritative voice in the field. It also covers design, urban planning as well as fine art with clear, accessible writing.
Two Coats of Paint
Two Coats of Paint is run by blogger Sharon Butler, a Brooklyn painter who devotes her widely read site to painting, with reviews and profiles of other practitioners of the medium. Given the resurgence of painting that’s currently underway, Butler’s blog is more relevant than ever.