Add-art replace ads on the web with art shows, Brooklyn Museum's curator of Asian art leads the way



Add-Art is a ground-breaking software service internet users can download  to replace ads on internet sites with art images from a curated database. The site is calling curators to contact them to assist with curating shows, each show will last 2 weeks and comprise 5-8 artists. 

Brooklyn Museum held its show of Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo by Joan Cummins, curator of Asian art in 2008. The software was produced by Brooklyn-based developers explaining the Museum’s early involvement. News of the software is now gaining traction and circulating the internet blogs and art news sites such as Fast Art.

One of the disadvantages of the software is that the images have to be cropped to fit standard ad templates but the Hiroshige show demonstrates that a compelling exhibition can be created despite these limits. There does not appear to be any hard data on the number of viewers at this stage but according to the site, there is potential for hundreds of thousands of users.

From the Add-art website:

Add-Art is a Firefox extension which replaces advertising images on web pages with art images from a curated database. It is a free and open source project, currently being developed at the Eyebeam Development site.Of the 100+ add-ons available for Firefox, “adblockers” are the most popular. The most current, Adblock Plus, has over 18 million downloads (as of May 2008 ) since Jan 2006 (currently over 250,000/week). It’s predecessor, Adblock, has been downloaded over 8 million times. These extensions work by preventing advertising images from downloading and replacing the ads with blank space. Their popularity has risen as pop-up ads, banner ads, and ads incorporating sound and animation have permeated the internet.

For many, replacing ads with blank space would be enough. Add-Art attempts to do something more interesting than just blocking ads – it turns your browser into an art gallery. Every time you visit the New York Times online or check the weather you’ll also see a spattering of images by a young contemporary artist.

The project will be supported by a small website providing information on the current artists and curator, along with a schedule of past and upcoming Add-Art shows. Each 2 weeks will include 5-8 artists selected by emerging and established curators. Images will have to be cropped to standard banner sizes or can be custom made for the project. Artists can target sites (such as every ad on and/or default to any page on the internet with ads. One artist will be shown per page. The curatorial duty will be passed among curators through recommendations, word of mouth, and solicitations to the Add-Art site.

With the overwhelming popularity of adblockers, if Add-Art were to attract 5% of existing users, the numbers would be in the hundreds of thousands.

Related links: Brooklyn Musuem Add-Art blog, Add-Art website,

Related categories: Museum shows, reports from New York, art spaces, curators, technology

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