INTERVIEW TOM ELSNER – ARTRABBIT

Interviews - -

Tom Elsner is the founder of contemporary art blog ArtRabbit. Created in 2006, ArtRabbit offers an interesting platform for contemporary art lovers. Indeed all exhibitions and art venues around the world are linked on this website. Artsper met with Tom Elsner to discuss ArtRabbit and inspirations!

{ARTSPER} Could you tell us a little about yourself? 

{TOM ELSNER} I’ve lived in London for almost 20 years. I moved here from Germany to study Graphic Design. I wanted to study something more applied after my Art History and Psychology degree. After college I set up a design company specializing in digital projects for NGOs. The second company I set up (Bureau for Visual Affairs), focused specifically on digital design projects for the cultural sector. While at Bureau I worked on projects such as the Tate, the National Gallery and Damien Hirst’s website.

 

{A} How did you come up with the idea of ArtRabbit?

{T} In late 2008, we made a prototype for ArtRabbit. ArtRabbit was born out of the frustration that art listings at the time were only showing the big shows and although there was so much going on in the London art scene, there was no central place to find out about it. So we created an open submission platform, allowing anyone to post information about shows. We used mapping and an almost blasphemous – popularity index to make the listings more accessible. ArtRabbit took off pretty quickly, but it was, until last year, always run as a side project to the other digital art projects I was involved in. In the summer of last year I started working on an updated version of ArtRabbit which would allow listings around the globe. The current version was launched in November 2014 and there is much more to come in 2015.

 

{A} Why the name “Art rabbit”?

{T} I could try and spin a tale of how rabbits have always been important in contemporary art. I could bring Joseph Beuys into it and take his piece ‘How to explain pictures to a Dead Hare’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo47lqk_QH0) as a reference point for inspiration. I could refer to the iconic qualities of Jeff Koons’ Mylar Bunny (http://www.jeffkoons.com/artwork/statuary/rabbit). But that would all be post-rationalization. We came up with the name in a late night discussion and simply liked the iconic, approachable and prolific qualities of rabbits and found the name ArtRabbit, quirky, approachable and most of all easy to remember. Then we checked if the .com domain was still available and were sold.

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Joseph Beuys, How to explain pictures to a Dead Hare

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons, Mylar Bunny

 

{A} What 2015 cultural event are you excited about?

{T} Through ArtRabbit I’m exposed to so many exciting events every week that I find it hard to favor one or a few events or shows for the entire year. To not completely avoid the question, in addition to art, I’ve always been very interested in architecture. So the Serpentine Pavilion commission interests me very much every year. Since it’s a temporary building, it’s a great open brief and I’m looking forward to seeing what Selgas Cano, the chosen architects for 2015, with their ideas about hidden architecture and transparency will come up with.

 

{A} Who are your favorite artists at the moment?

{T} I always get reminded of things that I haven’t been thinking about for a while when a string of shows comes up and I make some connections. I liked the Ed Atkins show at the Serpentine last summer (https://www.artrabbit.com/events/ed-atkins) and that got me from Pipilotti Rist (https://www.artrabbit.com/events/pipilotti-rist-worry-will-vanish) to Rachel Reupke (https://www.artrabbit.com/events/rachel-reupke-letter-of-complaint). In addition to film / video I’m of course interested in digital / data driven work. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ryoji Ikeda’s residency at CERN will produce. And the Random Darknet Shopper project by !MEDIENGRUPPE BITNIK  in ‘The Darknet – From Memes to Onionland’ Exhibition in St. Gallen, Switzerland (https://www.artrabbit.com/events/the-darknet-from-memes-to-onionland-an-exploration) was something I would have liked to see and not just read about.

 

{A} What do you think about Artsper and the online art market?

{T} I think it’s an exciting time for the online arts market. A few years ago there was still a lot of reluctance to buying art online. But people have become more comfortable with it and I think it’s only in the first steps of development. A lot will happen in the next few years in terms of models of selling and new buyers coming online. I like the fact, that Artsper picks and curates the galleries that are part of its platform. I think this approach makes online sales more accessible for a broader audience, which is exactly what the online art market needs.

 

{A} Do you think that people consume art differently because of internet?

{T} I don’t know if many people still remember how hard it was to get your artistic practice noticed before the Internet arrived. You had to be in a magazine or a book or live in a big city. Publishing, and therefore access has been completely transformed by the Internet. Chris Anderson’s idea/documentation of the long tail phenomenon, where it’s worth publishing something even if it has only a tiny audience, but I can reach that audience through the Internet, will continue to transform how people produce and consume art.

More Artsper “Bunny Art” just for you 

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Rémy Pagart, Lemon Rabbit

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Christian Zeimert, Lapin Chasseur

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Caroline Maurel, Eros et Thanatos

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Charlotte Champion, Peter

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Kate Knight, Adoration

 

 

More information:

@tomelsner on Twitter

www.artrabbit.com

@ArtRabbit on Twitter

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