Image from our original presentation to the Whitney.

Image from our original presentation to the Whitney.




In 2010, we launched the Whitney Museum’s website, following a year of visual design and the development of new technologies and business processes at the Whitney. To communicate the museum’s geography, the website is black at night and white in the day, and it has its own sunrise and sunset on New York time, marked each morning and night by a changing artist intervention. The website’s modular design allows the Whitney’s many different activities to be woven together in many different ways. Art is shown at generous dimensions, and users can make their own collections (which they can share with other people), stream really great video and audio, customize calendars, manage their memberships, and much more. Check out the search results and the “New content” RSS feeds; they’re fun. A recent project allowed artists to create their own pages within the website. 

A groundbreaking and inclusive new area for kids allows all kids to do that, too, and to contribute their own art. A popular feature is that kids can make their own background patterns for the website, affecting the site for all other kids. In May 2012, Artinfo.com declared the Whitney.org and the Whitney For Kids site the #2 and #3 Top Museum Websites on the internet, respectively.

Recently, we added an online magazine to the site called Whitney Stories. It’s an interactive magazine designed to provide a space for readers to engage with the multiple histories and narratives that make the Whitney a compelling place to visit—in the galleries or online.

Programming: with GrayBits.



Site growth compared to active editors and page views

For the Whitney, Economy became a surface for content experimentation. Over several months, we watched as 65,000 page versions were created by more than 50 Whitney staff, and the website bloomed and then launched. The website has been managed as a decentralized, communal process there—a unique way to manage the website of a major museum, as far as we know. In this way, the website gets better over time, rather than worse. Staff, including design staff at the Whitney, are able to try layouts in many different ways, show them to one another, and eventually make them public. This process is allowing the Whitney to respond flexibly to patterns of website usage, and to new opportunities and needs. 

Economy also stores website usage data in a powerful way, enabling the understanding of patterns in usage as pathways rather than total numbers, and the correlation of pathways with groups of users.


Pages edits by editor and department




EcoArtTech
EcoArtTech
Stephanie Rothenberg
Stephanie Rothenberg
Ursula Endlicher
Ursula Endlicher
Ursula Endlicher
Ursula Endlicher


Sunrise and Sunset — Internet art commissions

We suggested that the Whitney commission a series of internet art projects for whitney.org to mark sunset and sunrise in New York City every day. Unfolding over a timeframe of ten to thirty seconds, each project accompanies a transition of the website’s background color from white (day) to black (night) and vice versa. Users around the world see the project each day simultaneously. A new project is commissioned each season. The sunset also reinforces, through its rhythm, the Whitney’s location in New York; and establishes the website as a direct surface for art.

Christiane Paul, the Whitney’s adjunct curator of new media, notes: “What distinguishes these projects is that they use whitney.org as their habitat, disrupting, replacing, or engaging with the museum website as an information environment. This form of engagement captures the core of artistic practice on the Internet, the intervention in existing online spaces.”

Read more on Rhizome



Whitney for Kids

Whitney for Kids

Kids can explore all the same artworks as adults, and dozens of artwork pages have all new kid-specific content. Kids can make their own pages on the Whitney’s website, using a version of the same content management system used by staff. They can take quizzes and polls, tag artworks, collect art, and upload their own art. And they can change the background pattern of the whole site, for all to see.


Watch and Listen

Watch and Listen

Explore audio and video. Everything is inter-linked, tagged, and sharable, and podcasts and downloads are available. A neat feature is the ability to quickly make your own playlists of the Whitney’s audio and videos.


Whitney Stories

Whitney Stories

“Whitney Stories”, the Whitney Museum’s new online magazine which was designed to provide a space for readers to engage with the Museum’s multiple histories and narratives. “Whitney Stories” is a quarterly publication, produced and written by Whitney staff.