Post-Internet | Digital art glossary



Post-Internet is a 21st century art movement involving works that are derived from the Internet or its effects on aesthetics, culture and society.


Post-Internet is a loosely-defined term that was coined by artist/curator Marisa Olson in an attempt to describe her practice. It emerged from mid-2000s discussions about Internet art by Gene McHugh (author of a blog titled “Post-Internet”), and Artie Vierkant (artist, and creator of Image Object sculpture series). The movement itself grew out of Internet Art (or Net Art). According to the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, rather than referring “to a time “after” the internet”, the term refers to “an internet state of mind”.

The term is controversial and the subject of much criticism in the art community. Art in America’s Brian Droitcour opined that the term fails to describe the form of the works, instead “alluding only to a hazy contemporary condition and the idea of art being made in the context of digital technology.” According to a 2015 article in The New Yorker, the term describes “the practices of artists artworks move fluidly between spaces, appearing sometimes on a screen, other times in a gallery.” Fast Company’s Carey Dunne summarizes they are “artists who are inspired by the visual cacophony of the web” and notes that “mediums from Second Life portraits to digital paintings on silk to 3-D-printed sculpture” are used.

There is theoretical overlap with James Bridle’s term New Aesthetic. Ian Wallace writes that “the influential blog The New Aesthetic, run since May 2011 by writer and artist James Bridle, is a pioneering institution in the post-Internet movement” and concludes that “much of the energy around the New Aesthetic seems, now, to have filtered over into the “post-Internet” conversation.” Post-Internet art is also discussed by Katja Novitskova as being a part of ‘New Materialism’.

Ian Wallace of Artspace considers the Post-Internet term to stand for “a new aesthetic era,” moving “beyond making work dependent on the novelty of the Web to using its tools to tackle other subjects”. He notes that the post-Internet generation “frequently uses digital strategies to create objects that exist in the real world.” Or as Louis Doulas writes in Within Post-Internet, Part One (2011): “There is a difference then, in an art that chooses to exist outside of a browser window and an art that chooses to stay within it.”


The movement spearheaded microgenres and subcultures such as seapunk and vaporwave. In the early 2010s, “post-Internet” was popularly associated with the musician Grimes. Grimes used the term to describe her work at a time when post-Internet concepts were not typically discussed in mainstream music arenas. Amarco referred to Yung Lean as “by and large a product of the internet and a leading example of a generation of youths who garner fame through social media.”


There have been a number of significant group shows explicitly exploring Post-Internet themes. There was a 2014 exhibition called Art Post-Internet at Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, which “set out to encapsulate the budding movement.” MoMa curated Ocean of Images (2015), a show “probing the effects of an image-based post-Internet reality.” The 2016 9th Berlin Biennale, titled The Present in Drag, curated by the art collective DIS, is described as a Post-Internet exhibition.

Notable artists

Cory Arcangel

Petra Cortright, whose work includes YouTube video work and digital paintings. She was included in “Raster Raster” and the 9th Berlin Biennale


Parker Ito

Rachel de Joode

Katja Novitskova whose work focuses on issues of technology, evolutionary processes, digital imagery and corporate aesthetics and was included in the 9th Berlin Biennale

Seth Price

Jon Rafman, whose work was included in the 9th Berlin Biennale

Ryder Ripps

Molly Soda, who co-curated and included her own work in “Zero Zero”

Ryan Trecartin, whose work was included in the 9th Berlin Biennale and who co-curated the New Museum’s 2015 triennial “Surround Audience” which included DIS

Brad Troemel

Amalia Ulman, whose work was included in the 9th Berlin Biennale

“Post-Internet” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, n.d.

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