Jeff’s Present

Jeff Gates: the online version

I'm just like my avatar: a little bit rough around the edges, nose slightly askew, but rich in line and texture. In real life, I'm just a bit more 3D.

I am a recovering academic having taught college-level photography and computer graphics for many years. There, I’ve admitted it.

But rather than enter a 12 step program to right myself from my academic career, as the Internet developed I got excited by the possibilities of enlarging artists’ audiences via the net. In the late 1980s I founded Artists for a Better Image (AKA ArtFBI) to study stereotypes of contemporary artists. With access so much more limited than today I produced a “faxazine” of art information culled from the net for artists in the Mid Atlantic region. And in 1990 I was an Arts Administration Fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts smack dab in the middle of the culture war raging against artists and their work.

Today, my interest in the social intersection of art and American culture continues as I constantly explore new platforms with which to engage the public. In 1999 I was the first artist to use eBay, by auctioning his demographics to the highest bidder. In response to 9/11 I created Dichotomy, It Was a Matter of Time and Place, a 9/11 storytelling project. This website was a finalist at the SXSW Interactive Festival. In 2008, to the chagrin of even my most ardent supporters, I used Twitter to tweet my root canal live to dentists across North America. Since 2010, under the guise of the Chamomile Tea Party I have been remixing World War II-era propaganda posters with new text about the rancor so prevalent in contemporary American political discourse. And in the months just before the 2012 election I purchased ad space in Washington, DC’s subway to extend the reach of these messages.

During the week I am the Lead Producer in New Media Initiatives at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 2005 I proposed and helped launch the Smithsonian’s first blog, Eye Level and served as its managing editor for 13 years. I have a particular interest in how social media affects organizational structure and fuels change. In my article Confessions of a Long Tail Visionary I talk about the culture shift taking place as organizations increase their reliance on social media. My follow-up piece, Clearing the Path for Sisyphus, discusses the transformative effects social media has had on our relationships with our co-workers as organizations move from single voice models to multiple voices. In November 2012 I continued my study of organizational change by presenting And the Process-Oriented Will Inherit the Earth at the Museum Computer Network conference in Seattle.

And, last but not least, I represent the male gender in my family of two daughters and wife. This requires my communication skills be up-to-snuff on a regular basis.

© 2001-2018 Jeff Gates ISSN 1544-4074