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Monday, 23 July, 2001, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Brit art gets mobile
Artwork by Katherine Lubar
Artist Katherine Lubar's mobile work
New British art can now be downloaded onto your mobile phone thanks to a collaboration between phone manufacturer Vodafone and the internet art gallery Britart.

Eight works, commissioned from artists such as George Barber and Tracey Newman, will go live on the Vodafone website on Wednesday - to be downloaded at 36p a time.

A Vodafone spokeswoman told BBC New Online, "We're looking at it as a way of making original artwork affordable.

Light Through The Window, 2000
A conventional canvas by Katherine Lubar
"It'll be something completely different from the usual football mottos and commercial logos people normally download."

But the artists commissioned by Vodafone have had to work within the strict technical limitations of the medium.


There is no colour and the screen size is tiny.

"This is a really challenging medium to work with," artist Tracey Newman told the Guardian newspaper.

"It's not just that it's done in pixels rather than in paint, but also that it will be on a phone," said Newman.

A spokesman for the Britart gallery told BBC News Online: "The artists are all professionals, using this terribly restrictive medium and trying to make the art shine through.

"It raises the question of what is art?"


He added: "We feel that it's work made by artists and meant to be art - which seems to achieve a higher degree of artistic integrity then when someone like a graphic artist is simply told to produce something.

"It's also a step to wards making art more accessible - and it's no less worthy just because it's widely available."

But David Lee, art critic and editor of Jackdaw magazine, was sceptical of the value of the works - even at 36p each.

"From what I can see it's 35.9p too much," he told BBC News Online.

"On the evidence, it's entirely fatuous and infantile.

"We live in an age or artists who think that anything they do is art - and it isn't, art is by deed and not by reputation.

"If the purpose of this is to get more people into art, it's the wrong way to go about it."

See also:

23 Jul 01 | New Media
Picture gallery: Brit art on call
29 Mar 01 | New Media
Phone poetry contest launched
08 Jun 01 | New Media
BBC aims for txt record
16 Jul 01 | Business
Mobiles to get radiation warnings
20 Jul 01 | Scotland
More text please, says council
12 Jul 00 | Sci/Tech
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