Kadist Foundation Launches Art-World Google Meets Flickr


An art-world-specific image searching and sharing site, Kapsul.org, launches this month. The site is a nonprofit project of Kadist, the Paris- and San Francisco-based arts foundation. The site is free and includes no advertising.

Kapsul has three primary functions: image gathering, sharing and searching. All content is user-generated; think Wikipedia. Kapsul relies upon unpaid contributors and a small staff of moderators who review user-uploaded content.

San Jose-based ZERO1, a nonprofit focusing on art and technology, is tapping Kapsul to aid the curation of its 2012 biennial, a collaborative effort among five international curators. The team has worked with Kapsul since last summer, using it to search and share images.

“The way I explain Kapsul,” says ZERO1 lead curator Jaime Austin, “is that it’s like Flickr meets Google docs for the art world.”

Anyone can contribute; one need only create a free account. Users upload images to a “kapsul,” a thematic group of images: artist name, topic, subject. Current kapsuls include, for example, “Mike Kelley,” “gravity” and “currency.” Users can contribute to existing kapsuls or create their own; they can also designate private kapsuls, which limits who can see the images they upload. The site already features thousands of publicly accessible images uploaded by the Kadist team or users of the site’s beta version.

Search results are delivered in categories, based on the type of sites they come from: art databases, blogs, museums, galleries, magazines, artists, fairs and biennials, foundations and collections, art schools, publishers, libraries, and bookshops. At the bottom of the search-results page, Google image search is available as a comparison.