The many colors of Yale School of Art’s website (screencapture at 1:20am, Nov 10, 2010)

Yale School of Art may have the reputation of being an institution that turns out future art market-friendly artist gazillionaires, but their website is hurting the eyes of people all over the web.

Last night, a bunch of Reddit users stumbled upon the design “experiment” and they have been cursing the institution’s jarring — which may be an understatement — website ever since. If you have a few minutes to kill this morning and want to be lost in the hilarity of their reactions be my guest.

The page is perfectly titled, “I’ll bet Yale’s Art Department has an awesome-looking site! Wait… WHAT?! : WTF


First the grown-up in the room:

i_am_searcher — I’m replying to your comment because this needs to be at the top. The Yale Art website is a “wiki” style website. Anyone with a Yale NetID can access the website and change the html/css files. Yale University has officially cemented trolling as an art form.

This website is a wiki. All School of Art grad students, faculty, staff, and alums have the ability to change most of this site’s content (with some exceptions); and to add new content and pages.

And now for my favorites (in no particular order) [and comments mine]:

affablereprobate — It’s totally a commentary on the impermanence of artistic forms. [if only]

dazzler_valentine — This what happens when you let departments control their websites internally [they must be self-hating]

thejohnfreeman —My eyes!

calcninja — THE GOOGLES! THEY DO NOTHING! [the beer variety?]

jdl2832 — Oh wow… that looks like a shitty myspace page.

nexusscope — I feel like [the fact that is a wiki] that makes it more embarrassing. The collaborative power of ‘All School of Art grad students, faculty, staff, and alums ‘ yields that?

unholymackerel — nuke it from orbit! [it won’t do any good

Phil_J_Fry — … Damnit, why do I feel a little more dead inside now? [at least you’re feeling something]

Poes_Law_in_Action — I reckon a large part of their student body and maybe even faculty are somewhat hipsters and the website is meant to be ironic. [Hipster Runoff fans?]

For a while the Yale site was down and the user named Knowltey posted this doozy and started a priceless thread:

Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Please contact the server administrator, and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.
More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

It is a statement about the unreliability of the human psyche blah blah blah, generic art interpreation here. blah blah.

bkbeeky — And our reliance on “authority”. But what is authority? Is it not nothing more than a title? Or does being part of the “authority” somehow ingrain you deeper in the mainstream culture.

rel1sh — Wait just a minute now…the 500 Internal Server Error page is ÜBER-meta!! If anything, that should have been the original concept for the site.

mcphillip — so somewhere in the last 200 years or so people got tired of trying to paint shit that looked just like what they were seeing. instead, some artists, probably French, started staring at haystacks and lily pads until they went cross eyed and just started painting impressions. then picassa dropped acid and started painting all sides of an object on a single plane. after that, it got all self referential where you can’t understand a piece without understanding the ones that came before it.

Or something like that. Art History professor didn’t take attendance…

And then this one started by KJEveryday:

Dude, haven’t you ever seen the art department at an Ivy League school? Fucking hipster central. The kids can’t wait to graduate to blow their Dad’s money on vintage clothes, art supplies, PBR and coke, and then move to Brooklyn.

That’s what the site is: Hipster central.

Edit: I never said I hated Hipsters. It’s just fucking hipster central!

cuombajj — Yeah, but have you heard Yale’s Art Department’s first EP?

Nasgill — I preferred when they were still underground.

ab2nnion — Duchamp did it better.

[Well said.]

hat tip Fred Berenson aka @mecredis

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

3 replies on “Yale Art Dept Website Has “Officially Cemented Trolling as an Art Form””

  1. It’s a super lo-fi, hipster website… but then so is the Whitney’s. I like this for the whole aesthetic and it’s cool that everyone can edit it. Funny how that kind of design can be so alienating, but then I don’t think this was meant for the general populace.

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