Posts Tagged ‘gallery’

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

For Kevin Bewersdorf, what is of consequence in the sculptures he showed at the V&A gallery in New York is less the object and more the surf through data that led to the object.

He writes:

[…] most art consumers are very wrapped up in the material world of restaurants and nice coats and taxis waiting outside the gallery. I care very little about the material world, and I’m completely certain that the most profound experiences in life can’t be contained by gallery walls, so the art object in “gallery space” for me can only represent a limitation, a disappointment.

I try to deal with this by presenting the object itself as pathetic and mediocre, but the information it conducts as sacred.


By reducing the sculpture’s physical appearance to kitsch, but contextualizing it as the product of a “sacred” Internet surf, Bewersdorf is able to say something about art that goes beyond technology: the aura of an art object is often not its phenomenological properties, but rather its testimony to a creative process.

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

I am sitting in my apartment and I am trying to watch Ryan Trecartin videos on my computer and I’m having a lot of difficulty doing it. They are simply too nutso. At first, I thought, “he’s got to do something about that… I honestly can’t even watch this for more than a couple of minutes,” but, then, I realized that, in fact, Trecartin had latched onto something really smart about the way he makes his videos. They are not meant to work cinematically, where one starts from the beginning and watches the whole way through (well, perhaps, one could do it, but to my mind, the point lies elsewhere). His videos, rather, work much better in the world and language of contemporary art where the audience is going to come in at any time and watch for a minute or two, until they get the aesthetic or the point and, then, maybe stay and watch for longer (maybe stay for the whole thing), but, most likely, move on to the next work of art or the next gallery or the next whatever. The art occurs in the conception of the aesthetic, in reflecting upon the fact that this artist made something that works like this and the fact that he did it really convincingly, than it is in the pleasures of the narrative, per se. The fact that there is a narrative is simply part of the art (it’s something you like), but the actual experience of the video as art lies in considering the fact that this thing exists in the world and you’re actually watching it right now and “isn’t that really weird/amazing/whatever?” In an interview with Karen Verschooren, Cory Arcangel talks about this in relation to video art’s emergence into contemporary art:

You have a lot of gallery video artists now and things became less paced in cinema-time. A gallery will change the concept of cinema-time or narrative time. It doesn’t completely erase it, but people can walk in at any point and people can leave at any point. So you’re dealing with a different concept of time than with single-channel video art for instance.

So, one thing that those gallery video artists started to do was to take this into account. They also started to deal with questions like how does a video look, how is it installed, how is it projected, and so on. These are all things that brought video out of the single channel distribution model and into the gallery. We will also have to deal with this.


However, after that consideration of the video within the art gallery context, what is there? What does the work tell you about itself now that you’re acquainted? How does it reflect upon itself, how does it reflect upon its world (the world of contemporary art)?

In some ways, Ryan Trecartin’s videos work better at a party, some sort of social situation where someone is playing a strange or unique video that is not meant to be watched beginning to end (it’s too noisy, you’re talking to people, etc.), than it is, instead, to be reflected upon as part of a social situation, as something that someone would play at their party, like as a lens through which to consider the party.

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Here is a passage from a March, 2006 interview between the artist Cory Arcangel and the Brussels-based curator Karen Verschooren:

Cory: […] you can’t just put a computer with a browser that’s pointing to a website. You have to somehow acknowledge that it is in a gallery, for better or worse. Video, I think, started to do that […] Paper Rad for example presented a huge sculpture, based on animated gifs. It wasn’t necessarily Internet art anymore, but it was art that could only exist because the Internet exists. That is definitely some kind of solution […] That is what is going to happen I think. It is not going to be pure strict Internet art, it’s going to be art that exists because of the Internet or is influenced by the Internet or there was research on the Internet.

Karen: That’s almost everything in art. Almost all contemporary art is influenced by the fact that we live in a networked society.

Cory: That’s fine you know. It is going to be seamlessly integrated into everything else. Which is what it should be. But pure Internet art, I think, should stay on the Internet.



Karen: So, if i understand you correctly, you are saying that it is the responsibility of the artist to transform his internet art piece in that way that it fits into the gallery space. It is not the gallery that has to change its economic model of exhibiting because of their mission statement or whatever.

Cory: Yes.


Verschooren sums up this strategy as roughly “the art needs to change to fit the gallery, instead of the gallery needs to change to fit the art.” Arcangel answers affirmatively, but I wonder if it is this simple. One thing I think is that Post Internet art does not just bend itself to work as “art,” it also changes one’s conception of “art.” Working in the confines of the white cube are not necessarily always limiting to artists. By playing with that history of what has been marked as “art” and successfully entering into that dialogue, these artists are changing what one thinks of as “art” in the same way that Daniel Buren, Michael Asher or earlier artists like Jasper Johns or (of course) Duchamp worked within the gallery to change what could be shown in the gallery and thus be reflected upon as “art”.