Cory Arcangel

  • John Knecht, The Possible Fog of Heaven (detail), 1993, digital video, color, sound, 10 minutes 47 seconds.


    IN THE OPENING MOMENTS of The Possible Fog of Heaven, a 1993 computer-animated video by John Knecht, pixelated wishbones twirl and descend vertically over a black background. A cello drones on the soundtrack, while Elvis, of all people, speaks in voice-over—apparently delivering his first utterances from the afterlife. As the singer deadpans his experience of heaven—“There is a flyby waiting for everyone here, I mean to each his own, without, without forgiveness”—the wishbones turn to bodies, plummeting downward as if having leaped off a building. “Things have been falling in my videos for

  • An undated animation by Tom Moody.
    passages April 01, 2022

    Tom Moody

    THERE WERE ONLY A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE who were in New York’s Net art scene of the early ’00s. It was a scene of square pegs, as everyone had come from different fields. There were dystopian cyberlibertarians, Lower East Side performance artists, West Coast cowboy hat–wearing BBS hippies, trad contemporary artists who decided to “drop out,” and, of course, Tom Moody. Tom—who looked like he stepped right out of a middle management I.M.B. office in 1976—was a polymath. Once on a studio visit to his tidy, sunny, and quite pleasant New Jersey flat in 2005, we discussed his prints, writing, music, art,

  • Jeff Koons, Lobster, 2003, polychromed aluminum, steel chain, 57 7/8 × 37 × 17 1/8". From the series “Popeye,” 2002–.

    Cory Arcangel

    THE BEST LINE—by far—in Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network is when Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake) chides Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) for thinking the financial glass ceiling of a start-up is a million dollars. “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool?” asks Timberlake. “A billion dollars, now that’s cool!”

    A billion! I agree, a billion dollars is cool. As we all know from IRL, Zuckerberg did get his billion. And for what? By improving on existing social networks—a tiny bit. But that little bit went a long way—it got the aunts, uncles, moms,

  • Andy Warhol, Andy2, 1985, digital image, from disk 1998.3.2129.3.4. Collection of the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Foundation Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.


    I HAVE A MAJOR BEEF with the application of physical terms to new media. I was reminded of this recently while reading a headline on the computer-news website CNET: “Facebook Delivers Paper to iPhone.” Consider a slightly edited reprisal of this headline: “Book, Paper, Phone.” And never mind the fact that these anachronistic terms are being used to describe a social network creating a new app (called Paper) for a mobile digital device. Or consider the term cloud, which is used to give some semblance of natural physicality to the invisible Wi-Fi vapor that stores our e-mails and sends our JPEGS

  • Stephen Willats talks with Cory Arcangel

    CORY ARCANGEL: Can you press the video button so we can see you?

    STEPHEN WILLATS: OK. Can you see me?

    CA: No, I—yes. There you are. Oh, there is your studio. Oh, wonderful. There is your other computer. And tons of lamps.

    SW: Yeah. You see, these English studios are very small. The book you’ve got, what book is that?

    CA: Your new book, Artwork as Social Model; and I have a couple issues of your magazine, Control, which I had bought over the years. But before you started Control, in 1965, you had a moment when you realized that art was about the audience, about a new kind of “visual communication.”

  • Lady Gaga playing a keytar during the Monster Ball Tour, Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, 2010. Photo: Anirudh Koul.


    LISTENING TO BRITNEY SPEARS’s recent single “Hold It Against Me”—which launched this past January at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart—one can’t help but think that aspects of its production and structural composition betray the year of its release. The song is essentially one long crescendo, overlaid on a classic verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus format. The chorus builds in each iteration until finally it re-appears, accompanied by a beat, with only about thirty seconds left in a song a little shy of four minutes. The entire song is constructed around this moment, and

  • Live links pages from the Internet.

    Internet links pages

    IN A RECENT SPEECH titled “Remarks on Internet Freedom,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the Internet was now an integral part of US foreign policy. “Some countries,” Clinton said, making a thinly veiled reference to China, “have erected electronic barriers that prevent their people from accessing portions of the world’s networks,” while the US stands for “a single Internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas.” Although the technology of networked computers has its origins in military research, all this cold war–style rhetoric over Internet access would

  • Cory Arcangel, The Bruce Springsteen “Born to Run” Glockenspiel Addendum, 2006. Performance view, Light Industry, New York, August 5, 2008. Photo: Damien Crisp.


    IF CERTAIN CRITICAL OPERATIONS first explored by artists during the 1970s and ’80s have since become nearly ubiquitous in visual culture—with, for example, the isolation and manipulation of popular imagery, once the purview of avant-garde practice, now common among homemade videos placed online—then what are the most significant obstacles, opportunities, and shifts in attitude for artists working in these modes now? Artforum invited DARA BIRNBAUM—pioneering video artist and subject of a pivotal retrospective next month at the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium (April 4–August 2)—to sit down with media artist and programmer CORY ARCANGEL and compare notes on art in light of widespread appropriation, outmoded applications, and increasingly divergent audiences. Part of their conversation has been reproduced below. For the rest, pick up the March issue of Artforum.

    CORY ARCANGEL: Recently I read an interview in which you said clubs provided one of the first outlets for your videos. In other words, you felt you could make videos to be projected in clubs at the same time you made videos that were to be shown in art spaces. Was that specific to the time? It made me wonder how the context for video has changed over the past thirty years or so.

    DARA BIRNBAUM: Well, to clarify just a bit, I was saying that whenever I made a work, I believed it could be inserted into different contexts. It wasn’t that I was actually making different work for a specific venue. You

  • Ramon Sender, Michael Callahan, Morton Subotnick, and Pauline Oliveros (seated), San Francisco Tape Music Center, March 29, 1964. Photo: Art Frisch.

    the San Francisco Tape Music Center

    PRESS, 2008. 322 PAGES. $28.

    I FIRST LEARNED OF the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the late 1990s, when I was a student of one of its early members, Pauline Oliveros, at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. In class, Pauline would talk about her first experiments with audio recording in the early ’60s—which involved using cardboard tubes and bathtubs to simulate reverbs and filters—or about concerts she played that nearly caused riots. She


    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions were, in their eyes, the very best of 2006.


    “Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul” (Museum of Modern Art, New York) In a rather cynical mode, I trudged uptown one day last spring to see the Munch show at MoMA for what I thought would be a cliché-ridden overview of Nordic gloom-goth. What I got instead was a hard punch to the gut: powerful color, radical ideas about the depiction of memory as space, paintings with emotional vanishing points rather than rational optical