Tina Rivers Ryan

  • Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

    In 2007, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer became the first artist to represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale. Having won numerous awards and accolades from organizations such as Ars Electronica, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie in the 1990s and early 2000s, he has since become one of the leading “new-media artists,” with works in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This year alone, he will have five solo exhibitions and projects across three continents, the most important of which

  • “RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE: IN THE OPEN OR IN STEALTH”

    After curating the 2016 Shanghai Biennale, New Delhi– based Raqs Media Collective (founded in 1992 by Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta) returns with this group show featuring more than twenty international artists, including John Gerrard, Hassan Khan, Rosa Barba, and Lantian Xie. Loosely organized around theories of the future—not the future of science fiction, but the future emerging from the conflicts of the “deep present”—the works examine themes such as collectivity, memory, ecology, and systems of knowledge. For example, Gerrard’s X.

  • “Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today”

    “Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today” is a major survey of the impact of the internet on contemporary art, articulated into inevitably nebulous themes such as virtuality and surveillance. Comprising more than seventy works, the show includes almost as many artists, from Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Hito Steyerl to relative newcomer Sondra Perry. As curator Eva Respini readily admits in the preface to the catalogue, this is not the first exhibition on this topic: Looking beyond the horizons of mainstream contemporary art to the field of new-media art that emerged in the 1990s, one finds

  • “Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today”

    If contemporary art is increasingly defined as art made since 1989, it is partly because that is the year the World Wide Web was born, triggering seismic shifts in how art is produced, distributed, and consumed—or so this exhibition will argue. By no means a survey of “net art” (only three of the roughly seventy-five works are web based), it aims to assess the impact of digital technologies on works by the likes of Hito Steyerl and Trevor Paglen, suggesting both a framework and a canon. The challenges here, as always with this topic, are numerous:

  • “OPEN CODES: LIVING IN DIGITAL WORLDS”

    Organized by ZKM in collaboration with multiple German research institutes, this historical survey traces the developments in math and physics that led to the invention of digital code, ushering in the many technologies that shape our culture and society today. Spanning three hundred years, the show places scientific and technological documents and artifacts in conversation with artworks, suggesting an affinity—if not a direct connection—between the ways in which these objects frame the world. The stakes of this interdisciplinarity are high: Over the past several

  • Pipilotti Rist

    It was Heraclitus who said that you never step in the same river twice: The world is fluid, and the only constant is change. The metaphor is a fitting one for the challenge of organizing an artist’s retrospective—especially if that artist is Pipilotti Rist, whose works submerge us in the aesthetics of the aqueous and the currents of technological advancement.

    The earliest works in this show, which was organized by Massimiliano Gioni, Margot Norton, and Helga Christoffersen and remains on view until January 15, date to the mid-1980s, when the Swiss-born Rist was a musician and student, first

  • picks September 16, 2016

    Simon Denny

    “Imagine a world where trust is guaranteed—a world without borders.” These words, spoken in the confident, masculine voice of authority, open Simon Denny’s video What Is Blockchain?, 2016. With slick graphics and soaring music, this infomercial-cum–TED talk promotes decentralized network technology (which serves as the basis for Bitcoin) as a high-tech solution to social problems ranging from the loss of privacy to geopolitical conflict. Projected onto the gallery’s back wall, the video bookends the show’s first room, which introduces us to Bitcoin’s pioneers, embodied by Plexiglas cases

  • Ed Atkins

    Turin is a fitting setting for the work of Ed Atkins. While his tragicomic videos of HD avatars express the alienation that permeates contemporary (white hetero cis-male) life, they also—like the famous Shroud of Turin before them—render the body strange, as the mutable object of endless mediations. Just as the shroud’s configuration of marks is either an ancient hoax or the indexical trace of the body of Christ, the artist’s representations may or may not register the existence of an entity that hovers

  • picks June 24, 2016

    Abraham Palatnik

    One of the highlights of Frieze New York last month was this gallery’s presentation of Abraham Palatnik, an octogenarian Brazilian artist whose “Kinechromatic Devices,” 1951–2004, helped to pioneer kinetic light art during the mid-twentieth century. Though included in venues such as the first Bienal de São Paulo in 1951, and the Venice Biennale of 1964, coming across one outside the artist’s studio today is rare: as with other kinetic works, their delicate mechanisms and elision from art-historical narratives keep them from view. Happily, they can be seen again in this show, where they are

  • Lauren Seiden

    In the Western tradition, drawing, or the use of line as the primary vehicle for shaping form on a two-dimensional surface, has long been the scaffold on which the more rarified practices of painting, sculpture, and architecture are built. It enjoys the paradoxical privilege of being at the root of all art—and, as Michelangelo pointed out, at the root of all sciences, too—but not necessarily an end in itself. Especially since the 1960s, artists have valorized drawing by reinventing it: Projects as diverse as Sol LeWitt’s wall pieces, Richard Long’s walks, Kara Walker’s cut silhouettes,

  • picks April 15, 2016

    Ward Shelley

    Buried in Ward Shelley’s Extended Narrative, v. 1, 2014—a chronological taxonomy of Western art since the Enlightenment—is a reference to its forebear: Alfred Barr’s famous 1936 diagram of the evolution of abstraction. While expressing modernism’s penchant for positivist, even teleological narratives, the comically swerving arrows of Barr’s history also point toward the absurd oversimplifications and elisions on which they are premised. This same ambivalence informs all the charts here, painted on Mylar and gathered under the exhibition title “The Felicific Calculus.” Named after Jeremy Bentham’s

  • picks April 01, 2016

    David Hammons

    In the catalogue that accompanies this show, there is a photo of the artist David Hammons in Harlem in 1980. From behind a pair of sunglasses, he is reading Tales of Power (1974), a volume in Carlos Castaneda’s account of the teachings of an indigenous Mexican shaman. Though presented without comment, the photo is a winking nod to Hammons’s reputation as a kind of art-world sorcerer and also to his own anthropological interests: For five decades he has deployed conceptual jokes and everyday materials to reflect on the paradoxes and complexities of African American life. Although by no means

  • picks March 18, 2016

    “The Illusive Eye”

    At the end of the catalogue for “The Responsive Eye”—the infamous survey of contemporary Op art that opened at MoMA in February 1965, marking the movement’s simultaneous debut and apogee—curator William Seitz asked, “What are the potentialities of a visual art capable of affecting perception so physically and directly? Can an advanced understanding and application of functional images open a new path from retinal excitation to emotions and ideas?”

    These fifty-year-old questions, which Seitz did not venture to answer, have been taken up anew by “The Illusive Eye.” On its face, the show aims to

  • picks January 13, 2016

    “WONDER”

    The nine large-scale installations for this show prompt us to “wonder” at the alchemical transformation of fairly quotidian materials into art. Though the labor of producing these works leaves a few visible traces, the emphasis here is less on process than on the result: a conversion of the Renwick’s galleries into sensual environments.

    It’s a fitting way to reopen this museum, which houses the Smithsonian’s craft and decorative arts collection, after a two-year renovation. In the first gallery, Gabriel Dawe’s Plexus A1 (all works 2015)—two ethereal planes of rainbow-colored thread—hang between

  • “Life Itself”

    Though motivated by the question What is life?, “Life Itself” will look beyond the science undergirding recent bio-art, favoring more oblique approaches to understanding organic forms and processes. So in lieu of genomic sequences, cell cultures, and high-tech bodily prosthetics, we will find some seventy works from the early twentieth century onward in a variety of surprisingly traditional media. These include Katja Novitskova’s post-Internet sculptural fauna (Approximations, 2012–) and Pierre Huyghe’s postapocalyptic video investigation

  • picks June 12, 2015

    Marta Minujín

    A pioneering Argentinian artist who contributed to Happenings and Pop as well as Art and Technology in the 1960s, Marta Minujín is once again ubiquitous. Last fall, her work appeared in the Guggenheim’s reconsideration of Latin American art, “Under the Same Sun,” and this fall, it will be included in MoMA’s “Construction to Transmission.” In the meantime, this show offers a deeper view of the artist’s avant-garde oeuvre.

    The exhibition encompasses several bodies of work, the oldest of which comprises documentation of her actions. In Kidnappening, 1973, partygoers were abducted from a cocktail

  • Jon Rafman

    A year after unlocking the same achievement in the US, Montreal native Jon Rafman will have his first solo museum show in Canada, at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. This homecoming will present Rafman’s new and recent riffs on Second Life, Internet subcultures, and 3-D printing. Yet Rafman refuses to identify as a new-media artist; correspondingly, the works on view destabilize the binaries on which most definitions of new media depend. For example, his use of customized viewing stations underscores the “virtual” subject’s persistent embeddedness in physical

  • picks October 10, 2014

    Cory Arcangel

    In Diddy/Lakes, 2013—the first in the recent series of Arcangel’s work featured here—a seventy-inch flat screen displays a photo of the perennially recycled rapper boarding a private jet. As in all of the Lakes, the image has been digitally animated to hypnotically reflect in a rippling pool by using the eponymous Java applet, a popular tool of the 1990s. The effect—redolent of the adolescence of the Internet—reminds us of the rapid, tandem evolution of technology and taste. Applied to familiar but forgettable images sourced from the Web, the animation suggests that a watery grave of oblivion

  • picks April 30, 2014

    Clement Valla

    In utilizing texture maps—a form of visual data generated by the rendering of objects into 3-D digital models—Clement Valla’s new series, “Surface Survey,” 2014, highlights the eroding boundary between the real and the virtual realms. But beyond simply demonstrating how a “new aesthetic” emerges from digital forms of representation, Valla subjects this technology—and the rhetoric around it—to scrutiny. In reproducing (as either prints or sculptures) the maps from which 3-D digital models can be constructed, Valla exposes the underlying algorithms upon which these models are based. Notably, the

  • picks January 15, 2014

    Stan Douglas

    In Luanda-Kinshasa, 2013, a six-hour-and-one-minute video, Stan Douglas revisits some of the major ideas that have informed his work to date: the video loop as a mechanism of the Freudian uncanny; the past as a construction of the present; imagined and failed utopias; and the discursive and historical nature of media technologies. Continuing his long-standing involvement with music—seen most recently in Disco Angola, 2012—Luanda-Kinshasa purportedly documents a 1970s-era recording session at the legendary Columbia Records studio in Manhattan, which closed in 1981. But if Disco Angola