Tina Rivers Ryan

  • slant March 30, 2020

    No Fun

    10 AM ON THURSDAY, March 5, 2020: That was when I was supposed to have a coffee in Tribeca with the artists who use the pseudonyms Eva and Franco Mattes. I would be in town for the art fairs, and scheduling this meeting with the Italian duo, who are based in New York, was my consolation for missing “What Has Been Seen,” their survey at the Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art in Montreal. Before Facebook transformed the internet into a place where we use our real (or “real”) names, Eva and Franco began making Net art under the moniker 0100101110101101.org, focusing on how identities and information


    Curated by Anne Faucheret and Vanessa Joan Müller

    In 2017, the Vienna Biennale—titled “Robots. Work. Our Future”—addressed technology’s role in the ongoing transformation of human labor. Under this year’s theme, “Brave New Virtues: Shaping Our Digital World,” the Kunsthalle Wien, one of the Biennale’s host venues, will open the concept of the “human” to a feminist critique, focusing on the ways in which gender is defined by technology (and vice versa, as evidenced by the recoding of coding as masculine labor). “Hysterical Mining” will include roughly twenty-five works by approximately twenty

  • Trevor Paglen

    In his famed description of Paul Klee’s 1920 monoprint Angelus Novus, Walter Benjamin conjured an “angel of history” who is blown by the storms of progress into the future while facing backward toward the piling wreckage of the “catastrophe” that is the past. Tellingly, a photograph of the back of Klee’s work is the first picture on Trevor Paglen’s Gold Artifact, 2013. Shot into orbit on a communications satellite, the etched disc bears one hundred cynical images of and about humanity, which it almost certainly will outlast. Like Benjamin’s angel, Paglen surveys the visible and not-so-visible


    Curated by Pavel S. Pyś with Jadine Collingwood

    Walt Whitman’s ode to corporeality provides a fitting title for this ambitious survey highlighting contemporary art’s fascination with bodies mediated by technologies. Comprising scores of works made over the past six decades by artists such as Lynn Hershman Leeson, Sadie Benning, and Sondra Perry, the show pays particular attention to the interaction between bodies and screens. One of the exhibition’s most topical sections examines the “malleable body,” juxtaposing, among other pieces, Josh Kline’s Share the Health (Assorted Probiotic Hand Gels),


    Curated by Heike Munder

    In “A Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century” (1991), the Australian artist collective VNS Matrix declared themselves “saboteurs of big daddy mainframe” and “mercenaries of slime,” weaponizing an ecstatic, messy body as a wrench to throw into the gears of tech-bro culture: “corrupting the discourse / we are the future cunt.” “Producing Futures: An Exhibition on Post-Cyber-Feminisms” features VNS Matrix and Lynn Hershman Leeson as examples of the first generation of cyber-feminists; the show will also include a dozen younger international artists, from Tabita Rezaire

  • 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


    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:


    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


    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