Tina Rivers Ryan

  • Chris Torres, Nyan Cat, 2011, GIF.

    TOKEN GESTURE

    ON THE AFTERNOON of February 19—immediately after the classic internet meme known as Nyan Cat was auctioned for almost $600,000—digital art abruptly entered the most recent, and perhaps most heated, of its many hype cycles. In the weeks that followed, media outlets from PBS NewsHour to Saturday Night Live reiterated the story of record-breaking prices fueled by an enigmatic technology called the blockchain, which is a system used by techno-libertarians and anarcho-capitalists for encrypting immutable digital records in blocks of data across a decentralized chain of computers. Blockchains can be

  • Electromedia portrait of Aldo Tambellini at The Black Gate Theater, New York, 1967. Photo: Richard Raderman. © Aldo Tambellini Art Foundation.
    passages November 19, 2020

    Aldo Tambellini (1930–2020)

    THE BEST ART I SAW on my “Grand Tour” of 2017 wasn’t in Venice, or Münster, or Kassel. It was in Karlsruhe, at ZKM’s major retrospective of Aldo Tambellini—the media artist whose seven-decade career celebrated the sensuous power of darkness, and who passed away last week at the age of ninety. My detour to the show was a kind of pilgrimage: Although not yet a household name in the art world, he has long been a cult figure for those devoted to experimental film and video. (I myself was introduced to him around twenty years ago by both Gene Youngblood’s classic 1970 book Expanded Cinema and the

  • Caitlin Cherry, Domain Vague (Art McGee), 2020, oil on canvas, 59 x 101''.
    interviews July 20, 2020

    Caitlin Cherry

    Caitlin Cherry has always been interested in the weaponized circulation of images. At the Brooklyn Museum in 2013, she mounted her paintings on wooden catapults modeled after martial designs by Leonardo, as if they were about to be fired into the air. More recently, she has produced prismatic paintings from photos of Black femmes (including models, exotic dancers, porn actresses, rappers, and influencers) culled from social media. Inspired by the promotional posts of a Brooklyn cabaret, her newest works feature its servers and dancers in suggestive poses, flattened by delirious patterns and

  • View of Eva & Franco Mattes’s  No Fun, 2010, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland. Photo: Angela Baumgartner.
    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

  • “HYSTERICAL MINING”

    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, Gold Artifact, 2013, etched gold-plated disk, 4 7⁄8 × 4 7⁄8 × 3⁄8".

    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

  • Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Vicious Circular Breathing, 2013, sealed glass prism with automated sliding-door system, motorized bellows, electromagnetic valve, sixty-one brown paper bags, custom circuitry, respiration tubing, sensors, computer. Installation view. Photo: Guy L’Heureux.

    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.

  • Sondra Perry, Graft and Ash for a Three-Monitor Workstation, 2016, bicycle workstation, video, color, sound, 9 minutes 5 seconds. From “Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today.” Photo: Caitlin Cunningham.

    “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

  • Camille Henrot, Grosse Fatigue, 2013, video, color, sound, 13 minutes. From “Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today.”

    “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:

  • Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, Material Want (detail), 2016. Rendering. From “Open Codes: Living in Digital Worlds.”

    “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, Pixelwald (Pixel Forest), 2016, mixed media. Installation view. Photo: Maris Hutchinson.

    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