April 13, 2017

Post Analog to r/place

I'm thinking about the group show at The Hole, Post Analog Painting II. While the press release reads more intelligently than the paintings collectively in the exhibition, the show does a great job showcasing the preoccupations of young artists who are reflecting the early stages of our information age. Despite the vaunted promise of forecasting, my thoughts kept insistently indexing the recent past as I looked over the sprawling show. Great skills are in abundance to be sure (masking, spray paint, precision), but I kept thinking about the Chicago School of Ed Pashke and Peter Saul... of more recent -but still past- Vaporware and Simpsonwave... of the artists in NYC who made art about the dawning digital epoch back in the late 90's. Compare this, in contrast to thoughts that I had as I toured DIA Beacon: that the conceptualists surrounding Sol LeWitt were clairvoyant in that they anticipated an information age that wouldn't dawn for decades to come.

Perhaps this inversion/introversion stems from the navel gazing quality of the curation and the thinking of the (...generation of?) the artists involved. The very act of reflecting the digital into the analog does this a la vez. A feedback loop and infinite recursion. Flowing qualities of the discrete back into the continuously variable might have a tendency to rob the digital of the attributes that could have ported in all that weird quantum stuff: superposition, spooky action at a distance, the both/and of time/space - particle/wave, the simultaneity of the alive/dead-ness of Schrödinger's Cat, the slipperiness of identity.

Art has always had the ambition of erasing the boundary between it and life. The trouble comes when the pursuit of "the Now" short circuits the second sight of what is just beyond our horizon. When you compare art directly to life, life always wins. That's why art needs the boundary (frame) redrawn immediately after it's enlarged and erased. As an example of how life wins, witness the recent phenomena of Reddit's April Fool's Day adventure called r/place (videos below). Here's a link to a large file of the finished image for your perusal.

Posted by Dennis at April 13, 2017 2:15 PM

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