“Programmed” at the Whitney Museum

The exhibition “Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, !965-2018” currently on display at the Whitney Museum offers a broad sample of Art created using rules and computation. Including both early examples as well as more contemporary work this show highlights the progression of algorithmic art. Sol Lewitt was a pioneer of this type of conceptually generated work.
Lewitt’s wall drawing “4th wall 24 lines from the center, 12 lines from the midpoint of each of the sides, 12 lines from each corner” from “Wall Drawing #289”, 1976 is featured prominently in the first gallery. On display in the same room are Casey Reas’ video installations “(Software) Structure #003 A” and “(Software) Structure #003 B”.
Here is a still shot.
These videos are in direct response to the work of Sol Lewitt. Like Lewitt’s wall drawings Reas begins the process for each video with a verbal description but then generates the images using computer programming.
Cheyney Thompson uses the Drunken Walk Algorithm to facilitate the building of concrete sculptures.
“Broken Volumes (10L)” 2013 was constructed using one-inch concrete cubes, the placement of each successive cube is decided by the Drunken or Random Walk Algorithm. Each sculpture in the series is comprised of 10 Liters of cubes. The random nature of the decision making process for each permutation does not take into account the structural integrity of the sculpture. Some of the pieces break because sections become too heavy. The contrast between the rigid nature of rule based processes and the physical limits of the materials offers insight into the dichotomies of technology and physicality.
Susan Happersett
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Daniel Lefcourt at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

“Terraform” is Daniel Lefcourt’s current solo exhibition of new paintings at the Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery in Chelsea. Lefcourt has painted a series of abstract aerial landscapes. Created using algorithmic processes, they reference scientific, industrial and military imaging.
The painting “Terraform (Soundings)” from 2018 was generated by first staining the canvas and then tracing and diagramming stains. These overview maps of fictional landscapes utilize rule based systems and offer commentary on power of technological surveillance.
Susan Happersett

Michael Anastassiades at 10 Corso Como

10 Corso Como has recently opened a NY  location of the famous Milanese store. Like its Italian counterpart the new retail space at the Seaport in lower Manhattan features an art gallery.
Michael Anastassiades installation “Arrangements” is all about scale. Based on the concept of jewelry the designer creates over sized geometric outlines using rods of light to fill the gallery space.
Each arrangement is constructed using a singular geometric theme.
Here is a structure made up of circles.
And a type of curtain composed of squares.
It is great to see a large retail establishment that is dedicated to cultural endeavors and provides a large dedicated art exhibition space.
Susan Happersett

Analia Saban at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

“Punched Card”, Analia Saban’s solo exhibition, includes work from the artists “Tapestry” series. This series introduces two very interesting dichotomies. The patterns presented in these weavings are circuits boards that allude to the history of computers into the digital age. The title of each work references the actual technical hardware. This is juxtaposed with the process of weaving on Jacquard looms that was one of the first industrial uses of binary analog systems.

“Tapestry [1,024 Bit[1K] Dynamic RAM,1103,Intel,1970]”

For these weavings, Saban uses linen thread for the warp and strips of dried acrylic paint for the weft. This choice of materials opens the dialog about the distinctions between what has been considered fine art (painting) and craft (weaving). The first weaving you see as you walk into the gallery (above) is hung on a wall, but farther into the space there is an installation of tapestries hung from the ceiling.
Image 3

“Tapestry[Computer Chip, TMS 1000, Texas Instruments, 1974]

This installation technique allows the viewer to walk around the textiles and get better understanding of the weaving process.
This series of work highlights two topics that have are currently important and intertwined in art and society today, the development of technology and the artificial hierarchies in culture.
Susan Happersett

“Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computer” at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

This week a guest blog entry by Elizabeth Whiteley

If you are planning to visit London very soon, consider viewing “Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computer.” The exhibit is at the V&A Museum until November 18. It’s a small and well selected show of pioneering work since 1968. That year there was an international show titled “Cybernetic Serendipity” at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. Many of those artists are included in this exhibit.

Vera Molnar (French, born 1924) detail from “Interruptions”

One of the wall notes contains a description of the way images were produced in the early years of computer-generated art. Next to a work by George Nees it says “The plotter was operated by feeding punched tape into a computer that used the instruction to direct a pen across a drawing surface. As the computer had no screen, Nees would not have been able to fully anticipate the appearance of the resulting drawing.” Nowadays, we can preview an image pixel by pixel!

Manfred Mohr (French, born 1938), detail from “P-049” from the portfolio “Scratch Code”

Georg Nees (German, 1926-2016), “Untitled’ [red black]

 Thanks for your contribution Elizabeth! Next week more New York art.

Susan Happersett

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at bitforms gallery

“Confirmation Bias” is the current solo exhibition for Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at bitforms gallery. The term confirmation bias relates to how information or data is interpreted in a way that favors one’s preexisting ideas believes and preferences. This can pose a negative effect on scientific study.
“Vanishing Points”is a data generated screen based work form 2018 that reacts in real time to the position of the viewer in the gallery. Using software that adjusts the grids to form a vanishing point that corresponds to the viewers perspective.
“Vanishing Point” has mathematical themes on numerous levels. The use of geometry to create the changing grids is just the beginning. Using computer algorithms Lozano-Hemmer takes the work outside of the 2 dimensions of the flat screens into the 3 dimensions of the gallery while adding the element of time. The concept of confirmed bias relates to the the societal implications of numerical data and how it can be distorted due to peoples existing opinions and feelings.
Susan Happersett

Matthew Larson at Massey Klein

The Massey Klein gallery’s is currently presenting “Vice Versa” a solo exhibition of Matthew Larson’s fiber works. Having developed a unique and arduous technique of embedding parallel rows of yarn into Velcro, Larson has created a series of stretched linen panels with geometric themes.
“Flat Structure” from 2017 at first glance seems to be a square with a diagonal line. Upon closer inspection that line is actually formed by a bend in each of the sections of yarn at the left upper corner.
Every line of yarn is s different length running from the right side of the square to the bottom. The nature of the fibrous material makes each bend slightly curvilinear, adding a subtle organic element to the geometric form. This juxtaposition of the idea of a straight edge square with a diagonal line with the softer corner folds creates a fascinating composition.

Susan Happersett

Tom Bronk at Andrew Edlin Gallery

Concentric squares have been a popular theme for geometric painters like Josef Albers and Frank Stella. Tom Bronk has added a fresh and frenetic quality to the form.
 Bronk’s painting “96(e)-1” from 1996 is currently display as part of his solo exhibition at the Andrew Edlin Gallery.
Featuring narrow horizontal bands of alternating contrasting colors, the squares seem to vibrate right off the canvas.
Tom Bronk is a self-taught artist having never attended an official traditional art school. But he did  interact with artists since arriving in NYC in the 1970’s. He worked as  a wall painter at the Leo Castelli Gallery and was introduced to the trends in contemporary art. That influenced combined with his inherent appreciation of geometry has resulted in an exciting body of work.
Susan Happersett

Adrian Piper at MOMA

It is the final two weeks of Adrian Piper’s MOMA retrospective titled “Adrian Piper A Synthesis Of Intuitions 1965-2016”. This exhibition features work from Piper’s diverse career. The first few rooms include excellent examples of early conceptual work with Mathematical themes.
“Nine -Part Floating Square” from 1967 features nine canvases positioned to for a 3X3 square each canvas is divided into 3X3 grid. A selection of grid squares on each canvas is painted with gesso to form a 6X6 square that stretches across all of the panels in an off center position.
“Infinitely Divisible  Floor Construction”  first constructed in 1968 consists of squares of particle board and lines of white tape.The first square is undivided, the next arrangement is four sections each divided into 4 squares (2X2 grid), the third arrangement  is nine sections each divided into 16 squares (4X4 grid), the largest formation features sixteen boards each divided into 64 squares (8X8 grid). This work becomes an parade of squares with in squares that becomes more intense as it marches across the gallery floor, highlighting the geometric structure of the squares as well as referencing the more abstract concept of mathematical infinity.
Piper continued to use the tenets of conceptual art in her practice but the themes changed. Societal concerns, especially racial discrimination became the subject matter of much of the work.  I realize the main emphasis of this blog is to discuss the Mathematical connections to Art, but I hope that anyone who is in NYC goes to MOMA to see this show not only for the Math Art but takes the time to experience the entire timely exhibition.
Susan Happersett

Barry McGee at Cheim & Read Gallery

Known for his free-for-all type of installations, Barry McGee is consistent in his unpredictability. His newest display at Cheim & Read Gallery consists of hundreds of objects. There are stacks of objects and dozens of paintings on canvas wood and cardboard. There is one prevalent theme throughout the space and that is the use of geometric patterning.

“Untitled”, 2017

This collection of shaped paintings is a single work of art. Each shape is filled with a tiling of  geometric patterns.
Here is an example of a tiling made up of  yellow Rhombuses and isosceles triangles in two shades of red.
This black and white design features squares set on the diagonal with alternating bands of black and white.

“Untitled”, 2017

Here is another wall in the gallery, consisting of a collection of framed works on paper. The wall has been sculpted to bulge out at the bottom. In this assortment of drawings there are more of the tilings, but there are also illustrations of geometric figures.
Within the random nature of McGee’s installation the impressive use of mathematical patterning becomes a unifying factor.
Susan Happersett