Monday, September 29, 2008

PREDRIVE: After Technology


Friday, November 14, 2008 | 8.00PM - 10.00PM

The Futurist-like newspeak that is often used to describe new media and web-based artworks is amusing, but limited. Technology is a tool, not necessarily a portal to another universe. Text messages, social networking web sites like Facebook and MySpace, weblogs, and a revolving door of tech-dujour applications promise to make our day to day lives easier and more efficient. Accessing information is no longer an overwhelming task — but a seductive, instantaneous experience.

PREDRIVE: After Technology features new works by six international artists including Takeshi Murata, Brody Condon, Paperrad, Gretchen Skogerson, and Antoine Catala that interrogate the “aesthetics of immediacy” produced by these technologies in contemporary art. The exhibition, guest-curated by Melissa Ragona, explores themes of digital effects and dysfunctions, readymade cyber-kitsch, software aesthetics, and the performativity of digital environments in real space.



Takeshi Murata
pushes the boundaries of animation and psychedelia with sophisticated code-based image processing. In the hypnotic video installation Monster Movie, a B-movie decomposes and reconstitutes 30 times per second, becoming a seething, digital morass of color and form. “Murata’s particular genius is an almost alchemical ability to transform forgotten relics of pop culture into dazzling jewels,” comments ARTFORUM. Takeshi has participated in numerous international gallery and museum exhibitions. Recent exhibitions include a solo project with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington DC) and participation in Automatic Update at the Museum of Modern Art (New York).  | ARTIST WEBSITE  |


Paperrad synthesizes popular material from television, comics, video games, and advertising, allowing these materials to contextualize and cross-reference each other. The three primary members are Jacob Ciocci, Jessica Ciocci, and Ben Jones. They make comics, zines, video art, net art, MIDI files, paintings, installations, and perform in a variety of bands. Although they continue to publish their own zines, music, and online content, they have shown at galleries including Pace Wildenstein and Deitch Projects and have exhibited in Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, Boston, as well as in Norway, Germany, Canada and England.   |  ARTIST WEBSITE  |

Condon_1  Condon_2

Brody Condon
’s reverse engineering and exploitation of 3D game development technologies produce disturbing, highly aestheticized moving images, often accompanied by live performances. Brody attempts to locate, or fabricate, situations and visual works where computer games and game culture leak outside of the box and into our lived experience. The work finds its final form in a variety of media including software, video, and sculpture. He is currently working with the collaborative C-Level on a series of 3D games based on “alternative utopias and apocalyptic moments.”   |  ARTIST WEBSITE  |


Gretchen Skogerson’s video work and interactive installations include DRIVE THRU (2006) and The American Disaster Series, an ongoing group of abstract, experimental shorts that, according to the artist, “reflect a portion of the unease within the contemporary American psyche.” Skogerson, an Assistant Professor of Film and Video at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, was featured in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, and has exhibited video/film, installation and robotic-oriented work at various national and international venues, including Anthology Film Archives, Boston Cyberarts Festival, g-niale, Independent Exposures, Kasseler Documentary Film and Video Festival, MadCat Women’s International Film Festival, New York Video Festival, Oni Gallery, Thaw, and Women in the Director’s Chair.   |  ARTIST WEBSITE  |


Antoine Catala’s video installations engage the viewer to acknowledge the medium’s very own snags and glitches. In his digital diptychs, he enhances imperfections, renders errors, and other visual malformations to generate complex faceted figures. In rethinking portraiture, he delivers haunted digital composites that move the face across the screen in halting, often painful transmutations of subjectivity. His practice includes performance-based works and curating as a medium. A New York-based French artist, Antoine was schooled in Sonic and Fine Arts at Middlesex and London Guildhall Universities in London. His work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Mexico, and the UK.  |  ARTIST WEBSITE  |


Melissa Ragona’s critical and creative work focuses on sound design, film theory, and new media practice and reception. Her current book project, Readymade Sound: Andy Warhol’s Recording Aesthetics, examines Warhol’s tape recording projects from the mid-sixties through the late-seventies in light of audio experiments in modern art and current practices in media technologies. Her essays in film and sound criticism have been published in the MIT Press Journal, October; Duke University, Illinois and Ashgate presses. Ragona’s catalogue essays on contemporary artists have included Heike Mutter, Ulrich Genth, and Christian Jankowski. Ragona has curated film and video exhibitions and festivals for national and international venues, including a production of Miranda July’s Swan Tool, as well as the films and videos of experimental filmmakers Peggy Ahwesh, Pat O’Neill, Yvonne Rainer, and Benton Bainbridge. She currently teaches in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pittsburgh City Paper Reviews IAOS

by Melissa Kuntz

Both literally and metaphorically, the theme of Inner and Outer Space is evoked in the work of nine artists currently showing at the Mattress Factory. Organized by independent New York-based curator Dara Meyers-Kinsley [sic], the exhibition presents "inner and outer space" as both the form and content of the works. The title nods to the show's approach to artistic practices, as well as to such relationships as private/public, interior/exterior or earthly/cosmic. (CONTINUE READING)


Have you seen INNER AND OUTER SPACE? Do you agree or disagree with this review? Post your opinion in the comments or send us a link to your review and we'll post it here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Art Auction Catalog Additions - 9/24/2008

Today's additions to the auction catalog are below. Click the image to view details. New lots are rolling in each day, so stay tuned for frequent updates.

LOT 9 : Ruth Stanford, Sculpture

LOT 27: Kim Jones, Photograph

LOT 72: Mary Temple, Drawing

LOT 91: John Latham, Sculpture

LOT 116: Margo Sawyer, Sculpture

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two Articles of Note.

Just two recent articles of note:
  • Installation artist Ann Hamilton wins Heinz Award (via LA Times)
  • Indian Art Sale Draws Bidders from 32 Nations (via The Economic Times)

    How do they relate to this post?

  • Ann Hamilton has donated a piece to the MF's Anniversary Art Auction
  • Hema Upadhyay and Raqs Media Collective have donated pieces to the MF's Anniversary Art Auction

    More information about the Art Auction can be found HERE.
  • ArtKrush reviews INNER AND OUTER SPACE

    at the Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh)
    Now through January 11, 2009

    Across town from the galactic-themed Carnegie International exhibit Life on Mars, the Mattress Factory brings together nine artists who explore art and space in Inner and Outer Space. Modern art's spatial investigations are reprised in Luca Buvoli's sculptural Instant Before Incident (Marinetti's Drive 1908), representing futurist pioneer F.T. Marinetti's fateful car crash; recalling a three-dimensional futurist painting, the piece literally leaps out of the gallery through a window. Bahamas-born Tavares Strachan collaborated with scientists from Carnegie Mellon to develop a robotic rover that explores a fictional stellar landscape in Where Do We Go from Here and reports back to a command center in the museum parking lot. The museum space is further transformed by Mary Temple's pair of trompe l'oeil installation paintings of shadows, while Sarah Oppenheimer provides an unusual vantage point with her hole in the floor.

    (reviewed by Brian Skar for ArtKrush)


    Have you seen INNER AND OUTER SPACE? Do you agree or disagree with this review? Post your opinion in the comments or send us a link to your review and we'll post it here.

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    ArtForum reviews INNER AND OUTER SPACE

    at the Mattress Factory
    April 25, 2008 – January 11, 2009

    Desire for a dialogue with the history of Pittsburgh, the architecture of the Mattress Factory’s main building, and the James Turrell and Yayoi Kusama installations on permanent view prompted New York–based curator Dara Meyers-Kingsley to bring together nine artists under the titular theme. Spatial and psychological issues mark much of today’s art, yet this show constitutes a fresh approach to the subject, as the selected works address their environment in an intellectually and sensorially challenging manner.


    Sarah Oppenheimer’s 610-3356 (all works 2008) consists of an aperture that intersects both the floor and the window of two small rooms on different stories of the edifice, allowing new views into the street. The work’s title references a system the artist devised to classify the materials used in her works. Optical questions also define Mary Temple’s Transparent Brick Wall for Kusama: a wall painting, done in the artist’s signature style, that features a subtle silhouette of a tree, as if its shadow were cast through a nearby window. Daniel Canogar’s Midnight Plumber I and Midnight Plumber II add bodily forms to the trompe l’oeil effect: In two adjacent, darkened rooms, Canogar presents a complex net of fiber-optic cables and projected slides of different humanlike figures in a state of suspended animation.

    In Instant Before Incident (Marinetti’s Drive 1908), Luca Buvoli references the famous car crash caused by Futurism founder Filippo Marinetti by stringing, from floor to ceiling and through a window, a long chain of replicas of the early-twentieth-century Fiat driven by the Italian poet. By intertwining traditions of culture and economy in Italy and the US, Buvoli explores the heroic mythologies of national identity. Sensitively mixing physical and mental interpretations of the exhibition’s organizing principle, the nine artists push the boundaries of established notions such as space and perception, breaking ground for new trends in the relationship between art and the built world.

    (reviewed by Miguel Amado for ArtForum)


    Have you seen INNER AND OUTER SPACE? Do you agree or disagree with this review? Post your opinion in the comments or send us a link to your review and we'll post it here.

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    ARTIST SPOTLIGHT :: Damien Hirst

    With Damien Hirst's Beautiful Inside My Head Forever auction at Sotheby's making international waves lately [ 1 - 2 - 3 ], it might be prudent to mention here that the Mattress Factory was the first museum to show Hirst's work in the United States.


    Bad Environment for White Monochrome Paintings (1993)
    Steel, glass, acrylic on canvas, plastic containers for food and water, sarchophaga and musca domestica
    500 Sampsonia Way, 4th floor

    A 50-foot corridor of glass and steel separates the viewing public from the gallery. There are four white monochrome paintings, 7' x 7', in each of two galleries. Three, hanging on the walls, are sprayed with sugar water. One, propped horizontally on sawhorses, is sprayed with a clear adhesive that never dries.

    In front of each painting are four black bowls. One bowl contains powdered sugar and powdered milk; another, covered with gauze, contains water. Two contain a mixture of molasses, wheat germ, yeast, and water, where flies would lay their eggs. Initially maggots were placed in the medium, to begin the natural process. As the maggots become flies, they drink the water and eat the food, which is changed regularly.

    The installation opened with a pristine cleanliness. As time passed, the flies multiplied, and the space and the canvases became dirtier and dirtier.

    Friday Video Fun


    2008 Performance and music video by Benjamin Kinsley and John Rubin
    This video was filmed live on the street in front of the Mattress Factory's Annex Gallery during the opening reception for Illustrations of Catastrophe and Remote Times (January 18, 2008).

    A video shot by leroykingofart of the whole thing going down:

    Have a great weekend. And don't forget, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh's JAZZ/POETRY CONCERT is Saturday night. See you there.

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    ARTIST SPOTLIGHT :: Daniel Canogar


    Midnight Plumber I, 2008
    fiber optic cables, 24 zoom attachments, 24 slides, projector

    Midnight Plumber II, 2008
    scrap metal, fiber optic cables, 24 zoom attachments, 24 slides, projector

    Working with fiber optic cable, photographs and projectors formed into spider-like sculptures that suspend from the gallery ceiling, Daniel Canogar projects slides onto the dark gallery walls. Fascinated by zero gravity and the experience of weightlessness, Canogar found the fiber optic medium to be perfect for projecting photographic slides of figures and forms that seem to float in a three-dimensional universe while on a two-dimensional wall.

    Canogar’s work explores our contemporary journey in search of weightlessness and how our compulsive distancing from Earth has changed us forever. For these installations, he scoured local recycling centers around Pittsburgh to find metallic scrap for the installation. Canogar was drawn to the sculptural quality of the waste and also for its particular significance to Pittsburgh—a monument to the city’s great industrial past.

    Daniel Canogar - "Midnight Plumber 1"

    Canogar’s work reminds us of our place in the larger universe, and our responsibility to the planet. The works mean to connect literally and figuratively—engaging these connections through the photographic process. He invited Mattress Factory staff members, their families and friends, and an even larger network of participants—local dancers and acrobats—to be models in a photo shoot, hanging from harnesses.

    In the first installation, the single fiber optic projector sits high in the small space, with cables cascading down, tethered and then projecting on the wall—24 images of figures from 24 tentacles. The figures look weightless wrapped in scrap metal. The whole ensemble of images seems as if pulled together by some strange gravitational force. It is a cluster of bodies and junk pulled together.

    Daniel Canogar - "Midnight Plumber 1"Daniel Canogar - "Midnight Plumber 1"

    In the second installation, the work has exploded. The fiber optic cables snake through the floating scrap metal so that projections cast on the wall hit people’s bodies when walking through space. The gravitational pull in the first installation has let loose, and now there is a sense of an expansion of all of this—creating a virtual expansion of the actual room.

    Daniel Canogar - "Midnight Plumber 2"

    Daniel Canogar - "Midnight Plumber 2"