Claudia Hart’s new exhibition focuses on the masters of Modernism, Matisse in particular, an artist whose work straddles early 19th-century and Modern art galleries in most museums. But it’s not the stylistic shift from one to the other that interests her, rather the very modern phenomenon Matisse also straddles: copyright. Matisse’s work remains under copyright in the US, because of the country’s prohibitive laws, unlike that of earlier artists which has since entered the public domain. Hart’s use of Matisse seems to relish the contradiction at the core of modern and contemporary art today; in a field with so much appropriation, borrowing, and stealing, what does copyright mean anyway?
Hart’s interest isn’t limited to painting and copyright, as she sees parallels between the digital world and physical image making, much like the way 19th-century photography influenced the painting of its time. The Ruins plays with the visual culture of this period but makes it anew via animate sculptures, augmented wallpapers, and animations
In the larger, Matisse-inspired digital works that dominate this solo exhibition, Hart references a number of his well-known Fauvist paintings, but knowing the references doesn’t feel essential. Their five-minute loops imbue a quiet and calm quality that suggests a meditative space. The plants sway but never grow, the clocks turn with their own rhythmic pace, refusing to tell time but conveying a sense of it nonetheless. The scale and rectangular formats recall windows, which also evokes a favorite trope used by Matisse in his art.
While the three digital works are the more enthralling and vivid of the bunch, the exhibition is named for the larger, three-channel work that dominates one wall. This peculiar work leads you through a labyrinth populated by well-known 19th-century and early 20th-century paintings. Speakers softly play texts penned by four white male utopians: Henry Ford, Thomas Jefferson, Walter Gropius, and Jim Jones. Ford’s portion sounds like it was read by Mickey Mouse, while Jones’s portion is read with a demon-like voice, raising questions of what constitutes utopia and what ruins they are built upon.
Hart pokes at the art world’s obsession with technology and radicalism as both an end and a form of commodity. She avoids capturing moments and images, and prefers to simulate them in her digital creations. By making still lives come to life, Hart plays with the fantasy of breathing life into the static. It’s unclear if she is trying to resuscitate these tired, old forms that have been reproduced infinitum, or if she is proving how dead they truly are.
Claudia Hart: The Ruins continues through October 24 at Bitforms gallery (131 Allen Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan).
This week: New York’s disappearing alleys, Wolfgang Tillmans’s fading star, Velma Dinkley is gay, and more.
The technology isn’t available for public use, but Meta (formerly Facebook) released a series of eerie sample clips based on prompts like “cat watching TV” and “spaceship landing.”
Fall shows at the Chicago art space explore how same-sex desire became the basis for a new identity category and celebrate the cosmic work of an acclaimed Chicago-based artist.
There’s high demand in the country for the nostalgia-soaked Instagram videos of sister duo Zainab and Sakina Sabunwala.
Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion transforms a historic bank in Manhattan into the unlikely setting of an immersive art experience one visitor called “mesmerizing.”
Masterworks of American Landscape Painting at the Center for Figurative Painting makes clear that the term “landscape” has been widely interpreted.
The artist’s work quietly asks: How do we read and write the world we live in?
Funded fellowships support on-site graduate and postdoctoral research spanning a variety of disciplines on cultural works in the center’s collections.
Warsaw Gallery Weekend and Fringe Warszawa hope to offer long-term solutions for a thriving art scene in Warsaw when skyrocketing inflation and a lack of affordable studio spaces have become the new norm.
But Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who says the UK is “cornered,” plans to insist on the marbles’ return during a visit this year.
The Art Dealers Association of America is expanding its natural disaster relief program, and announced $60k in grants to six US nonprofits.