BASEL, Switzerland — The opening of Art Basel earlier this week wasn’t anything you wouldn’t expect at the Swiss fair: The world’s wealthiest were queuing at the entrance, half-forcing their way in by pushing and jumping, in the same way that people run into Walmart on Boxing Day.
To see the New Museum’s Free exhibition, you’ll have to fork over at least enough dough to make the $12 admission fee. For an exhibition that’s all about the limitless dispersion of culture quickly, easily and cheaply through the internet, the title presents an unmissable irony.
Despite the joke, Free represents a rare chance of looking at the visual and information cultures of the internet in a controlled context rather than in the anarchy of their native habitat. The New Museum is presenting a chance for removal, a step back from the computer screen and onto the wall. Not so much an escape from commodity or currency culture, Free pushes the boundaries of how we look at the flow of cultural artifacts themselves.
Lauren Cornell, Executive Director of Rhizome, gives us a taste of what we can expect from her exciting new exhibition, Free, at the New Museum this fall. Incorporating 23 artists, Free will reflect “artistic strategies that have emerged in a radically democratized landscape redefined by the impact of the web.”