Adult Contemporary seems a particularly appropriate title for this latest exhibition of new work by the now 30 year-old darling of new media art, for Arcangel can be seen here as either having a) finally grown up, or b) having fully sold-out. In actuality, however, both and neither are true as Arcangel continues to explore the possibilities that exist at the intersection of theory, humor, and technological breakdown. Adult Contemporary is made up of six autonomous works — a projection from a VHS tape; a 16mm film; a large fabricated c-print; a self-playing videogame; two computers corresponding; and a suite of monoprints.
The term “adult” also suggests deeper levels within the work, taking the form of both formal rigor and emotional engagement. Certainly the aggressive and multivalent use of color throughout the exhibition shows Arcangel flexing his muscles and expanding his boundaries in the use of differing media. Far beyond the gee-whiz inventiveness of his earlier work, and its always light-hearted referencing of post-60s conceptual art and performance, these new pieces seem to clearly foreground the possibilities of an expanded poetics for Arcangel. The manner in which this show courts the melancholic and explores a thematic of failure increases its readerly potential pointing to the likelihood that, as he develops, Arcangel’
s self-introspection and artistic grasp continues to grow.