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.
Contemporary artists are faced with an ever-widening palette of tools to use for creative work. Each of these various mediums requires a growing base of expertise to combat its eccentricities and pitfalls. In this sense, a growing sector of artists is always faced with failure — not only in terms of their “message”but also in terms of their choice of material and their manipulations thereof. Arcangel lives in this world, a place whose citizens are always running from obsolescence.
Arcangel states: “Imagine me buying some video equipment off of eBay, turning it on, pressing some random buttons, and then calling whatever comes out my ‘work.’ This mind-set is the spirit of Adult Contemporary. In contrast to some of my older work, which exercised a somewhat subversive use of modern digital tools, the pieces in this show are inspired by the idea of using technology exactly as it was designed, although in a manner best described as ‘non-expert.’ What if the possibility of using a system poorly in an uneducated manner were celebrated? What if I, as an artist, attached my name to the aesthetics of different eras of technology without really bothering to do my homework or even reading the manual (so to speak)?”
This is Arcangel’s third solo at Team. In New York his work has also been shown at The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, P.S.1, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and at the New Museum. At the age of 26, he was the subject of a monographic exhibition at Zurich’s Migros Museum and, over the past five years, his works have been included in major museum group shows the world over. Arcangel has also had solo gallery shows in Paris, Salzburg, Geneva, Brussels, Stockholm, and London.
Following the reception at the gallery (6 to 8pm, Friday, November 14th), Arcangel will unveil a new performance piece, Continual Partial Awareness, at the New Museum, 235 Bowery, at 8:30pm. Tickets are $8.00 and are available from the museum.
Nov 14 – Dec20th, reception Nov14, 6-8pm.
83 Grand Street