It’s opening day for the New Museum’s third triennial, a fascinating exploration of the digital world. The international exhibition, Surround Audience, features 51 artists from 25 countries. It will be open through May 24. Here’s how the Lower East Side institution describes the sweeping survey:
“Surround Audience” explores the effects of an increasingly connected world both on our sense of self and identity as well as on art’s form and larger social role. The exhibition looks at our immediate present, a time when culture has become more porous and encompassing and new considerations about art’s role and potential are surfacing. Artists are responding to these evolving conditions in a number of ways, from calculated appropriations to critical interrogations to surreal or poetic statements.
In a preview earlier this month, the New York Times wrote that the 2015 Triennial would “take on the widely debated and often misunderstood ideas of ‘posthuman’ and ‘post-Internet’ art as squarely as any American museum has.” The show is co-curated by the New Museum’s Lauren Cornell and artist Ryan Trecartin. It includes sculptures, paintings, videos, comedy, poetry, sound art dance and, as the Wall Street Journal noted noted today, even an online satirical talk show.
In one piece, Brooklyn sculptor Frank Benson offers a life-size nude representation of downtown transgender performance artist Juliana Huxtable. Another artist Josh Kline uses video to reimagine President Obama’s inaugural address, making a powerful statement about the emptiness of political rhetoric. One critic, Andrew Russeth, was clearly impressed:
The New Museum’s forward-looking third triennial, “Surround Audience,” is dark and anxious, and cut through with levity and humor. It sees quite a few intriguing young artists stepping up their games, and it introduces others to these shores. In short, it is very strong. Strictly speaking, though, you can’t call it pleasurable. It’s too clear-eyed about contemporary problems and tensions (including racism, surveillance, and technological isolation). But many of its 51 artists, most born in the 1980s, approach our bleak present moment—a “soft dystopia,” New York artist Josh Kline succinctly terms it in the show’s catalogue—with equanimity. I left the museum feeling both uncomfortable and impressed, with the electric sensation that new ideas are on the rise.
Click here for more details about the New Museum’s Triennial.