Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today is the first major thematic group exhibition in the United States to examine the radical impact of internet culture on visual art. Featuring 60 artists, collaborations, and collectives, the exhibition is comprised of over 70 works across a variety of mediums, including painting, performance, photography, sculpture, video, web-based projects, and virtual reality.
This exhibition features work of an international, intergenerational group of artists, including Cory Arcangel, Judith Barry, Dara Birnbaum, Harun Farocki, Juliana Huxtable, Mark Leckey, Trevor Paglen, Nam June Paik, Sondra Perry, Thomas Ruff, Frances Stark, and Anicka Yi.
The exhibition is divided into five sections that explore themes such as emergent ideas of the body and notions of human enhancement; the internet as a site of both surveillance and resistance; the circulation and control of images and information; the possibilities for exploring identity and community afforded by virtual domains; and new economies of visibility accelerated by social media.
Throughout, the work in the exhibition addresses the internet-age democratization of culture that comprises our current moment. The earliest work in the exhibition is from 1989, the year that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.
This development, and others that followed in quick succession, modernized the internet, and in the process radically changed our way of life―from how we access and generate information, make friends and share experiences, to how we imagine our future bodies and how nations police national security. 1989 also marked a watershed moment across the globe, with significant shifts in politics, geographies, and economies.
Events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and protests in Tiananmen Square signaled the beginning of our current globalized age, which cannot be imagined without the internet. Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today is organized by Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, with Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator.
A generously illustrated scholarly publication, co-published with Yale University Press, accompanies the exhibition. The publication features a range of established and emerging scholars, critics, and curators, including Kim Conaty, Lauren Cornell, Tim Griffin, Caitlin Jones, Caroline A. Jones, Thomas J. Lax, Omar Kholeif, Gloria Sutton, and the exhibition’s organizers.
The catalogue also features topical conversations between artists Lynn Hershman Leeson and Hito Steyerl, Paul Pfeiffer and Josh Kline, and Martine Syms and Wu Tsang. Art in the Age of the Internet is also accompanied by an extensive web platform, designed by Wkshps, which will expand on the themes and works in the exhibition by including additional content, such as special projects by artists in the exhibition.
Art in the Age of the Internet is the lead exhibition in a region-wide exploration of art and technology. Fourteen art organizations and educational institutions will offer a range of exhibitions, performances, film screenings, and talks all exploring the relationship between art and technology in celebration of the Boston area’s rich history of technical innovation.
There will also be a series of performances and lectures relating to art and technology at the ICA. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Major support is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.