Rhizome presents The Art Happens Here: Net Art’s Archival Poetics, curated by Michael Connor, Artistic Director, Rhizome, with Aria Dean, Assistant Curator, and on view from January 22 to May 26, 2019, in the New Museum’s Lobby Gallery.
Presenting sixteen artworks selected from Net Art Anthology– Rhizome’s major online exhibition of one hundred works from throughout net art history, which proposes a possible canon for net art—the exhibition culminates this two-year research and preservation initiative, leveraging Rhizome’s unique expertise in the history of network culture and the display of born-digital art.
Dating from 1985 to the present, the works in The Art Happens Here make use of a wide range of mediums—including websites, software, sculpture, graphics, books, and merchandise—and represent a historical perspective on the breadth of net art practice. The artworks also offer distinct approaches to a central problem inherent in net art: how to come to terms with a dynamic, rapidly changing network culture while also actively participating in it.
Among the works on view will be Shu Lea Cheang’s Garlic=RichAir (2002), an interactive online trading game and performance in which garlic functions as currency in an imagined postcapitalist future; Alexei Shulgin’s 386 DX (1998–2013), the world’s first cyberpunk rock band, which performs MIDI and text-to-speech renditions of musical hits; Sister Unn’s(2012), an installation by Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski based on a mysterious storefront in Queens that led passersby to an equally enigmatic website, exemplifying the links between real and virtual space; and a new restoration of Mark Tribe’s Starrynight (1999), a landmark artist-made interface to Rhizome’s listserve archives that Tribe created with Alexander Galloway and Martin Wattenberg.
In 2018, Rhizome celebrates fifteen years as an affiliate of the New Museum. “The past decade and a half have marked an extraordinary period of growth for Rhizome,” remarked Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director, New Museum, “and The Art Happens Here is a true culmination of the wide-ranging and necessary work Rhizome is doing in this field.”
Zachary Kaplan, Executive Director of Rhizome, added, “The Art Happens Here and the Anthology synthesize Rhizome’s two-decades-plus trajectory as a champion of born-digital art and culture; net-focused research and scholarship, digital preservation leadership, and our powerful affiliation with the New Museum are all represented.”
Artist List: Morehshin Allahyari, Cory Arcangel, Shu Lea Cheang, Aleksandra Domanović, Entropy8Zuper! (Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn), YoHa (Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji), Eduardo Kac, Olia Lialina, Brian Mackern, et. al., Miao Yin, MTAA (Michael Sarff and Tim Whidden), Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski, Bogosi Sekhukhuni, Alexei Shulgin, Wolfgang Staehle, Mark Tribe with Alexander Galloway and Martin Wattenberg.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue edited by Connor with Dean, which will include entries on each of the one hundred artworks in Net Art Anthology along with contributions by Josephine Bosma, Paul Soulellis, Manuel Arturo Abreu, and others. Thoma Foundation provided major support for this exhibition and publication. The Foundation has been lead partner for the entirety of the Net Art Anthology initiative.
The New Museum is the only museum in New York City exclusively devoted to contemporary art. Founded in 1977, the New Museum is a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists from around the world. From its beginnings as a one-room office on Hudson Street to the inauguration of its first freestanding building on the Bowery designed by SANAA in 2007, the New Museum continues to be a place of experimentation and a hub of new art and new ideas.
Rhizome champions born-digital art and culture through artist-centered programs that commission, present, and preserve art made with and through digital networks and tools. Online since 1996, the organization is an affiliate of the iconic New Museum in New York City.