"I think we've lost the ability to just be human with each other...and we've lost a way of even talking about what's going on in our country that needs fixing as a collective body. And so that's part of the reason why I think this kind of work is still important." — Leigh Fondakowski
Happy Friday the 13th! Have we got some lucky picks at museums and an intimate performance for one for your immersive and interactive pleasures. Both the Whitney Museum of American Art and the New Museum are doing retrospectives. The Whitney covers a century of immersive cinema and art, while New Museum focuses on one artist, Pipilotti Rist.
A reminder that the weekly roundup isn’t an endorsement, as we’ve not personally seen everything. It’s our way of keeping you in the loop.
IMMERSIVE/VIDEO/MUSEUM (CLOSING WEEKEND)
“Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest”
Over the past thirty years, Rist (b. 1962) has achieved international renown as a pioneer of video art and multimedia installations. Her mesmerizing works envelop viewers in sensual, vibrantly colored kaleidoscopic projections that fuse the natural world with the technological sublime. Referring to her art as a “glorification of the wonder of evolution,” Rist maintains a deep sense of curiosity that pervades her explorations of physical and psychological experiences. Her works bring viewers into unexpected, all-consuming encounters with the textures, forms, and functions of the living universe around us.
Occupying the three main floors of the Museum, “Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest” is the most comprehensive presentation of Rist’s work in New York to date. It includes work spanning the artist’s entire career, from her early single-channel videos of the 1980s, which explore the representation of the female body in popular culture, to her recent expansive video installations, which transform architectural spaces into massive dreamlike environments enhanced by hypnotic musical scores. Featuring a new installation created specifically for this presentation, the exhibition also reveals connections between the development of Rist’s art and the evolution of contemporary technologies. Ranging from the television monitor to the cinema screen, and from the intimacy of the smartphone to the communal experience of immersive images and soundscapes, this survey charts the ways in which Rist’s work fuses the biological with the electronic in the ecstasy of communication.
Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016
Whitney Museum of American Art
Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016 focuses on the ways in which artists have dismantled and reassembled the conventions of cinema—screen, projection, darkness—to create new experiences of the moving image. The exhibition will fill the Museum’s 18,000-square-foot fifth-floor Neil Bluhm Family Galleries, and will include a film series in the third-floor Susan and John Hess Family Theater.
The exhibition’s title refers to the science fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft’s alternate fictional dimension, whose terrain of cities, forests, mountains, and an underworld can be visited only through dreams. Similarly, the spaces in Dreamlands will connect different historical moments of cinematic experimentation, creating a story that unfolds across a series of immersive spaces.
The exhibition will be the most technologically complex project mounted in the Whitney’s new building to date, embracing a wide range of moving image techniques, from hand-painted film to the latest digital technologies. The works on view use color, touch, music, spectacle, light, and darkness to confound expectations, flattening space through animation and abstraction, or heightening the illusion of three dimensions.
PERFORMANCE FOR ONE/INTERACTIVE
“Songs for One”
Combining music with visual imagery, “Songs for One” is a multi-sensory performance that strips music down to a one-on-one setting—like lullabies for adults. Each audience member makes an individual appointment with me and is the sole recipient of a three-song set that is personalized just for them. No two performances are alike, just as no two audience members are alike. “Songs for One” seeks to explore the unique and deeply spontaneous moments that arise when we experience music with our hearts open and masks down.