Petra Cortright

Petra Cortright’s floral digital paintings command a lot of attention these days, but given the choice, I’d pretty much always look her system landscape GIFs from 2007. Perhaps it’s just a preference for her choice of media, but I also consider the work more important for its early example use of the computer environment as a compositional device. We see that a lot more commonly now—new and established artists like Camille HenrotSondra Perry and Saul Chernick have all used the commuter screen to frame their work with great success—and with good reason. It has a large presence in our minds and shapes how we see the world. Cortright was sensitive to this earlier then most.

Unlike most landscapes, which suggest passage through them, many of the animations in this series show us the places, but prevent us from entering. At every mapping stage there are broken notices like “Try Again.” and “Door is Closed.” Later in the sequence, the images switch to small growing flowers surrounded by wire frames that size up as the plants get bigger. By the end the windows have become tiny. “Connected” reads one, followed by “Disconnected.” Ten “Cloud Forest”, then a seemingly endless number of tiny squares with landscapes, each reading “Away Message.” “I’m back!”




Post image for This Week’s Must-see Art Events: Are You Sure You Want to Delete That Account?

Let’s be honest: we’re all surprised there’s an event listing at all this week. Everyone is on vacation. And yet, here we are writing this thing with a few honest to goodness recommendations.  We don’t want to miss the evening of readings and performance art inspired by embarrassing pictures millennials can’t get off the internet, three scrappy but industrious plays about power at Secret Project Robot, and a flea market full of purveyors of dead stuff. All you guys at the beach are missing out.

Post image for Highlights from the Creative Capital Retreat: Part Two

What were the craziest presentations at this year’s Creative Capital retreat in Troy? In my first installment I provided a brief overview of the arts granting agency’s conference—it’s several days in an auditorium listening to amazing artists give seven minute presentations on their projects—and discussed the work of three stand out artists: Lorraine O’Grady, Brittany Nelson and Narcissister. This week I highlight three more. Let’s get this started.

Post image for Pastoral Romanticism for the Hashtag FOMO Generation

What does millennial cultural tourism look like? From the institutional standpoint, it’s about making exhibition and outreach programming more “social” and appealing to younger audiences with stuff they think they’ll like: “late night” events, live music, food trucks, booze. Publicly funded outdoor summer music festivals now come with visual arts programming; at last month’s WayHome Festival outside of Barrie, Ontario, a curator was hired to oversee interactive art installations scattered through the grounds, providing the perfect backdrop for festival goer’s selfie stick snaps.

Post image for Checking in at DUMBO Newcomer Usagi NY

A new exhibition space, which bills itself as a “concept store”, opened last month in DUMBO. Usagi NY combines a gallery, cafe, and library in a crisp and surprisingly functional 2,800 sq ft space designed by Sou Fujimoto. The cafe and reading area are quietly tucked in the back, resulting in a gallery that isn’t too cluttered but still manages to feel more gregarious than the average white-box space. It’s a rare example of a multi-use space where the artwork doesn’t feel like an afterthought, which is an accomplishment. Their inaugural show is organized around the Japanese designer Kenya Hara’s theory that the color white inspires creativity—along with a unifying thread of projects that involve commerce, research, or technology.

Some highlights after the jump.