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Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools, an exhibition of new work, revolves around the concept of “product demonstrations.” All of the works featured in the exhibition—ranging from video games, single channel video, kinetic sculpture, and prints, to pen plotter drawings—have been created by means of technological tools with an emphasis on the mixing and matching of both professional and amateur technologies, as well as the vernaculars these technologies encourage within culture at large. The centerpiece of the exhibition, Various Self Playing Bowling Games (2011), is a bowling alley consisting of large-scale projections of bowling games from the late 1970s to the 2000s, each hacked by the artist to throw only gutter balls. Projected in chronological order these games are a history of both video game bowling and of graphic representation in the digital medium, from pixellated abstraction to realism. The exhibition also includes works from the series Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations, consisting of unique prints showing fades between colors that have been created by using the popular image processing software Photoshop’s standard gradient tool. Another series featured in the show is CNC Wireform Demonstrations, wire sculptures randomly generated from software the artist has written and then produced by state-of-the-art industrial computer numerical control (CNC) wire-forming equipment.
Cory Arcangel’s work crosses a range of media, including computer-generated projects, performance, video, installation, music composition, sculpture, and print media. Arcangel (b. 1978) is best known for his Internet interventions, and modified video games. He has recently shown work in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, as well as in the Whitney exhibition Synthetic.
Before the age of 35, Cory Arcangel had already been included in numerous exhibitions at the Whitney including the 2004 Biennial and Pro Tools, a 2011 full-floor solo show. In this Whitney Stories video, Arcangel speaks about his relationship to pop culture and avant-garde art, the paradox of working in the constantly-evolving realm of new media, and his history of taking risks at the Museum.
Cory Arcangel’s online projects expose the sense of humor people unwittingly reveal through their online behavior.
“[Arcangel’s] potent mix of bottoms-up humor and technical wizardry has clearly struck a cultural nerve.”
—The New York Times
“Arcangel finds abject beauty in the way that modern technology is doomed to obsolescence.”
—The New Yorker
Interview with Cory Arcangel by artist Mary Heilmann
“The Joys of Obsolescence”
500 words: Cory Arcangel