Michael Mandiberg: Live Study


Michael Mandiberg's Live Study is a performance that investigates creative labor. A live video stream from Mandiberg's studio shows the artist painting portraits of the fifty-six people who have worked for them over the last fifteen years. Each canvas is sized according to the total hours worked by the person at one square inch per hour, making visible the usually hidden labor of studio assistants and interns in the art world. The sizes of the canvases range from a 4 × 5 inch miniature of a technical consultant to a 4 × 5 foot portrait of a long-term assistant. The background of each painting is a 1 × 1 grid of semi-transparent glazes of all the colors used in that painting. The grid both calls attention to the hours of labor represented by the scale of the painting and also references digital pixelation, the Photoshop transparency grid, and the conventions of Minimalist painting. Each portrait will be painted twice: one will enter the art market, priced at the total wages paid to the subject by Mandiberg, and the other will be given to the subject. As a durational performance lasting more than 1,000 hours, Live Study memorializes the time and energy given to Mandiberg by the portraits' subjects.

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Michael Mandiberg is an interdisciplinary artist whose work ranges from large-scale installations and software-driven durational performances to socially-engaged pedagogy. They explore the poetics and politics of the information age, making visible processes that are often hidden in plain sight. Mandiberg's projects have been written about widely—including in Artforum, Art in America, ARTnews, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and the Wall Street Journal—and exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The New Museum, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Arizona State University Museum and Library, Denny Gallery, Eyebeam, and Transmediale, amongst others, and are in the permanent collections of the Stedelijk Museum and 21c Museum. They are the recipient of a LACMA Art+Technology Lab grant, three Eyebeam fellowships, and a Mellon fellowship at the CUNY Graduate Center. Mandiberg is Professor of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island/CUNY and Doctoral Faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center. Their work lives at mandiberg.com.


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