With a resume that lists film, video, and photography alongside the traditionally less technical media of crochet and knitting, New York artist Sabrina Gschwandtner's body of work could seem a bit disjointed. But given the tendency, in the last decade or so, for artists to make conceptual and even subversive use of domestic craft in their work--a move that parallels D.I.Y. and homespun approaches toward digital media--her divergent practices begin to make sense. In 2002 the artist founded 'KnitKnit,' an editioned journal devoted to handicraft as fine art, and after five years of chronicling vanguard work created in traditionally home-bound media, Gschwandtner has also authored a book on the topic slated for publication this fall by Stewart, Tabori, and Chang. Manhattan's Greene Naftali gallery hosts a party celebrating the release of KnitKnit: Profiles and Projects from Knitting's New Wave on September 13. The author will sign copies of the book from 6-8 pm, accompanied by Teva Durham, Beryl Tsang, Jim Drain--who has a concurrent show of new work at the gallery--and other artists featured in its pages.
Installed against historic architecture and in strategically-chosen exhibition spaces throughout the city of Mechelen, Contour 2007, the third edition of the northern Belgian municipality's biennial of video art opened last month and runs through October 21. Featuring new and recent work by some 17 international artists, the exhibition's subtitle, Decoder, references the rhetorical moves that underpin visual perception and suggests that each of the works in the show somehow relates back to these fundamental tricks of comprehension. Among them are a 2007 work by Omer Fast, 'De Grote Boodschap,' which was shot on location in Mechelen, and several performance based single-channel pieces by Tsui Kuang-Yu, an artist who, like the biennial, inserts himself into opportune segments of urban spaces.
Before a scarcity of real estate--or similar physical limitations--in the 'first life' began driving artists to explore the possibilities of Second Life, humankind had long projected its spatial fantasies onto the moon. With this bit of history in mind, the collaborative duo of Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese are staging Crater New York: A Lunar Drawing Contest at Manhattan's Location One gallery, now through September 26th. Taking its title from the career-making show of emerging artists 'Greater New York,' the event is a drawing contest in which artists and non-artists alike are invited to sketch a model installation of the moon by hand or using illustration software. Entries will be hung in the gallery for the duration of the project and be judged by an as-yet unannounced panel of 'artists, critics, real estate developers, and celebrities.' Winning representations of the heavenly body will be announced on the final day of the exhibition, and the artists behind them will receive a deed to a plot of land on the lunar surface. Thirteen drawing challenges--corresponding to the 13 annual lunar cycles--will be held while the project is on view, and in acknowledgment of the new territory inspiring fantasies of uncharted space, each of the proceedings and the work created will be simultaneously on view in Second Life at Richard Minsky's SLART gallery.
We love and hate our cell phones like annoying siblings or parts of our bodies, and when we discard and replace them, the act is often accompanied by a pang of loss. That conflicted psychological relationship to our little digital appendages forms the basis for a new body of work by Joe McKay on view at Brooklyn's VertexList September 7 through October 7. His Hacked Cell Phone Sculptures lovingly resurrect outmoded and abandoned mobile phones as components in imaginative contraptions, splaying out Nokia guts and reconstituting them as everything from telegraph devices to a keyboard-based instrument. The neglected machines enjoying a new life are joined by the video/performance work Sunset Solitare and a series of manipulated photographs, titled UFO 1-7. During the September 7 opening, the artist also offers a demonstration of his 'Cell Phone Piano' that could make one misty-eyed for an unhinged flip phone or long-forgotten ringtone.
Taking its title from 18th and 19th century proto-cinema that used rear-projected images and magic lanterns to tell stories of otherworldly phenomena, the thematic group show Phantasmagoria: Specters of Absence includes a dozen variations on moving shadows temporarily manifesting unseen forces. Several of the works in the traveling exhibition literalize relationships between motion pictures and memory that crop up throughout the history of cinema. This happens most notably in Brazilian artist Rosangela Renno's Experiencing Cinema, a 2004 installation that projects family photographs onto a screen of fog. Others brings some of the shock of early moving images back to the form. Mexico-born, Montreal-based Rafael Lozano-Hemmer contributes Sustained Coincidence [Subsculpture 8]. One of his signature room-size environments, it uses a computerized surveillance system and a series of 36 incandescent bulbs to force viewers into jarring confrontations with their own shadows. The exhibition debuted at the Museo de Arte del Banco de la Republica in Bogota, Colombia--which co-organized the show with Independent Curators International--and it is currently on view at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, in Hawaii through November 25.