The ultimate net art revival, the opening up of museums’ exclusive film archives, John Giorno’s Dial-A-Poem, and experiencing one of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms from your laptop
THE WRONG BIENNALE
Founded in 2013 by David Quiles Guilló, The Wrong Biennale is the very first of its kind – a decentralised art event that spans both online and offline worlds. Last year’s edition featured more than 180 curators and over 2,000 artists sharing art in 100-plus locations. As is the nature of the Biennale, you can access the pavilions through its website. If you’re seeking a place to “digitally retreat, replenish and rejuvenate”, then head over to Cyber Sanctuaries and choose your treatment – from Cleanse to Integrate, and even Astral Travel. If you’re looking to get lost in a wormhole of peak cyberspace, then head to Museum of Internet, where you can scroll through an endless stream of web culture. And if you’re feeling a twinge of wanderlust, click into Random Street View, which does what it says on the tin.
WELL NOW WTF?
Presented by Silicon Valet – “a new parking lot for digital art and expanded practice” – Well Now WTF? is a net art group show which features several rooms, each of which are aptly Coronavirus themed, such as “Stay Home and Masturbate”. Launched on April 4 when much of the world’s art galleries and museums were closed in light of the pandemic, Well Now WTF? – curated by Faith Holland, Lorna Mills, and Wade Wallerstein – currently features more than 80 artists, with an additional 25+ joining the line-up on May 2. A series of events are also taking place on Twitch, with the full schedule available here.
OLAFUR ELIASSON’S EARTH PERSPECTIVES
Launched on Wednesday this week, Olafur Eliasson’s Earth perspectives is a participatory artwork commissioned as part of the Serpentine’s 50th anniversary programme Back To Earth.
It consists of a series of nine abstracted images of the Earth, taken from different perspectives, each of which has a specific dot marked onto it. Eliasson asks the viewer to stare at it for ten seconds before looking at a blank surface where an afterimage should appear – described as a “new world view”.
The Serpentine Gallery said: “The work explores how maps, space and the earth itself are all to a certain extent construction, which we all have the power to see from other perspectives, whether individually or collectively.”
The works are available to download here.
CARRIE MAE WEEMS’ PEOPLE OF A DARKER HUE (2016) AND LINCOLN, LONNIE, AND ME (2012)
Carrie Mae Weems’ works have long engaged with history in order to bring us into the present, and, ideally, equip us to move into a better future. The artist’s YouTube is full of clips from her oeuvre, from films to performances. Notable is the full-length version of the films, Lincoln, Lonnie, and Me and People of a Darker Hue. Lincoln, Lonnie, and Me mediates on American history by centring President Lincoln as well as activist and artist Lonnie Graham. Whereas People of a Darker Hue reflects on the unarmed men and women who have died at the hands of police violence.
JOHN GIORNO’S DIAL-A-POEM (1968)
Originally started in 1968 after a conversation with William S. Burroughs, John Giorno’s Dial-a-Poem has remained, somewhere, as a series of recordings made across 15 answering machines, connected to the phone number +1 (641) 793 8122. You can still phone to this day and be connected to one of the wonderful poets reading. I spent a blissful morning dialling in (and ignoring the international calling charges) and landed on Emmett Williams, Frank Lima, John Ashbery, and Taylor Mead.
THE BROAD’S THE INFINITE DRONE SERIES
For anyone who has visited (or tried to visit) Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away at Los Angeles’ the Broad, you’ll have realised that a large part of the experience includes waiting. And once inside, you’ll have a tiny window to actually enjoy the work itself. However, with the changing times of COVID-19, the Broad has made the Infinity Mirrored Room available online, allowing ‘visitors’ to “delve into the spiritual aspects of Kusama's exploration of eternity” with “aural selections” which include “drone, electronic, ambient, and pop music”. The digital version has been dubbed the Infinite Drone series and “presents a new, contemplative way of experiencing The Broad’s most popular artwork”.
ANDY WARHOL’S TATE MODERN RETROSPECTIVE
Just as Andy Warhol’s Tate Modern retrospective opened, the COVID-19 lockdown was lurking around the corner, forcing the retrospective to shut. While its doors may be closed, the Tate recently released a video tour, with commentary from curators Gregor Muir and Fiontán Moran.
ARTISTS IN QUARANTINE
‘Today I would be happy.. today I would celebrate my solitude.. if I were not filled with an over powering sense of fear.. A darkness.. that has made me want to live more than ever. I was almost content, to sit and wait out my end.’
At the beginning of April, Tracey Emin began sharing her quarantine diary via her gallery, the White Cube’s Instagram. Across seven days, she shared diary-like entries of thoughts, images from her bathtub, and her studio. She’s since handed the digital baton over to Antony Gormley, who then passed it onto Sarah Morris, who have continued the week-long series. While not a traditional artwork in itself, the series has given an intimate glance into some of the UK’s best-known artists that we might not otherwise have seen.
Another London gallery has also been checking in with its community while in quarantine. Sadie Coles HQ has created colourful and insightful Q&As called “Answers from Isolation” with Martine Syms, Olivia Laing, and Charlie Fox, amongst others, featuring cooking tips, music recs, and predictions on the future.
At the beginning of April, freewall.space was founded by artists Henry Kitcher and George Stuart as a “digital platform to showcase contemporary creativity”. Each day at 3pm BMT, a new artist’s work is hung on the gallery”s white walls/website, with all works being archived for later viewing. Submissions are open to everyone so get sending.
DAVID ZWIRNER’S PLATFORM: LONDON
David Zwirner has created Platform: London in support of 12 London galleries whose shows closed early due to COVID-19. From The Approach to Arcadia Missa, Soft Opening, and more – despite the hardships many are facing, it is incredible to see the community support one another in this way.
THE WHITNEY’S WHITNEY SCREENS
The Whitney Museum is opening up its video collections courtesy of Vimeo. Every Friday, it will screen video works by emerging artists which have recently been acquired.
Last week’s screening was Alex Da Corte’s Rubber Pencil Devil, and the series’ next iteration, on April 25, will be Clarissa Tossin’s Ch’u Maya, featuring an introduction from assistant curator Marcela Guerrero. The film centres Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House (also known as the Ennis House) with choreography inspired by its iconic Mayan Revival-style architecture.
The streams are only available for a limited time, so make sure to keep an eye on the museum’s event page for what’s coming up for future screenings.
NOT CANCELLED SALON
Not Cancelled Salon is the digital platform offering week-long art exhibitions for independent artists, categorised by city. Currently on show is Warsaw, Poland, and coming up is Paris, France. It has already collated a huge archive of works available to buy on its website for anyone looking to invest right now.