The new trend in New York area galleries and museums is claiming a show is "digital" whether it is or not. "Glee," a slightly-above-average abstract painting show that closed January 7 at the Aldrich Museum, began its press release with paeans to the Internet, Y2K, and the "digital revolution," then waited until paragraph 2 to mention that the show was about "artists' renewed confidence in painting in the face of new visual technologies." (The strategy worked--it led Tim Griffin, art editor of _Time Out New York_ to inattentively include "Glee" in his fall roundup of digital shows.) Griffin himself then curated "Compression," (which also closed in January) at Feigen Contemporary, including Michelle Grabner (painter), Diti Almog (painter), Dike Blair (sculptor/installation artist), and some artists who use computers, all tied together with dialogue about "image compression technology," "flagship stores," and "economic mainframe(s)." Now we have "Jello," curated by artnet columnist Max Henry (through Feb. 17 at Frederieke Taylor, 535 W 22, NYC), which claims to be based on a "coalescing digital zeitgeist," even though only 3 out of 11 artists work with digital media. The show's highlight, digitally speaking, is Daren Kendall's video, in which strategically cropped and Rorschached footage of a high school wrestling match yields a very funny post-human blob of multiplying heads and arms--equal parts Paul Pfeiffer, Jerry Uelsmann, and H. P. Lovecraft. Unfortunately, the "digital zeitgeist" simply isn't big enough to include Charles Long's orange-extension-cord-with-elephantiasis, a Dan Flavin light bulb (!), and all the weak paintings Henry packed into the show.

--Hector Pitts

- bill 2-02-2001 2:44 pm

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"...camps operating: (1) Artists who aren't giving up painting, sculpture, photography, and installation art, but feel the need to "respond" in some way to the computer (for an excellent round-up of so-called digitally-inspired shows in 2001, please see this post by my friend Hector Pitts); (2) "Net artists," doing the types of interactive and data-crunching projects (frequently covered by New York Times cyber-critic Matthew Mirapaul) that are conceptually interesting but make little concession to t..."

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