As part of its installation series spotlighting animated GIFs, Museum of the Moving Image presents Refreshing the Loop, a new iteration that places artists who have been widely known for their GIFs for more than two decades in conversation with those who have gained notable popularity in the last two years. The series opened on April 21 with work by Francoise Gamma and p1xelfool, on view in the Museum’s passenger elevator through July 23. Paired work by Pastiche Lumumba and Kate the Cursed, as well as Petra Cortright and John Karel will follow.
These three pairings place the artists’ practice and catalogue of works in dialogue, comparing and contrasting their experiences with the file format and the evolving communities that have developed around it. Refreshing the Loop is organized by Associate Curator of Media Arts Regina Harsanyi, in collaboration with the artists in choosing a selection of works from one another that resonates with them personally. Each artwork, along with recorded discussions between the paired artists, will be on view in the passenger elevator, online, and at GIPHY.com for three months at a time.
Harsanyi states: “After 35 years, animated GIFs remain a thriving medium in internet culture. From their use in bulletin board systems and Netscape 2.0 to online communities like Surf Clubs, Tumblr, and the rise of GIPHY, a new generation of artists are now gaining acclaim for their work within the constraints of a 256-color palette. Newer cohorts are publishing work to networked platforms without the same social fabrics that paved the way for them. And, despite the fictions associated with blockchain technology, its alluring promises have undeniably motivated artists in all stages of their careers to release the largest quantity of born-digital artwork of any period. As a result of the surge in production and visibility, a wider audience has come to recognize the GIF as a powerful modality not just for visual culture but also for art.”
Refreshing the Loop is made possible by support from GIPHY Arts.
About the artists:
April 21–July 23, 2023: Francoise Gamma and p1xelfool
Francoise Gamma is an artist based in Barcelona who primarily uses obsolete tools to create his work. Gamma has worked professionally on the internet since 1995. He is a member of the online art collective Computers Club and has been one of the most prominent creators of GIF artwork across the web, beginning as early as Hell.com in 2001. Bipedal bodies created with single-pixel lines have been an active, consistent area of his work. Gamma’s work been featured internationally in group exhibitions at the Tate Modern in London, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, BOZAR in Belgium, and the Museo Sourmaya in Mexico City, and a solo exhibition at American Fantasy Classics. p1xelfool is a Brazilian artist exploring the perception of time and phenomena through code-based generative art. He explores conversations between machines and humans and raises questions about the limits of organic and synthetic entities. Known for the intricacy and minimalism of their thick pixels, vivid colors, and black backgrounds, p1xelfool’s GIFs have received worldwide attention, including from some of the most prominent artists and collectors. His works are conceptualized with Processing, an open-source and community-led creative coding software. His pixelated worlds have been shown at Art Basel in Miami, Public Records in New York, and curated by Casey REAS for Feral File.
July 28–October 8, 2023: Pastiche Lumumba and Kate the Cursed
Pastiche Lumumba is a multidisciplinary artist whose work examines cultural conventions and normalized power dynamics within the contexts of masculinity and Blackness. He has exhibited internationally as well as on the internet and his work has been featured in publications such as Art Papers, Mask Magazine, and Rhizome. Lumumba is the founder of The LOW Museum of Contemporary Culture in Atlanta, where he served as director and chief curator from 2013 to 2016. He currently lives and works in New York.
Katherina Jesek aka “Kate the Cursed” is a media artist and producer from New York. Her artwork since 2021 focuses on authentic, outdated display technology and draws inspiration from cyberpunk aesthetics. She has been exhibited for Frieze, Los Angeles, SuperRare, Miami Art Week, and the Queer Museum of Digital Art.
October 13, 2023–January 14, 2024: Petra Cortright and John Karel
Petra Cortright is an L.A.-based artist producing work in both tangible and digital environments. An early series of webcam self-portrait videos using filters and effects long before smartphones made them ubiquitous established Cortright as a key figure in the post-internet art movement. Cortright produces paintings, sculptures, and video installations alongside natively digital work, such as GIFs. Solo exhibitions include New York’s Team Gallery and Foxy Production; the Galeria Duarte Sequeira in Braga, Portugal; L.A.’s 1301PE and Depart Foundation; Ever Gold [Projects] in San Francisco; and more. Cortright has been included in group exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, MCA Chicago, Whitechapel Gallery, and the Venice Biennale. Her works are in the permanent collections of many international museums including The Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the Stedelijk Museum (Netherlands).
John Karel is an artist, computer animator, and illustrator best known for creating thousands of low-res, low- poly GIF art depicting skeletons and everyday consumer objects. He studied at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and previously worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Karel has produced animations for projects like Super Deluxe and is one of the most recognized, collected, and beloved artists involved in the Tezos ecosystem.
Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35 Avenue
Astoria, NY 11106
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