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Exhibition takes a groundbreaking approach to net art history from 1985 to today
Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski, Sister Unn's, 2011-2012. Installation and website. Courtesy the artists.

NEW YORK, NY.- Rhizome presents “The Art Happens Here: Net Art’s Archival Poetics,” curated by Michael Connor, Artistic Director, Rhizome, with Aria Dean, Assistant Curator, and on view from January 22 to May 26, 2019, in the New Museum’s Lobby Gallery. Presenting sixteen artworks selected from “Net Art Anthology” —Rhizome’s major online exhibition of one hundred works from throughout net art history, which proposes a possible canon for net art—the exhibition culminates this two-year research and preservation initiative, leveraging Rhizome’s unique expertise in the history of network culture and the display of borndigital art.

Dating from 1985 to the present, the works in “The Art Happens Here” make use of a wide range of mediums—including websites, software, sculpture, graphics, books, and merchandise— and represent a historical perspective on the breadth of net art practice. The artworks also offer distinct approaches to a central problem inherent in net art: how to come to terms with a dynamic, rapidly changing network culture while also actively participating in it.

Among the works on view are Shu Lea Cheang’s Garlic=RichAir (2002), an interactive online trading game and performance in which garlic functions as currency in an imagined post-capitalist future; Alexei Shulgin’s 386 DX (1998–2013), the world’s first cyberpunk rock band, which performs MIDI and text-to-speech renditions of musical hits; Sister Unn’s (2012), an installation by Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski based on a mysterious storefront in Queens that led passersby to an equally enigmatic website, exemplifying the links between real and virtual space; and a new restoration of Mark Tribe’s Starrynight (1999), a landmark artistmade interface to Rhizome’s listserve archives that Tribe created with Alexander Galloway and Martin Wattenberg.

In 2018, Rhizome celebrates fifteen years as an affiliate of the New Museum. “The past decade and a half have marked an extraordinary period of growth for Rhizome,” remarked Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director, New Museum, “and ‘The Art Happens Here’ is a true culmination of the wide-ranging and necessary work Rhizome is doing in this field.”

Zachary Kaplan, Executive Director of Rhizome, added, “‘The Art Happens Here’ and the ‘Anthology’ synthesize Rhizome’s two-decades-plus trajectory as a champion of born-digital art and culture; net-focused research and scholarship, digital preservation leadership, and our powerful affiliation with the New Museum are all represented.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue edited by Connor with Dean, which includes entries on each of the one hundred artworks in “Net Art Anthology” along with contributions by Josephine Bosma, Paul Soulellis, manuel arturo abreu, and others.

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Exhibition takes a groundbreaking approach to net art history from 1985 to today

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