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21c Museum Hotels acquires new digital works as part of Moving Image Acquisition Award
Claudia Hart (American), The Flower Matrix, 2017. Augmented Reality wallpaper. Image courtesy of TRANSFER Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.

LOUISVILLE, KY.- As part of the annual Moving Image Acquisition Award, presented in New York on February 27, two new works have been accessed into the 21c Museum Collection: Jefferson Pinder’s video, Afro-Cosmonaut/Alien (White Noise) and Claudia Hart’s, The Flower Matrix, an augmented reality (AR) wallpaper.

"21c seeks to support visionary artists who are engaged with issues and conditions shaping our world today,” said Chief Curator, Museum Director Alice Gray Stites. “The addition of Jefferson Pinder’s Afro-Cosmonaut/Alien (White Noise) to the collection extends 21c’s focus on the subject of identity in a compelling time-lapse video addressing race, mythology, and power. Invoking a range of historical and cultural associations, Pinder’s imagery is both timeless and especially timely at this moment. Among the new Immersive Media projects presented by Moving Image this year, Claudia Hart’s Flower Matrix utilizes new technology to re-envision the still life with an augmented reality experience that transforms both physical and digital space. We are so pleased that this year’s award will be given to these two truly innovative and thought-provoking works.”

Afro-Cosmonaut/Alien (White Noise) is an escapist video narrative that ends in destruction when the protagonist plummets back to Earth after a mystical space journey. Like the doomed Icarus of Ancient Greek myth, the epic fall comes after reaching a brilliant zenith that is both mesmerizing and lethal. This white-faced Butoh-inspired performance is a crude metaphor of the civil rights legacy. Taking cues from experimental films, Pinder plants himself within the work, asking the viewers to watch the images of propulsion and power. Utilizing time-lapse animation, "White Noise" consists of over 2,000 photographs, with each frame forming an individual pose. Together, they form a continuous flow of activity.

Jefferson Pinder's work provokes commentary about race and struggle. Working primarily with neon, found objects, video and performance, Pinder investigates identity through the most dynamic circumstances and materials. Through his meditative exploration with light and sound or his intensely grueling corporeal performances, he delves into conversations about race. His exploration of sound, music and physical performance are conceptual threads to examine history, cultural appropriation, and portrayals of exertion and labor. Creating collaged audio clips and surreal performances he under score themes dealing with Afro-Futurism and endurance.

Jefferson Pinder is among five contemporary artists and collaborators who will be honored at The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Spring Gala, set for May 6.

The Flower Matrix uses Claudia Hart’s custom Looking Glass augmented-reality application created for smartphones and tablets. By viewing Hart’s patterned wallpapers, viewers see animated flowers harvested from The Flower Matrix embedded in them. Hart’s decorative patterns are in fact also computer codes – augmented “tags” functioning like QR – that permit users to see fantastical animations embedded in them through their hand-held devices.

The Flower Matrix is a liminal space, an imaginary “Alice in Wonderland” world of inversion where the rational order of reason and technology turns in on itself. Hart’s decorative patterns are in fact also computer codes – augmented-reality “tags” functioning like QR – that permit users, via her custom-designed augmented reality app, to see her fantastical embedded animations.

The Moving Image Acquisition Award seeks to further the representation of video art in permanent public collections internationally. Previous Awards have gone to artists Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, Jessica Faiss, Rollin Leonard, Chris Doyle Kalliopi Lemos and Alexandre Mazza.

Moving Image was conceived to offer a viewing experience with the excitement and vitality of a fair, while allowing moving image-based artworks to be understood and appreciated on their own terms. Participation is by invitation only. The newly formed Moving Image Curatorial Advisory Committee for New York 2017 invited a selection of international commercial galleries and non-profit institutions to present single-channel videos, single-channel projections, video sculptures, and other larger video installations. The 2017 Moving Image Art Fair was held February 27 - March 2 at the Waterfront New York Tunnel.

"The permanent collection of 21c Museum Hotels is a constant inspiration to us, in terms of both how we think about the interaction of the public with contemporary art, and how the art of our time can and should be acquired, presented, and preserved. The range of their collection is typified by their choice of these works, from Jefferson Pinder's powerful political statement to Claudia Hart's cutting/edge innovations. We are honored to have 21c Museum Hotels' continued support for the Moving Image Acquisition Award, and delighted to know how many more viewers these works will now receive thanks to their dedication to widening the audience for contemporary art,” said Edward Winkleman and Murat Orozobekov, co-founders of Moving Image.

Jefferson Pinder’s work has been featured in numerous group and solo shows including exhibitions at new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC; The 2016 Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China; The Driskell Center, College Park, MD; The Figge Museum of Art, Davenport, IA; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; Showroom Mama in Rotterdam, Netherlands; The Phillips Collection and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Pinder recently won a prestigious 2017 USA Fellowship. He resides in Chicago where he is a Professor in the Sculpture dept. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Jefferson Pinder is represented by Curator's Office, Washington D.C.

Claudia Hart has been active as an artist, curator and critic since 1988. She works with digital trompe l'oeil as a medium, directing theater and making media objects of all kinds including multi-channel 3D animation installations, sculptures using industrial production techniques such as Rapid Prototyping, CNC routing, and virtual and mixed reality environments, and augmented-reality custom apps.

She is widely exhibited and collected by galleries and museums including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum, the New Museum, Eyebeam Center for Art + Technology, where she was an honorary fellow in 2013-14. She works with Transfer gallery in New York. She is married to the Austrian media artist Kurt Hentschlager, and lives in Chicago where she is a tenured professor at the School of the Art Institute.

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21c Museum Hotels acquires new digital works as part of Moving Image Acquisition Award

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