Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York is the first in-depth survey dedicated to exploring the impact of computer-assisted methods of production on contemporary art, architecture, and design. It brings together more than 120 works (sculpture, jewelry, fashion, and furniture) by 85 artists, architects, and designers from 20 countries to examine how new technologies are pushing the boundaries of artistic expression and creation. The works highlight the reciprocal relationship between art and technological innovation, long an area of exploration at MAD. Out of Hand is on view through June 1, 2014.
Organized by Ronald T. Labaco, MAD’s curator, the exhibition features work from 2005 to the present, including commissions specifically for Out of Hand by Wim Delvoye, Richard Dupont, Zaha Hadid, Anish Kapoor, Joris Laarman, Daniel Libeskind, Maya Lin, Greg Lynn, Lucas Maassen, Jürgen Mayer-Hermann, Achim Menges, Marc Newson, Nike, Alan McCollum, Roxy Paine, Frank Stella, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Unfold, among many others.
Two large-scale sculptures—a fifteen-foot-high digitally scanned mask of artist Richard DuPont’s face, and a towering abstraction of wrestling figures created through digital milling techniques by Michael Rees— activate the space outside the museum on Columbus Circle and introduce the exhibition.
David McFadden, MAD’s former William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator states, “The compelling works in Out of Hand expand audience understanding of the ways artists and designers from around the world are utilizing these new technologies to extend their artistic practice.”
“From sculptural fantasy to functional beauty to conceptual idiosyncrasies,” Labaco states, “the works all created in the past decade, demonstrate an explosive, unprecedented scope of artistic expression. The exhibition puts these pioneering works in dialogue, highlighting their diversity and the trends and ideas that connect them.”
The shortcoming of an exhibition of this kind is that, with technology evolving at such a dizzying speed, the survey already seems a little yesterday rather than tomorrow but that is unavoidable. Ceramics itself play no role in the media mix but the ceramic context does appear in the work of Michael Eden’s wonderful Voxel Vessel, that riffs on 18th century Wedgwood, but is made of nylon. It will take a while before the novelty value of these techniques is replaced with a more mature use of the evolving technology. Out of Hand is a good first step in that direction.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated 300-page catalogue, which includes essays by Greg Lynn (Architect and Professor of Architecture, University of Applied Arts, Vienna), Christiane Paul (Professor of Media Studies, The New School New York; Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art), and exhibition curator Ronald T. Labaco.
Above image: Ron Arad, Oh Void 1, 2006. Acrylic. Courtesy of Friedman Benda. Photograph by Erik and Petra Hesmerg.
Artist Richard DuPont discusses getting body-scanned by the military industrial complex for his sculpture.
Leonor Caraballo and Abou Farman describe using digital imaging of breast cancer to turn tumors into three-dimensional objects.
Barry X Ball said he uses the end-point of historical artists as his starting point as he discusses his horrific sculpture Envy.
Alissia Melka-Teichroew and Jan Habraken discuss using computer imaging and 3D-printing to create jointed jewelry and designing a better breed of chair. All videos courtesy of MAD.