Kind of like an Accident: Interview with Cory Arcangel

Cory Arcangel, Power Points, exhibition view. Courtesy the artist and DHC/ART, Montréal. Photo by Vincent Toi

Cory Arcangel is a Brooklyn based artist working in diverse media, including video, music, modified videogames, performances and the Internet. Arcangel often makes use of appropriation as a strategy to draw attention to source materials ranging from best-selling albums, Photoshop gradients and UGG boots. While bridging the gap between the highbrow and lowbrow culture, his work explores the nature of cultural production and consumption in a media and technology saturated world. On the occasion of his solo exhibition at the DHC/ART in Montréal, Arcangel talked to M-KOS about his art, his diverse influences and the role of artists as archivists.

MKOS: You started out as a musician, right? How did you make the transition to visual art?

Cory Arcangel [CA]: Its hard for me to explain, it just happened backwards, when I was in high school I was always making videos and you couldn’t go to art school to make video in 1996, so I went to music school. But I also feel in love with the history of music, so when I got out of school I was composing and I was making videos and I just put my work wherever I thought it would be cool and it’s just the gallery people who kept asking for it. So it happened kind of like an accident.
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Peinture Extrême / Extreme Painting

Julie Trudel, EllipseCMCYCK (2011-18), 2011. Acrylique and silkscreen ink on plywood. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Hugues Charbonneau

From June to August, AGAC (Association des galeries d’art contemporain / Contemporary Art Gallery Association) organizes the second installment of Peinture Extrême / Extreme Painting. 20 galleries in Montreal are participating in this summer event to showcase the diversity and hybridity of the ever-challenged medium.
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Essay: Sex in Public – Streetview and Vincent Chevalier’s PWIF’d at the Canadian Centre for Architecture

Text by Joseph Henry

Exhibition view, ABC : MTL at Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2013. Courtesy Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal

Montreal-based Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) has devoted roughly a year of programming (from November 2012 to March 2013) to an extensive curatorial investigation of the city’s cultural life and multi-faceted urban structure. With its three-part exhibition ABC : MTL, the CCA announced an open call for submissions, to nourish a diverse presentation of objects ranging from Robin Pindea Gould and Fiona Annis’ rigorous documentation of Montreal bridges to the architectural renderings of the Centre du Soccer, in the neighborhood of Saint-Michel. ABC : MTL additionally supplemented a smaller exhibition entitled Streetview, a collection of photographs spanning from the early twentieth century to present times, to offer portraits of the city via its canals, roadways and plazas.
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Opportunities: Artist in residence at Newcastle University, UK

Image courtesy Newcastle University, School of Art and Cultures

Call for applications
Artist in Residence
at Newcastle University

Deadline: Monday, July 15, 2013, 9am GMT

Start date: September 2013 (not negotiable)
Salary: 27,854 GBP per annum

The Newcastle University is seeking to appoint a visual artist for a one-year studio-based residency in Fine Art, School of Arts and Cultures at Newcastle University. The residency will culminate in a solo show at Matt’s Gallery, London in 2014. During the residency the artist will be based full-time in the Fine Art studios in Newcastle University and will be expected to locate in or near Newcastle for the duration of the Residency. Work(s) developed during the residency will form the basis of an exhibition at Matt’s Gallery, London, following the ethos of the gallery that rests upon the presentation of work developed on site.
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Cory Arcangel “Power Points” at DHC/ART, Montréal

Research in Motion (Kinetic Sculpture #6), 2011. (Installation view, Pro Tools, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2011; Photo: Sheldan Collins). Modified silver dancing stands. © Cory Arcangel, Courtesy of Cory Arcangel.

Cory Arcangel
Power Points

21 June – 24 November 2013
at DHC/ART, Montréal

DHC/ART presents the first major Canadian exhibition of Brooklyn based artist Cory Arcangel. Trained initially in classical guitar and music technology at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Cory Arcangel is now recognized as a major exponent of a pop-tinged, computer-centred art.

Arcangel embraces the Internet’s anarchic potential and its Utopian open source culture, making works that question authorship, the status, and value of the art object. Exploring both the promises and deceptions of software, electronic gadgets, games and other devices—with an emphasis on how they become old and quickly out-dated—Arcangel’s art eulogizes technology’s built-in obsolescence while also wittily celebrating its noise, mindless repetitions, and inevitable failures.
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Film as Sculpture at WIELS, Brussels

Rosa Barba, Boundaries of Consumption, 2012. 2 × metal globes, 16 mm projector, 16 mm film loop, film canisters. Courtesy of the artist.

Film as Sculpture
6 June – 18 August 2013
at WIELS, Brussels

Artists: Rosa Barba, Zbyněk Baladrán & Jiří Kovanda, Ulla von Brandenburg, João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva, Rachel Harrison, Žilvinas Kempinas, Elad Lassry, Karthik Pandian and Bojan Šarčević

Curator: Elena Filipovic

Film as Sculpture looks at a new generation of artists and the ‘problem’ that a number of them seem to be insistently grappling with: how to create works that either sit between or somehow address two seemingly contradictory mediums: one of art history’s most classical forms, sculpture, and its apparent opposite, film (or video). Read more »


Pilvi Takala, Wallflower (still), 2006. Video, 10:26 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and Carlos/Ishikawa.

■ Jeu de Paume in Paris has received repeated threats by groups and individuals opposing Palestinian artist Ahlam Shibli’s exhibition ‘Phantom Home’. The controversy is centred on her latest series of work entitled “Death” which explores dead or imprisoned Palestinians presented in both public and private spaces. [The Art Newspaper]

It is now possible to sign the petition for pressing the French Minister of Culture to respect the freedom of artistic expression and its independence from cultural institutions and political agendas.
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Opportunities: Open Call for Proposals – eva International 2014, Limerick, Ireland

“Launch” (2012) by Dublin based art collective Basic Space, a part of the eva international 2012 project “Graceland”. Courtesy the artists and eva International.

eva International
Biennial of Visual Art
12 April – 6 July 2014
Limerick City, Ireland

Curator: Bassam El Baroni

Deadline: Monday 2 September 2013, 5pm

eva International, Ireland’s biennial of contemporary art, is pleased to launch the international open call for proposals for the 2014 edition, curated by Bassam El Baroni. Applications are invited from individual artists or groups in any medium and can be for the presentation of existing works or production of new projects. The online application process is now open and closes at 5pm on Monday 2 September 2013.
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Lloyd Corporation “Competing Temporalities” at Carlos/Ishikawa, London

Lloyd Corporation, Upcycle (Relief I), 2013, Fired wood, steel, Thames Water bottle, Evian Mineral water bottle, plaster, concrete, miranti. Courtesy the artist and Carlos/Ishikawa, London

Lloyd Corporation
Competing Temporalities

6 June – 6 July 2013
at Carlos/Ishikawa, London

“Competing Temporalities” uses a range of predominantly found objects and structures taken directly from ubiquitous sites of the city, such as the street or the scrap yard and recomposes them as sculptures within the space of the gallery. This array of objects, amongst other works, includes various forms of drinking water bottles (from leisure to tap water relief), weathered rainwater pipes, a temporary plywood construction hoarding, a ´collage´ produced in the attempt to separate old tabloid fly-posters stuck together.
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Jumaldi Alfi “Never Ending Lesson” at Primo Marella Gallery, Milan

Jumaldi Alfi, Melting Memories, Mooi Indie #02, 2012. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy the artist and Primo Marella Gallery

Jumaldi Alfi
Never Ending Lesson

16 May – 28 June 2013
at Primo Marella Gallery, Milan

Jumaldi Alfi (Indonesia, 1973) is mostly known for the compelling iconography of visual signs reflecting existential and spiritual experience on both an individual and collective level. Creating his own code of images, the artist draws on a wide scope of cultural references, from objects of the natural world, to Renaissance paintings, to the childhood memories of family life. The visual effect is at once mysterious and intimate.
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