Reset at Kai Matsumiya

Artists: Joan Jonas, Craig Kalpakjian, Andrew Ross, Victoria Haynes, Micaela Carolan, Peter Fend, Joseph Kosuth (fake), Carol Szymanski, Ben Morgan-Cleveland, Ala Dehghan, Steffani Jemison, Rainer Ganahl, Jason Hirata, Ficus Interfaith, Amy O’Neill, Elliott Jamal Robbins, Cassidy Toner, Maggie Lee, Raque Ford, Jason Matthew Lee, Pedro Wirz, Greg Fadell

Exhibition title: Reset

Venue: Kai Matsumiya, New York, US

Date: February 6 – March 10, 2019

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Kai Matsumiya, New York

What kinds of art would survive in the event of an environmental apocalypse? What new kinds of art would emerge? How would our very definition of “art” change if the figurative reset button were pressed on the world as we know it? Our current group exhibition, “Reset,” explores these questions, imagining the gallery as a post-apocalyptic, dystopian laboratory in which ostensibly permanent laws of nature, technology, and culture can be reconfigured.

The spirit of machines has been indispensable in rendering, modifying, and even destroying societal norms and laws, and art is certainly not immune to its consequences. The historical avant-garde was inextricable from the technological and industrial developments that defined their world, with the early French modernists referring to their own works as ‘machines’ suggesting both mechanistic dynamism and un-utilitarian creativity. The useless machine is essentially a reset button— built solely to turn itself off upon being turned on, thereby setting the process anew.

The late Marvin Minsky, once a researcher at Bell Labs Inc., devoted his career to two principal pursuits: making strides in the development of artificial intelligence and building “the most profoundly useless things” he could think of. These two projects may seem incongruous, but for Minsky they became intimately intertwined through one of his best-known inventions, the “useless machine.” For Minsky, the most advanced artificial intelligence would be capable of the most intimate, intelligent, private, and quintessentially human act, suicide. Thus, a machine that truly possessed the capacity for human intelligence would be a useless one: one whose only function is to switch itself off. Claude Shannon, a pioneer of information theory and cybernetics, was delighted by the concept of a useless machine and placed an assortment of them on his desk to entertain those who visited his office. But not everyone found the useless machine quite so amusing— Arthur C. Clarke, upon encountering an early prototype, called the device “unspeakably sinister.”

Clarke cannot be faulted for seeing something sinister in the useless machine’s built-in death drive, but a reset button leaves room for hope even in the most sinister of times: pressing reset opens up the possibility of starting all over again. The machines-as-art displayed in “Reset” carry with them a similar sense of possibility, shedding light on the laws that have traditionally governed the gallery and the ways that, once the reset button has been pressed, both the artist’s and the gallery’s relationship to these laws are subject to change.

Kai Matsumiya gives special thanks to Keenan Jay, Eva Silverman, Drew Healy, Liz Koury, and all of the artists in the show (Joan Jonas, Craig Kalpakjian, Andrew Ross, Victoria Haynes, Micaela Carolan, Carol Szymanski, Ben Morgan-Cleveland, Steffani Jemison, Rainer Ganahl, Ala Dehghan, Jason Hirata, Ficus Interfaith, Amy O’Neill, Elliott Jamal Robbins, Cassidy Toner, Maggie Lee, Raque Ford, Peter Fend, Jason Matthew Lee, Pedro Wirz, Greg Fadell).

Reset, 2019, exhibition view, Kai Matsumiya, New York

Reset, 2019, exhibition view, Kai Matsumiya, New York

Peter Fend, Maybe Reset Fails as of Today: Anti-Nuclear Defense, 2019, Colored pencil and pen on paper

Rainer Ganahl, Blockchain, 2019, Neon, 37 x 8 inches

Reset, 2019, exhibition view, Kai Matsumiya, New York

Craig Kalpakjian, Silent Running, 2019, Duel Moving Head Spotlight, Neon Pothos houseplant, Lighting truss and base, surveillance mirror, watering can, GSR biofeedback monitor, 51” x 50” x 28”

Ben Morgan Cleveland, C & L C Ives, 1832-1836, Wood, glass, steel, brass, 36 x 17 x 6 inches

Ficus Interfaith, Water Filter 1, 2017, Glass, silicon, orange peels, 32h x 16w x 15 1/4d inches

Raque Ford, The Devil’s Chain, 2018, Steel, paper, wire, and plastic, 99 inches; Pedro Wirz, Heater, 2019, Humus, Styrofoam, chicken wire, wood glue, electric cable, 4.5 inches in diameter

Raque Ford, The Devil’s Chain, 2018, Steel, paper, wire, and plastic, 99 inches; Pedro Wirz, Heater, 2019, Humus, Styrofoam, chicken wire, wood glue, electric cable, 4.5 inches in diameter

Micaela Carolan, Maiden Ln., 2019, Shredded Wall St. and City Hall documents, mesh, 37 x 22 x 23

Elliott Jamal Robbins, Modern Love, 2018, Sumi ink on paper, 8.5 x 11 inches; Untitled 16, 2018, Sumi ink on paper, 8.5 x 11 inches

Reset, 2019, exhibition view, Kai Matsumiya, New York

Ala Dehghan, Sea Forests in Assemblage, 2019, plaster, wax, plexiglass, wigs, dried flowers (gifted), glue, spray paint, marker, inkjet print, artist’s helmet, screen (sea forests: 10 hours of relaxing ocean scapes), 22.5 x 38.5 x 35 inches

Ala Dehghan, Candle Forest Hair, 2019, colored pencil, marker and gouache on paper, 12 x 18 inches

Carol Szymanski, Every third thought is a broken readymade, 2019, Silkscreen ink on wall, neon, paper, Dimensions variable

Joan Jonas, Fox Mask, Date unknown (c.1980s), Found mask, From the Joan Jonas archive, 12 x 6 x 7 inches

Reset, 2019, exhibition view, Kai Matsumiya, New York

Victoria Haynes, Helluva long friendship!, 2018, oil and colored pencil on panel, 16 x 24 inches

Victoria Haynes, The Right Hand of Lee Miller, 2017, Baltic birch, 15 x 5 x 5 inches; The Left Hand of Lee Miller, 2017, Baltic birch, 15 x 5 x 5 inches

Maggie Lee, Click, 2019, Lamp, motion detector, 20 x 9 x 9 inches

Jason Matthew Lee, Untitled, 2017, Pay phone shell, prosthetic leg, debris, 29 x 14.25 x 9.5 inches

Amy O’Neill, AHF, 2019, Pigmented hydrocal and lacquer, 7 x 9 x 2.5 inches

Jason Hirata, Gavroche, 2019, Three 5000º Kelvin industrial LED retrofit bulbs, gallery power grid, 20 x 4 x 11.5 inches

Greg Fadell, Cave Painting, 2018, Acrylic and UV ink on canvas with aluminum stretcher, 44.5 x 36 inches

Andrew Ross, Red Devil (Totem), 2016, Metal, Fabric, Wood, Motors, 108 × 36 × 36 in

Cassidy Toner, Dust Bunny #7, 2018, Faux fur, Weasel BallTM, Zipper, Aspirin wrapper, Cigarette butts, Amethyst crystal, Chain, Sesame snack wrapper, 4 inches in diameter

Cassidy Toner, Dust Bunny #6, 2018, Faux fur, Weasel BallTM, Zipper, Tram ticket, Ketamine baggie, Gummy-Bear package, 4 inches in diameter

Reset, 2019, exhibition view, Kai Matsumiya, New York

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