In the aughts, as a budding art critic and curator who spent an inordinate amount of time on the internet, I heard bits and pieces about actual, physical galleries that showed internet art. And/Or Gallery, started in 2006 by Lauren Gray and Paul Slocum in the unlikely locale of Dallas, Texas, was one of such places. And/Or showed a roster of artists that have since gone on to do great things–Brenna Murphy and Petra Cortright among them. Slocum has reinitiated And/Or in Pasadena, California as of this winter. It’ll be interesting to see how the gallery operates in a coastal location and 10 years later, when many of the artists associated with the gallery already have gallery representation. Read Christopher Mosley of the Dallas Times on And/Or in partial below, or in full via Dallas News.
The first show at the California edition of And/Or featured both artists who have exhibited at the Dallas gallery and a few that signal what’s next for the resurrected project. Artist Brenna Murphy had her first-ever Los Angeles solo opening, after showing a single work in And/Or’s relaunch exhibition. Her work includes everything from sculpture to tapestries to virtual reality.
Some of And/Or’s Dallas alumni have come a long way since they first displayed work at the original location. Petra Cortright may be the most glaring example. She sold her first work ever in Dallas, which should be a huge bragging point for the city. Cortright went on to show at the Frieze Art Fair, the Venice Biennale, and collaborated on a project with Stella McCartney. The artist had a 2007 work, VVEBCAM, censored on YouTube due to her use of explicit tags, even though the video content itself is cartoonish and harmless. Now a decade old, the piece looks very much like the average Snapchat clip being shared this very moment in classrooms the world over. Even in (or because of?) being banned, Cortright remains influential.
Russian artist Olia Lialina created the aforementioned tower of Myspace-era internet gifs, and has now been working with internet-based art for the past 20 years — or two lifetimes ago online. She is considered one of the pioneers of the genre. Artist Guthrie Lonergan participated in the Hammer Museum’s popular Made in L.A. group exhibition. A work by Cory Arcangel — who has shown multiple times at the Whitney Museum, including the distinction of a solo exhibition — was part of a trade deal between Slocum and the artist.
With such a heavy focus on being a highly progressive art entity, the 2017 West Coast version of And/Or Gallery is now in a very interesting place. What to do when the flash and glitz of the web quickly cannibalizes and erodes the impact of digital artwork, and it becomes as dated as any other design or communication trend? How will the new space define itself in the era of the vintage emoji?
*Image of Pasadena’s And/Or Gallery via Dallas News