From Pixel Forest to Open my Glade
Moving image artist Pipilotti Rist’s survey Pixel Forest (New Museum) came to an end this month as she simultaneously became a part of the world’s longest-running digital art exhibition. Midnight Moment is a curated, monthly art initiative that invites artists to interrupt advertising in Times Square for three minutes every night. Synchronized on electronic billboards throughout the intersection, Rist’s video piece Open my Glade (Flatten) aired through January from 11:57pm to midnight.
This is the second time the Swiss artist has confronted the screens in Times Square. Rist’s first public art project in New York was a single screen playing 16 one-minute videos interspersed with daily advertising. A more saturated, otherworldly Rist stares down her audience in the 2017 version of Glade. She distorts her high-def features by pushing her face up against glass, seemingly smearing her spit and makeup against the digital screens, hugged by a media-frenzied cityscape. The condensed video update resonates much more this year, Rist triggers thoughts of a new generation of women in the media: Instagram nodels and YouTube beauty gurus. These were terms not yet in existence during Rist’s first appearance in an early 2000’s Midtown.
The multichannel takeover is reminiscent of Rist’s 1994 permanent video piece embedded in the lobby floorboards of MoMA PS1. Selbstlos im Lavabad (Selfless in the Bath of Lava) like Open my Glade (Flatten) features the ‘artist as performer,’ pleading to escape as she reaches towards the screen that divides the artist from the viewer.
A major new retrospective of Pipilotti Rist’s work will be presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in November 2017.