Ghosts in the Machine

Henrik Olesen, The Body is a Machine, 2010. Oil on canvas, 40 x 31 in (100 x 80 cm). Collection Kunstmuseum Basel. Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne

«Opening at the New Museum in July 2012, “Ghosts in the Machine” surveys the constantly shifting relationship between humans, machines, and art. Occupying the Museum’s three main galleries, the exhibition examines artists’ embrace of and fascination with technology, as well as their prescient awareness of the ways in which technology can transform subjective experiences.

International in scope, the exhibition spans more than fifty years and incorporates works by contemporary artists. The works assembled trace the complex historical passage from the mechanical to the optical to the virtual, looking at the ways in which humans have projected anthropomorphic behaviors onto machines that have become progressively more human. In place of a traditional, chronological approach, “Ghosts in the Machine” is conceived as an encyclopedic cabinet of wonders: bringing together an array of artworks and non-art objects to create an unsystematic archive of man’s attempt to reconcile the organic and the mechanical.»

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