“CODE and NOISE”
curated by Christine Duval
JD Beltran & Scott Minneman, Mel Day & Frank Ham, Laurie Frick, James Lanahan,
LigoranoReese, Clive McCarthy, Simon Pyle, teamLab, and Yang Yongliang.
“CODE and NOISE” featured eleven artists from Chicago, New York, the Bay Area, China, and Japan who use, create or leverage software to produce works that are engaging, stimulating and invite us to ponder many current issues such as the environment, memory, art history, data collection, and surveillance.
CODE and NOISE
Curated by Christine Duval
Silicon Valley San Francisco Art Fair
by Dewitt Cheng
It’s no secret that the art world would like to attract younger audiences, including, in the Bay Area a potential new generation of collectors and patrons, the technorati of Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Art traditionalists (many of whom feel threatened by the sweeping changes caused by tech wealth) argue that the techies, symbolized by Google buses, are merely parvenus uninterested in culture or ‘giving back” to the creative community, the contemporary version of 49ers who happen to have struck it rich. It’s a broad-brush criticism at best. Nick Korniloff, who brought his Art Miami expertise to the first Silicon Valley San Francisco Art Fair last year, believes that the current high levels of creativity and wealth in northern California create a window of opportunity in which the Bay Area might gain greater recognition as an important art center. We who care about the region’s relatively low ranking by art world standards, despite our deep bench of art talent, must hope that he is right, and do everything we can to support his and others’ attempts to shine a light on the Bay Area’s art community.
Creativity drives both the digital world and the artistic world, so the synthesis of the aesthetic and technological that is on display in CODE and NOISE, an exhibition of eleven artists from around the world who employ computers to explore new visions of the world, makes for a fitting introduction to the fair, located as it is, just inside the entrance. Curated by Christine Duval (formerly of Limn Gallery in San Francisco, and previously Frumkin-Duval Gallery, and now an independent curator: duvalcontemporary.com), the beautifully installed show features work by JD Beltran & Scott Minneman, Mel Day & Frank Ham, Laurie Frick, James Lanahan, Ligorano/Reese, Clive McCarthy, Simon Pyle, teamLab and Yang Yongliang that touches on urgent contemporary concerns enumerated in the show’s press release— “the environment, memory, art history, data collection and surveillance” —with laser-cut drawings (Frick), video collages (Beltran & Minneman), dropped-computer digital photo randomizing (Lanahan), painting algorithms (McCarthy), animated landscape imaging (Yong), the dialogue between printed and electronic media (Day & Ham) and digital reconnaissance of the art viewer (Pyle). Photographer James Lanahan, one of the inventors of the digital camera, declared that in today’s world, code underlies everything — or, at least everything as represented culturally. Noise is (as I understand it) random signals, or signals that we cannot decipher. The title CODE and NOISE thus aptly symbolizes the interplay between style and content, medium and message, in a rapidly evolving technosphere.
Because of time constraints, this short piece cannot be the considered review that I had intended. If you can’t make it to the fair today, you can see a slideshow of the work at I understand that this museum-quality show will be moved to another venue after the fair closes. I hope that it will be reappearing in the Bay Area so that more people can see it, and more writers and reviewers can more thoroughly consider its marriage of medium and message.