At the New Museum, Oliver Laric Supplies a Mascot for our Times
THE DAILY PIC: The latest Triennial is at the mercy of our sold-out, OCD culture.
THE DAILY PIC: This GIF samples from a six-minute animation by Oliver Laric, which I consider a key to unlocking the meaning of the New Museum’s latest Triennial. In our last Strictly Critical video for Artnet News, Christian Viveros-Fauné and I were pretty hard on the show, and have turned out to be at odds with a lot of other critics. The show has been praised for work that captures our current predicament, as we all come to grips with the madness of our Internet age and of so-called Late Capitalism. (What are we going to call an even later version of the West’s economic system when it comes along– are all those Late-ists actually banking on this being capitalism’s last hurrah? Hope springs eternal…) What all the positive reviews seem to miss, however, is the fact that this Triennial–like every similar pulse-taking show, whether annual, biennial or semi-decennial–is completely immersed in, and symptomatic of, the cultural troubles its art is commenting on. In terms of its gestalt, the Triennial as whole, with its assaultative spread of goods and screens, is a perfect stand-in (or patsy) for a system built around obsessive consumption and an endless barrage of stimulus. That world–to get back to today’s Pic–is the hydra-headed monster we see in Laric’s sewn-together snippets of found animation, one cartoon form morphing endlessly into another. The piece captures the lability, and interchangeability, of the cultural consumer goods of Late Capitalism (sorry). It’s no wonder that one of the most thrilling/chilling monsters of our time is the shape-shifting, literally mercurial T-1000 android of the second Terminator movie. That monster could almost be the mascot of the 21st-century survey show; one of these days, some smart museum will decide to drive a stake through its mimetic-polyalloy heart. (Courtesy the artist and Tanya Leighton, Berlin)
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