Mika Rottenberg’s Surreal New Museum Show Includes a Work Inspired by ASMR and a Potato Farm—See Images Here

See the unsettling installations and films by the American artist, whose boundless imagination reveals the absurdity in capitalism.

Mika Rottenberg, Cosmic Generator [still](2017). © Mika Rottenberg. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Mika Rottenberg, Cosmic Generator [still](2017). © Mika Rottenberg. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

“Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces”

New Museum, New York, on view through September 15, 2019

 

What the Museum Says: “Employing absurdist satire to address the critical issues of our time, Rottenberg creates videos and installations that offer subversive allegories for contemporary life… Together, the works in the exhibition trace central themes in Rottenberg’s oeuvre, including labor, technology, distance, energy, and the interconnectedness of the mechanical and the corporeal.”

Why It’s Worth a Look: It is true that, to really appreciate a film by Mika Rottenberg, you’ve got to experience the whole thing, from start to finish. The surreal connections between the strange factory scenes of NoNoseKnows, where the manufacture of pearls is linked, in a dream-like way, to a woman who sneezes plates of Chinese food from her huge nose, is part of the fun. The artist’s brand new video Spaghetti Blockchain conjures associations between “Tuvan throat singers in Siberia, the CERN antimatter factory, a potato farm in Maine, and ASMR-inducing tabletop vignettes.”

But even just taken as stills here, you get a sense of the unsettling appeal of Rottenberg’s odd, free-associative world. And in addition to the various moving image works, the show is worth checking out for some wonderfully weird installation elements (many of them sculptures previously seen elsewhere at venues including Goldsmiths and the Palais de Tokyo): ceiling fans glimpsed through cut-outs in the wall and animated lips, or animatronic fingers and ponytails poking from openings into the galleries.

What It Looks Like:

Installation view of "Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces" at the New Museum. Image: Ben Davis.

Installation view of “Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces” at the New Museum. Image: Ben Davis.

Mika Rottenberg, AC and Plant (2018). Installation view: “Mika Rottenberg,” Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, London, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Andy Keats, 2018

Mika Rottenberg, AC and Plant (2018). Installation view: “Mika Rottenberg,” Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, London, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Andy Keats, 2018

Mika Rottenberg, Ceiling Fan Composition (2016). Installation view: “Mika Rottenberg,” Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Aurélien Mole

Mika Rottenberg, Ceiling Fan Composition (2016). Installation view: “Mika Rottenberg,” Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Aurélien Mole

Mika Rottenberg, Finger (2018). Installation view: “Mika Rottenberg,” Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, London, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Andy Keats, 2018.

Mika Rottenberg, Finger (2018). Installation view: “Mika Rottenberg,” Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, London, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Andy Keats, 2018.

Mika Rottenberg, Sneeze (2012) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color, dimensions variable; approx. 3 min. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Mika Rottenberg, Sneeze (2012) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color, dimensions variable; approx. 3 min. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

“Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces,” 2019. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni.

“Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces,” 2019. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni.

Mika Rottenberg, NoNoseKnows (2015) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color, dimensions variable; 21:58 min. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Mika Rottenberg, NoNoseKnows (2015) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color, dimensions variable; 21:58 min. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Mika Rottenberg, NoNoseKnows (2015) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color, dimensions variable; 21:58 min. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Mika Rottenberg, NoNoseKnows (2015) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color, dimensions variable; 21:58 min. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

“Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces,” 2019. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni

“Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces,” 2019. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni.

Mika Rottenberg, Cosmic Generator (2017) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color; 26:36 min. © Mika Rottenberg. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg, Cosmic Generator (2017) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color; 26:36 min. © Mika Rottenberg. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg, Cosmic Generator (2017) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color; 26:36 min. © Mika Rottenberg. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg, Cosmic Generator (2017) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color; 26:36 min. © Mika Rottenberg. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

“Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces,” 2019. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni.

“Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces,” 2019. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni.

Mika Rottenberg, Spaghetti Blockchain (2019) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color; approx. 21 min. © Mika Rottenberg. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg, Spaghetti Blockchain (2019) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color; approx. 21 min. © Mika Rottenberg. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg, Spaghetti Blockchain (2019) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color; approx. 21 min. © Mika Rottenberg. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg, Spaghetti Blockchain (2019) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color; approx. 21 min. © Mika Rottenberg. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg, Untitled Ceiling Projection (2018) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color, dimensions variable; 6:07 min. © Mika Rottenberg. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Mika Rottenberg, Untitled Ceiling Projection (2018) [still]. Single-channel video installation, sound, color, dimensions variable; 6:07 min. © Mika Rottenberg. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

“Mike Rottenberg: Easypieces” is on view through September 15, 2019. 

The New Museum is located 235 Bowery, New York.


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