The work selected for this exhibition hesitates towards a technology-driven frenetic future, addresses feelings of isolation and makes transparent the nature of shifting meanings through context/positioning. The exhibition title, “Are Friends Electric?” Is taken from Gary Numan’s iconic song, whose lyrics verge on fear of loneliness amid the appearance of friendly entities. In reflection of our truly complicated relationship with what it means to be “social” today, artists continue to forge, perhaps even more fastidiously now, personal identities in their practices despite the reality of shrinking “private” and [truly] “public” spaces. New forms of “social spaces” allow for one kind of collectivity, but marginalize a more analog communion between individuals. Laden with aesthetic self-identifiers, each work serves as a beacon for the thoughts, ideals, and intuitions of the artist. When this work is brought together, what new meanings take place? In collectivity, can anxiety about the future be temporarily subsided, helpfully articulated or possibly - exacerbated? Seen as a synecdoche, Are Friends Electric? focuses both on each individual artist as well as the collective formation of both exhibitions. The exhibitions seek to create a dialogue through a theatrically staged installation of video, photography, painting and sculpture.
Are Friends Electric? is a group art exhibition curated by the Manual History Machines dispersed between two locations as Act I and Act II. Act I is presented as a Curators Lab Exhibition at Fellows of Contemporary Art (FOCA) in Chinatown, Los Angeles from January 18 - March 21, 2014. Opening just a few days later, Act II will be on view in the Peggy Phelps Gallery and East Gallery at Claremont Graduate University from January 21 - February 6th, 2014. Both exhibitions present works from the same group of artists, pushing our modes of perception and ability to relate to the artists' works.
Opening reception is on Saturday, January 18th, 2014 from 6-9pm. Catalog release with text by David Pagel accompanied by Artist Talk- date TBA.