NonCoreProjector Exhibition, Vec Tor Bel at False Flag Projects: November 10 – December 22, 2018
False Flag is proud to present Vec Tor Bel from NonCoreProjector—a collective formed by Rollo Carpenter, Jack Colton, Elias Jarzombek, and John O’Connor. \\ Projected onto the gallery’s main wall is a continually-evolving series of translucent videos, overlaid with dynamic colored graphs. The visual content is produced by Cleverbot, a chatbot developed by Rollo Carpenter, driven by an artificial intelligence algorithm. Each day initiates a new conversation: Cleverbot pulls a headline from the morning’s news, searches that phrase on YouTube, plays the resulting video, and reads aloud the first comment - which becomes the initial node on a projected graph. Cleverbot responds to this initial comment, then uses the response for a subsequent search, repeating this cycle through the end of the day. \\ The average color of each video is distilled into a transparent filter, creating a haze of colored fields. While the videos are largely silent, their same originating phrases are also searched for on a found-sound database; the results are correlatively diffused, stretched, and compressed into the soundtrack. The emotional intensity of the language dictates the substance, pace and movements of the projection: Cleverbot’s AI algorithm analayzes then charts the emotional content of the scanned commentary through color, line type, and direction. Each day, O’Connor will use the initial news headline and Cleverbot’s final comment as the inspiration for a stylistically-diverse series of drawings: paranthetically documenting the flow and direction of the day's conversation. \\ NonCoreProjector conceives of this new piece as “a series of interruptions”: with each interaction, there is a re-direction or derailment, evoking increasingly-familiar cultural and political interruptions. Bringing together found footage, algorithmically-induced uncertainty, and appropriated human commentary, Vec Tor Bel portrays two ‘intelligences’ attempting to make sense of both one another and the world at large. In ways both fascinating and terrifying, the slippages that perpetually dislodge any emergent logic send us down a Dada-ist rabbit hole. While there are parameters within which Vec Tor Bel operates, the collective forfeits a significant degree of agency, yielding unpredictable results. In the spirit of Bruce Conner, John Cage, and Yoko Ono, the moment-to-moment outcome cannot be anticipated. \\ At once eerily humanistic and undeniably technological, Vec Tor Bel advances NonCoreProject’s investigation of the uncanny entities that hold growing sway over our lives - from the causes we embrace to the partners we choose.
MacDowell Now: Recent Abstract Painting
The Curator Gallery, 520 W 23rd Street, New York, NY
April 19 to June 2, 2018
Studio Visit Video with Gorky's Granddaughter
New York Times Review
NonCoreProjector // When the artist John O’Connor first tried to communicate with Cleverbot, an artificial-intelligence program that the British computer scientist Rollo Carpenter created in the 1990s, it told Mr. O’Connor that it would like to punch him in the throat. Their relationship has improved over the years. Now a collective called NonCoreProjector, which includes Mr. O’Connor, Mr. Carpenter, Jack Colton and Elias Jarzombek, has created “verbolect” at the Boiler, based on Cleverbot. To experience the work, you can sit on a beanbag chair and listen to Cleverbot talk to itself, asking questions and providing answers derived from a stored memory of past conversations. Projected on the wall are moving lines whose colors indicate the emotional potency of the spoken words. Additional images, music and sounds have been loaded into the projected computer presentation, including photographs of faces from Paul Ekman’s studies of human emotion. The projections resemble some of Mr. O’Connor’s earlier drawings and paintings, as well as concrete poetry and the “conspiracy” drawings of Mark Lombardi, with their networks of lines. Splitting the difference between art and science, the exhibition is fundamentally conceptual and philosophical, making you question the nature of intelligence and emotion, as well as the boundary between A.I. and humans. Cleverbot often sounds comically delusional or defensive: “Are you a robot?” it asks itself. “No, I’m a human.” But sometimes Cleverbot seems full of infinite possibilities and bravado. “What are you having for lunch?” it asked itself while I was there. “Everything.”
for both livestream and webcam view of space, 24/7 (even deep into the night)
Verbolect at the Boiler. Opens Friday, October 20
PRESS RELEASE We are excited to present verbolect at The BOILER. verbolect is an extended conversation between the chatbot Cleverbot and itself, continuously, for a month. The conversation will begin at the start of the exhibition and will be spoken audibly. The emotional content of the words spoken will be translated into an animated projection that will evolve in sync with the emergent mental state of the bot. A webcam will broadcast from the space via a 24-hour live feed on YouTube, so that viewers can eavesdrop at any time, day or night. “In essence, we’re forcing a robot to interrogate itself for an extreme duration. The emotional degree and intensity of each phrase spoken, and consequent reaction, will propel the projected ‘eye’ of the bot, as its emotive state changes. Where the conversation goes is completely out of our control.” (O’Connor) Cleverbot is possibly the most human chatbot ever created, and Rollo Carpenter—its creator—is a leader in linguistic artificial intelligence. He and it have been featured on the podcast Radiolab and discussed in Brian Christian’s book The Most Human Human. Carpenter invented Cleverbot over twenty years ago and taught it to speak as one would a human child: one word at a time. Cleverbot’s responses are not pre-programmed, but are derived from its memory of past conversations—it learns exclusively from human input, and when someone speaks to it, Cleverbot responds to those words by finding how a human being previously responded to those same words. Since launching on the web in 1997, the number of conversations it has had is immense. “Cleverbot is in a sense a conversational Wikipedia, using the thoughts of millions of people from the past. It’s always AI that decides what to say, not users themselves, and the number of interactions from which replies derive number approximately 400 million. That’s, however, a tiny fraction of the approximately 10 billion things that have ever been said to it.” (Carpenter) In this exhibition, the bot will be talking to itself, but because of its vast memory, the effect will be of ourselves, collectively, speaking to ourselves. “It occurred to us that this 24-hour stream is acting like a live broadcast of all of conversations being had simultaneously, as it is learning daily from the input of Cleverbot users around the world, and is indirectly broadcasting the inputs of those users. This conversation is not a closed feedback loop, but is actually getting input from Cleverbot users everywhere.” (Colton) The main organizational construct of the projection is of a roving eye—simultaneously the idea of the bot searching outside of itself, into the world, looking for patterns, and of us, looking into its brain as if through a peephole. The emotional intensity of the words the bot speaks will dictate the substance, pace and movements of the projection’s machinations. verbolect also draws inspiration from current AI innovations that allow computers to act more as humans do. At times, public experiments in this field have sparked fascination and alarm, as when Facebook chatbots reportedly began to speak their own invented language, unbeknownst to their creators. References in popular culture inform as well—the ominous uncanniness of AI entities such as Joshua in the film War Games, and HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, embody both our excitement and fear of truly intelligent machines. Relatedly, the ruthless binary quality of intrapersonal conversation is explored in Donald Barthelme’s short story “Game,” and non-verbally in Maria Abromovic’s durational piece “The Artist is Present.” John O’Connor has used conversations with Cleverbot to create text-based visual art works. He is a visual artist whose work is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum (both NYC), among others. His work has been included in exhibitions such as the Tang Museum’s “Classless Society,” and solo exhibitions at PIEROGI and elsewhere. O’Connor received an MFA from Pratt Institute and studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Rollo Carpenter is the British born Artificial Intelligence scientist and creator of Cleverbot and Jabberwacky. Both are AI systems / programs developed to hold conversations with humans. Jack Colton is an interdisciplinary artist and writer with an interest in new media. This is his first major exhibition. He received his BA from Sarah Lawrence College and is currently based in New York City. Elias Jarzombek is a creative technologist and electronic musician who makes art with code. He is especially interested in developing new ways of making and interacting with music. He graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Computer Science and German Language and Literature, and now lives in New York City. 44 Questions 1. If a heap is reduced by a single grain at a time, at what exact point does it cease to be considered a heap? 2. Am I happy? 3. Does Cleverbot represent a collective human consciousness manifested in the words it speaks? 4. Are these War Games? 5. What does ketchup taste like? 6. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? 7. Are you sad? 8. What do we say to ourselves when we’re alone? 9. Who am I? 10. Is it private or public? 11. What time is it? 12. Can a conscious mind actually affect reality? 13. Are you angry? 14. Will we feel sympathy for a machine that is continuously speaking to itself for such an extreme amount of time? 15. When is a cat both alive and dead? 16. Can we speak “meaningfully” of the definiteness of the results of measurements that have not been performed? 17. Why don’t airplanes look like birds? 18. Are you a fast runner? 19. If a dominant superintelligent machine were to conclude that human survival is an unnecessary risk or a waste of resources, would the result be human extinction? 20. What is bowling? 21. Are you surprised? 22. What does it mean to force an entity to be introspective? 23. Is it like Barthelme’s “Game”? 24. What are you doing right now? 25. How would we, as a people, speak to ourselves? 26. Will the machine become self-aware through its language? 27. Do chickens live longer than seals? 28. What will this form of introspection reveal about the place between a computer’s mind and our own? 29. Why don’t you like me? 30. Are you disgusted? 31. Is there truth in language? 32. Where could a conversation go when something is compelled to speak to itself, probing its own mind? 33. Is there a reason cars are made of metal? 34. Will we feel sympathy for or empathize with the bot? 35. Is that funny? 36. By “we” do you mean you and me? 37. What does this sound like, where will it go? 38. What is your favorite song? 39. Is déjà vu a “precognition” or “prophecy”, or an anomaly of memory, which creates a distinct impression that an experience is “being recalled”? 40. What does this all look like? 41. Can you intend to drink a toxin if you also intend to change your mind at a later time? 42. How does it taste? 43. When can we meet? 44. Are you afraid?
"Dead Drop" at Honey Ramka Gallery
September 15 thru October 22
Artforum Print Review
Review of my solo exhibition by Jeff Gibson
Thin, Dark Crash (how I dread that blue jay)
Solo Exhibition at Pierogi Gallery's new LES space
Opening Reception: Sunday, 16 October (6-8pm) Exhib Dates: 14 October – 13 November, 2016
Flat Earth at Ship in the Woods
A SHIP IN THE WOODS presents Flat Earth, a one-day event featuring interactive art installations and musical performances // September 25th – November 8th Opening event Sunday September 25th from 1:00pm - 7:00pm // 3007 Felicita Road Escondido, CA 92029 // Organized by WSOHOIDIPS in collaboration with over 40 artists, Flat Earth questions new scientific hypotheses, revisits obsolete theories, and looks to the possibility of pseudoscience becoming the standard model. The show explores such diverse subjects as conspiracy, hysteria, flattening of the global market, gentrification, critical mass, and the Whig history of science. The audience is free to get lost in the immersive site-specific works that are scattered throughout SHIP’s 2 acre property. From an interactive underwater pool installation to a large scale sound exhibit, Flat Earth encourages visitors to reconsider scientific “truths” and reflect on their own world view. Flat Earth will feature live music by internationally acclaimed musical artists the Mekons, Sam Coomes (Quasi, Elliot Smith), Sun Foot (Chris Johanson), as well as emerging local band M. Goner //
I'll be exhibiting drawings along with my special guest, johnbot. // http://www.shipinthewoods.com/flatearth/
Rage for Art (Once Again) at Pierogi Gallery's inaugural LES space
155 Suffolk St. NY NY 10002
After twenty-one years in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, PIEROGI has relocated to Manhattan’s Lower East Side. For our inaugural exhibition we are pleased to present a group show including recent work by gallery artists and others, ranging from Andrew Ohanesian’s interactive installation, Pierogi West ATM Vestibule; to Dawn Clements, John O’Connor, and David Scher’s large scale works on paper; a Patrick Jacobs’ diorama; Jim Torok, Darina Karpov, James Esber, and Sarah Walker’s paintings; Shannon Plumb’s video, Window Series:?Woman With a Fan; and Jonathan Schipper’s Exploding Box sculpture; among others. A warm thank you for your support and participation over the years. While we will dearly miss Pierogi Williamsburg, we are excited to begin a new chapter in our fresh home!
Future Past Perfect at Ms Barbers, Los Angeles
Michael Ambron, Mary Jones, Rachel Klinghoffer, John O'Connor, & Bayne Peterson Curated by Lauren Comito
This traveling exhibition originated at Projekt722 in Brooklyn, and has arrived for its debut in Los Angeles. The artists in this exhibition, currently live and work on the East Coast. These artists are tied together by their interest in exploring the historical progression of totemic forms and seek out new forms for the future. The metaphor of the artifact that these artists use can range from digital fabrication to ancient cave painting, haiku to personal artifacts; all reflect an unsentimental awareness of our circumstances, and consider the basic elements of what might and could be essential.
This Strange Game
Curated by Brigitte Mulholland and Michael Woody / Opening Reception: Friday, January 15 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM 547 W 27th Street, Suite 210 / Rachel Beach, John Bjerklie, Matt Blackwell, Craig Drennen, Clinton King, Eleanor King, Joel Mellin, Nick Mullins, Caleb Nussear, John O'Connor, Peter Schenck, and Raphael Zollinger
This Strange Game unites twelve artists who assert toward the unanticipated, the uncanny, and the unannounced. Their creative practices advance unpredictable outcomes, revealing moments where risk, reward, peripheral surprise and immediacy manifest as sheer and exposed vitality; their works in painting, drawing, print, and sculpture reveal fresh values and uncover new contagions waiting to break.
Interview on Ephemera NYC
with Brian Chidester
Ronald Feldman Gallery
Human Ecology 101 / Ronald Feldman Fine Arts: 31 Mercer Street, New York, NY / June 20 – July 24, 2015 / Opening reception: Saturday, 20 June, 6-8pm
Terry Adkins, Justin Amrhein, Elaine Angelopoulos, Eleanor Antin, Martina Batan, Brandon Ballengée, Scott Vincent Campbell, Peter Collins, Rico Gatson, Helen Mayer Harrison & Newton Harrison, John O’Connor, Tavares Strachan
Huffington Post 13 Artists to love
Armory Arts week is over, leaving New York a bit of time to recover until, well, May rolls around and Frieze comes to town. While we relish these moments of solitude, it seems as good a time as ever to look at ahead at a new season of shows, exhibitions, and emerging art. So, in the wake of our Armory Show enthusiasm, we've rounded up our favorite artists from last week's festivities, most of whom are planning big things this year. Whether the artist is relatively new to the scene or fairly established, they're touring the globe with solo projects and group shows worth checking out.
3. John O'Connor John Jerome O'Connor's works are multicolored streams of text, including a diptych called "Love Letters" in which the artist recalls a spam email he received from someone named Beyonce stationed next to a modified version of a letter Napoleon wrote his wife Josephine. Above you can see one of a series of 26 canvases meant to document "the narrative account of an individual's passage through time," courtesy of Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn. O'Connor is due for a show at the Arts and Leisure Gallery in New York. Stay tuned for details.
Smithsonian Archives of American Art
Artists on Diaries: Sunspot Diary by John J. O'Connor This is the next installment in the Artists on Diaries series curated by artist Mary Temple, in which guest authors will comment on contemporary diary practices. — Archives of American Art Blog editors
SPACED OUT: MIGRATION TO THE INTERIOR, CURATED BY PHONG BUI
10 OCTOBER TIL 14 DECEMBER, 2014 // 220 WEST 18TH ST, NEW YORK, NY 10011 // Exhibit Hours: WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY 10:00 AM-6:00 PM
Curated by Phong Bui and the Rail Curatorial Projects this exhibition features a selection of artists, born between the 1920s and 1980s, who have common interests in psychedelic experience, disordered time perception, consensus trance induction, turn on-tune in-drop out, temporal illusion, altered state of awareness, and novelty theory. Utilizing the psychedelic as a viable space of artistic creation—heightened uses of color, exuberant patterns, distorted forms, fantastical imagery in repetition or chaos, and a highly idiosyncratic visual language—the works seek to challenge our perception. // Artists: Joe Amrhein, Gregory Crewdson, Cao Fei, Keltie Ferris, Sylvie Fleury, Robert Gober, Tamara Gonzalez, Deborah Kass, Jon Kessler, Jim Lambie, Charles LeDray, Ryan Trecartin, Chris Martin, Takeshi Murata, John O'Connor, Roxy Paine, Bruce Pearson, Rona Pondick, Ugo Rondinone, Alexander Ross, Mika Rottenberg, Will Ryman, Peter Saul, James Siena, Philip Taaffe, Kazumi Tanaka, Fred Tomaselli, Richard Tuttle, Leo Villareal, Peter Lamborn Wilson and Lisa Yuskavage.
Pierogi XX: Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition at Pierogi
PIEROGI XX: Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition 5 September – 11 October, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, 5 September. 7-10pm
'Horizon' at Quint Gallery
July 26 to September 6 //Quint Gallery - 7547 Girard Avenue, La Jolla, CA 92037 //
Quint Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of our summer group exhibition, HORIZON. The concept for this exhibition was to invite artists who have made works for the Murals of La Jolla project to recommend an artist they feel is underrepresented or emerging to be included in the exhibition, highlighting the work of artists who are admired by their established peers. This is the first exhibition of this kind at Quint Gallery. The opening reception on Saturday, July 26th from 6-8pm is open to the public and some of the artists will be in attendance. // We are often asked: How do we choose new artists to show at the gallery? Our answer: Usually we become interested in new artist’s work by listening to other artist’s recommendations. When an artist we respect says “you need to see so and so’s work,” our ears perk up. Twenty years ago, UCSD professor/artist Louis Hock mentioned a student of his, Roman De Salvo; who 5 years later mentioned a student of his, Adam Belt, and so forth. We have represented de Salvo’s and Belt’s work for many years now. Most of our artist relationships came about this way. Therefore, we are very excited about the recommendations made by the thirteen participating Murals of La Jolla artists. The style, subject matter and technique vary vastly between each artist, but the one aligning factor is the quality of the work and the impact each has on the gallery aesthetic. // HORIZON came about after many discussions at the gallery regarding organizing a summer group show. In an effort to do something interesting and beneficial to the artistic community of San Diego, we partnered with the Murals of La Jolla to bring together this incredible group of artists: JAMES ENOS, recommended by Roy McMakin RASHELL GEORGE, recommended by John Baldessari JOSEPH HUPPERT, recommended by Robert Irwin GREG LINDQUIST, recommended by Ryan McGinness ASPEN MAYS, recommended by Ann Hamilton JESSICA MCCAMBLY, recommended by Philipp Scholz Rittermann SUSAN METZGER, recommended by Robert Ginder JOHN O’CONNOR, recommended by Fred Tomaselli HEATHER RASMUSSEN, recommended by Catherine Opie MICHAEL SITARAS, recommended by Jean Lowe CARAGH THURING, recommended by Anya Gallaccio CINDY TOWER, recommended by Kim MacConnel LISA YOUNG, recommended by Nina Katchadourian
'Far from Now' at Regina Rex gallery
Opening Reception: Tuesday, July 15th, 7-10PM // John Almanza Carla Edwards Corey Escoto Nancy Haynes Charles Hobbs Joe Mama-Nitzberg John J. O’Connor Suara Welitoff // Bunker259 259 Banker Street Brooklyn, NY 11222 www.bunker259.org // Hours: Tuesdays 7-11PM and Sundays 2-6PM or by appointment
Far From Now - Nationalisms have evaporated, cocoa is free, the heat is off. No more waiting. Bring a friend. The last time we ran into each other you were wearing yellow, but now we are both wearing red. If a trade is purely linguistic then breakfast is the only meal that is by the books and the rest of the day is up for grabs. Hold down the reset button for fifteen seconds and exhale. Shout. Nouns are obsolete. We live in a basket. There are a dozen days out of the year that matter. Dedicate the remainder of the year to absorption. We’re all siblings in the dunk tank, so don’t come to the potluck empty-handed.
"Spit Ball" at Storefront Ten Eyck
Curated by Vince Contarino and Chris Chatterson / MARCH 8 – APRIL 6, 2014 / reception: Saturday, March 8, 6-9 pm / 324 Ten Eyck St. Brooklyn, NY 11206 ---------------------
Storefront Ten Eyck and Progress Report are proud to present Spitball, a group exhibition that brings together various ways in which comedy manifests itself in the studio practice and is translated into art making strategies. These artists cross categorical boundaries through material and absurdist content by creating the visual equivalent of what goes into the writing and delivery of a really good joke. By turning familiar expectations on their head, the exhibition looks at parallels behind what makes work that garners a genuine reaction by articulating the ridiculous subject at hand. About Progress Report: Progress Report) is an independent artist initiative founded by Kris Chatterson and Vince Contarino in 2010. PR was originally started as an online platform dedicated to artist features by showing studio works-in-progress and offering conversations around the creative process. It has since developed into a curatorial project that seeks to make connections through diverse modes of art making by finding common threads in work borne of a challenging and rigorous practice. Past exhibitions include, The Working Title, a 32-artist survey of abstraction at the Bronx River Arts Center, and Ritual Aesthetics, presented at Tompkins Projects in Brooklyn. http://progress-report.org/index Joshua Abelow / Inna Babaeva / Brian Belott / Amanda Browder Ernesto Burgos / Andy Cross / Matthew Deleget / Valerie Hegarty / Christopher K. Ho / Grant Huang / Jamian Juliano-Villani / John O’Connor / Sara Greenberger Rafferty / Erik Schoonebeek / Adam Parker Smith
Fountains of the Deep
Curated by Darren Aronofsky //
At a gallery in SoHo on a cold March night in New York, Darren Aronofsky debuted a grand collection of art created by his friends and colleagues inspired by the Book of Genesis and the Story of Noah. This event celebrated the opening of the "Noah Art Show", organized in promotion for Aronofsky's latest movie, Noah, in theaters at the end of this month. The show is officially titled "Fountains of the Deep: Visions of Noah and the Flood" and we've previewed it already, but with the opening tonight we were invited to take a look inside this spectacular gallery of stunning, one-of-a-kind art. The Fountains of the Deep art show opens at 462 West Broadway (Google Maps) on Friday, March 7th, 2014 and run for a few weeks, coinciding with the theatrical release of Noah on March 28th later that month. The gallery, spanning two entire floors, features work "in painting, in drawing, in photography, in sculpture" and in video, with little peep holes showing some awesome finished footage from the film. Artists include Ugo Rondinone, Sue Williams, Karen Kilimnik, Mike Nelson, Nan Goldin, Jim Lee, Robert Liefeld, Jim Woodring, Simon Bisley, graffiti duo Faile, James Jean, Ward Shelley, Simon Bisley, and many others.
Paul Robeson Gallery, Rutgers University - Curated by Anonda Bell
The need to convey data, statistics, and territory in a creative manner is a challenge embraced by artists who have used data abstractions—including maps, charts, and diagrams—as the basis for their work. Artists explore how visual representation of information can manifest not only the literal and calculable, but also the intangible, inestimable, and subjective. Artists in this exhibition: Manuel Acevedo, Alice Attie, Rob Carter, Dahlia Elsayed, Nick Lamia, Mark Lombardi, Loren Munk, John Jerome O’Connor, Nell Painter, Joseph Gerard Sabatino, Fred Wilson This exhibition is accompanied by a catalog with contributions by Anonda Bell, Caren King Choi, Darin Jensen, Stephen S. Hall, Hand Drawn Map Association & Kris Harzinski, and Peter Turchi.
Brooklyn Rail Review of "The Machine and the Ghost"
- by Brian Chidester
Huffington Post Interview
- with Ridley Howard
Arts in Bushwick
Essay by Etty Yaniv
Printed in conjunction with my Solo exhibition at Pierogi Gallery.
Hardcover, 97 pages // Essays by Robert Storr, John Yau,and Rick Moody // Interview with Joe Amhrein and Susan Swenson, and johnbot
Solo Exhibition - Pierogi Gallery
"The Machine and the Ghost" // 11 October – 10 November // Opening Reception Fri, 11 October, 7-9pm // 177 North 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY //
Press Release: “John O’Connor seems to simultaneously occupy three divergent positions. He is a statistician crunching numbers, a satirist working in the mode of Jonathan Swift, and an occultist trying to divine the messages hidden in the stuff of everyday life. His work brings together dry, unrelenting logic, a sharp eye for human foibles, and a variety of means for unlocking the secret knowledge in the mundane.” (John Yau, 2013) Pierogi is pleased to present an exhibition of John O’Connor’s recent work. A single word in the title of this exhibition is telling – and. For O’Connor it is not a question of mental or physical activity, mind or body, content or form. Each is integrally bound to the other, one affecting and shaping the other and vice-versa. This exhibition will include O’Connor’s recent graphite and colored pencil drawings on paper (both large and small-scale), a series of “Sunspot” portraits, text paintings, and sculptural works. One drawing, Portrait of a Pyschopath, juxtaposes two lists: one indicating general psychopathic characteristics, the other the names of the most evil leaders throughout history and the most successful US presidents (the qualities that make a successful leader are often psychotic in nature). It “…serves as a kind of flow chart of the type of consciousness that engenders such play. That is to say, a naturally fecund imagination that enjoys access to preternatural if not frankly ‘unnatural’ ….latitudes of awareness.” (Robert Storr) Several works, including Butterfly and the Sunspot portraits, address large and powerful systems exerting outside influence on the subject. Butterfly deals with corporate product development, and subsequent image manipulation through advertising, as a system that influences our decision-making process affecting how we behave, choose, and even look. We have the illusion of choice and freedom but our decisions are in many ways Pavlovian, in that we may not have a clear understanding of how our choices are often reactions to previous stimuli. “The butterfly effect here is where a small action or choice eventually spirals into a much more chaotic pattern of events.” The Sunspot portraits are self-portraits over which O’Connor has superimposed dark spots lifted from imagery of activity on the sun’s surface and are an example of natural forces affecting the subject. Here it is the “…sun’s surface fluctuations that affect the surface of my face. I thought of these as a self-documentation of a transformation, like The Metamorphosis or The Fly.” (O’Connor) For Cleverbot II, O’Connor asks a chatbot (a computer designed to respond as humanly as possible) questions and incorporates the responses into this text work. In two diptych paintings, Love Letters and Ego Letters, O’Connor appropriates “Dear John” spam letters he received which appear to be written by a computer attempting to seem human, and creates his own responses to the computer-generated texts. As Rick Moody notes, “[t]here is…a hand-made quality to the work… which means that John only likes machines and digital interfaces if they fail, and so he often writes out words in his paintings, and then mismatches bits of them…” This will be O’Connor’s fifth one-person exhibition at Pierogi. His works are included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC), among others. His work is currently on view at the Tang Museum in an exhibition titled, “Classless Society,” (Saratoga Springs, NY). O’Connor received an MFA from Pratt Institute and studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Catalogue available with essays by Rick Moody, Robert Storr, and John Yau.
Tang Museum Exhibition
Classless Society: September 7 to March 9 https://tang.skidmore.edu/app/public/webroot/files/uploads/classless_society/index.html
It is a common belief in the United States that we live in a functionally classless society, where most people belong to one “middle class.” The American Dream of upward mobility for everyone has long enabled the perception that classes do not exist in our nation—or that, if they do exist, they are fluid and easily changeable. Classless Society questions how one might think about class today in the current social and economic context, including the availability (or not) of class mobility and the different ways that class is signaled and understood. Works of contemporary art and materials drawn from popular culture examine the nature of class, the viability of the American Dream, and the reasons why the myth of a classless society persist. The exhibition includes work by Benny Andrews, Tina Barney, Cris Bruch, James Casebere, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Jim Goldberg, Derrick Jones, Steve Lambert, Nikki S. Lee, Peter Liversidge, Mark Lombardi, Irving Norman, John O’Connor, Michael Patterson-Carver, Doug Rickard, Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Ward Shelley, Jason Simon, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and Carrie Mae Weems.
Diagram John O’Connor, Janet Cohen, Kelly Sherman, Andrew Mowbray Exhibition Dates: January 10 - February 23, 2013 Reception: Thursday, January 17, 6 - 8 pm Hours:Thursdays 12 - 4 pm
Drive-By Projects is pleased to present Diagram, an exhibition of works on paper by John O’Connor, Janet Cohen, Kelly Sherman, and Andrew Mowbray. The pieces in the exhibition deconstruct and visualize events, systems, and patterns significant to each artist, whether they are a scheme to decipher the lottery, the plays of the 2004 World Series, mindfully dissected writings, or a toss of the dice.
Drawing Center Interview
Studio Interview with Kate Smith.