This is your last weekend to catch Pixel Forest, the New Museum’s survey of Swiss video and multimedia artist Pipilotti Rist’s 30 year career. Go see what the long entrance lines winding up Bowery, around Stanton and beyond are all about.
Occupying the museum’s 3 main floors, the second floor showcases a collection of Rist’s early single-channel videos from the 80s and 90s viewed inside single-capacity boxes that viewers insert their heads into. Administrating Eternity (2011), a four-channel video installation consists of dreamlike images of flowers, sheep, cats, and green fields projected onto rows of long, diaphanous, white curtains—much like Rist’s fantastic work Layers Mama Layers which was exhibited at Luhring Augustine in 2010 (see my post here). Layers Mama Layers was mesmerizing, exhibited in an intimate setting with little distraction—i.e. the bad cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game that accompanies Sip My Ocean (1996) at the New Museum. Screening along with Sip My Ocean is Rist’s Ever Is Over All from 1997, a four-minute, two-channel video showing a joyous, confident woman in a blue dress and red shoes walking down a street and occasionally smashing the windows of parked cars—the suspected inspiration for Beyonce’s 2016 car-bashing music video for Hold Up.
The third floor delivers the money shot for all those whose sole purpose for going to museums and galleries is to snap selfies and post them on Instagram. Looking Through Pixel Forest (2016) features 3,000 handmade, illuminated crystals suspended from the ceiling and dangling down to the floor. Visitors can walk through the dazzling forest of glittering lights to the far corner where two mesmerizing 2014 video works, Mercy Garden and Worry Will Vanish Horizon are on view. Each of the hanging crystal pieces contains a pixel from the adjacent films, illuminating it and filling the space with magnificent, pixelated color. It was difficult to leave this gorgeous forest.
The fourth floor features 4th Floor to Mildness, which invites visitors to lie down on beds interspersed throughout the gallery and gaze upon two ceiling projections. Images of water, clouds, abstract colors, and body parts are accompanied by the haunting and somewhat menacing music of Soap&Skin, the Austrian musician Anja Plaschg.
Don’t miss this vivid, illuminating, and immersive exhibit. Learn more at New Museum and nytimes.com. And check out arthagnyc on Instagram for some videos of the exhibit. Closes January 15th.
Also, check out Rist's Open My Glade (Flatten), a multi-channel installation playing nightly on Times Square's electronic billboards from 11:57 - midnight until January 31st. Learn more here.