A signature initiative of the New Museum, the Triennial is the only recurring international exhibition in New York City devoted to early-career artists from around the world.
It provides an important platform for an emergent generation of artists that is shaping the discourse of contemporary art. The Triennial’s predictive, rather than retrospective, model embodies the institution’s thirty-seven-year commitment to exploring the future of culture through the art of today. The 2015 Triennial is organized by Lauren Cornell, Curator, 2015 Triennial, Museum as Hub, and Digital Projects at the New Museum, and the iconic artist Ryan Trecartin, who was featured in the inaugural 2009 Triennial.
This third iteration of the Triennial is titled Surround Audience and will feature fifty-one artists and artist collectives from over twenty-five countries; for many of the participants, this will be their first inclusion in a museum exhibition in the United States.
Cornell and Trecartin have worked together for nearly a decade and they each bring a shared passion for probing the social and psychological effects of digital technology. For Cornell, Surround Audience is inspired in part by Trecartin’s own artistic practice, which, as she describes, “vividly manifests a world in which the effects of technology and late capitalism have been absorbed into our bodies and altered our vision of the world.” A tension between the newfound freedoms and threats of today’s society animates and anchors Surround Audience.
We are surrounded by a culture replete with impressions of life, be they visual, written, or construed through data. We move through streams of chatter, swipe past pictures of other people’s lives, and frame our own experiences as, all the while, our digital trails are subtly captured, tracked, and stored. This is a culture in which the radical multimedia environments envisioned by pioneering artists like Nam June Paik and Stan VanDerBeek are being lived out every day, albeit with much more complexity and compromise. With these transformations in mind, Surround Audience explores how artists are currently depicting subjectivity, unpacking complex systems of power, and claiming sites of artistic agency.