A Brooklyn Show Brings Together 8 Young Artists Grappling with Romance in the Digital Age
Today, in the age of Facebook, Seamless, Netflix, Tinder, and countless other apps that allow us to seize our desires on demand, romance has taken a hit. Age-old ventures like finding a mate, going out to dinner, or seeing a movie have been met with digital solutions that provide endless access and interconnectedness, but at the same time engender insular, lonely lifestyles. This bizarre collision of romance and technology has been on
“I think technology has influenced us in two different ways,” Salama tells me as we walk through “it started with a rose,” the group show she curated at 315 Gallery in Downtown Brooklyn. “First, there’s the insular aspect of not having to leave your house to be a productive member of society, and second, there’s the way it’s showing us so many more options for people we can date, which I think makes it very hard to commit fully to one person.” Within this context, she’s gathered 10 works by eight fellow young artists, which address various facets of romance in the present. The artists included are working with an array of processes and materials—highly tactile mediums like textiles and ceramics—that are removed from their art-historical forebears. Salama points to
Salama proposes that romance today relies more heavily on fleeting moments, rather than grand gestures, and this sentiment permeates various artists’ works on view—most of which were created for the occasion. In a sculpture by
Perhaps most in line with Salama’s thinking, though, is a textile work by
In Narrett’s work, two nude women wearing VR goggles wander through a lush, verdant fantasy populated by intertwined couples; all crowned by three large red roses. “I was thinking the whole scene is something that the women wearing VR glasses are experiencing,” adds Narrett, noting that the couples are from screencaps of “The Bachelor” episodes. “It’s this little magic date-night party where all these people are on double dates, except for one girl who is having a bad night and crying and peeing alone in the bushes.”
Jack Barrett, 315 Gallery director, suggests that Narrett’s work may best encapsulate the spirit of the show. “It’s drawn from reality TV, where there’s this weird fabricated space, and then you’re sitting at home watching it, thinking about these characters and contexts, but you’re completely removed them,” he offers, adding that the VR goggles add another layer of fabricated spaces. Narrett’s tiny nude women wearing VR goggles are an apt visual to capture the crux of the show—the state of feeling vulnerable and alone, wandering aimlessly through a simulated landscape of love and lust.
Casey Lesser is Artsy’s Creativity Editor.