THOMAS BAYRLE: PLAYTIME at the New Museum
Where New Museum 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002 Map It
Aug 02, 2018
Sep 02, 2018
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Reservations 1 (212)-219-1222
This solo exhibition—Bayrle’s first major New York museum survey—brings together works from the last fifty years, highlighting Bayrle’s experiments across media and their prescient commentary on the relationship between consumerism, technology, propaganda, and desire.
One of the most important artists to have emerged during the 1960s West German economic boom, Bayrle has received belated recognition for his influential works and processes. Long before the advent of current visual technologies, he foresaw our digital reality, employing photocopy machines and other midcentury tools in his early works to create analog visualizations of what are now fundamental traits of our digital culture. Bayrle’s thematic investigations have ranged from a visual analysis of mass culture and consumerism to reflections on the intersection of technology with global politics.
Presented on the Third and Fourth Floors of the Museum, this comprehensive survey brings together over 115 works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, wallpapers and prints, early computer-based art, videos, and 16mm films. The exhibition presents selections from Bayrle’s most iconic series, including several of his rarely exhibited “painted machines”—hand-painted kinetic works inspired by images of Chinese pageants and other mass demonstrations. Bayrle created these works during a period when he was working simultaneously in corporate advertising and for Germany’s student protest movement. In his words, he “mixed communist and capitalist patterns without qualm, simply under the aspect of accumulation.” This logic of accumulation would lead to the development of Bayrle’s “superforms,” densely composed images in which smaller units repeat to build larger figurative forms. These works, several of which will be on view, take the form of silkscreen prints depicting a variety of figures and objects from consumer culture. The exhibition also highlights how the artist has expanded his serial patterns beyond traditional artworks into textiles, wallpaper, carpeting, and garments.