This Exhibition Has Ended

February 2, 2018
April 1, 2018
In the wing and Opatrny Galleries, Floor 2L, and facade

Since the early 1990s Matthew Weinstein has employed techniques from commercial art and the entertainment world in his paintings, sculptures, and videos. While commercial processes like airbrushing blur boundaries between so-called high and low art in his paintings, Weinstein’s use of 3D imaging was influenced by Pixar movies to similar effect in his animated films. A quintessential postmodern artist, Weinstein draws on film, politics, philosophy, popular culture, music, and literature of all kinds to locate his artistic practice within a broader continuum of cultural production. Switching fluidly between mediums, whether artistic or commercial, enables Weinstein to express, in his words, a “culturally transgendered vision.”

Included here are five large-scale paintings on aluminum and copper from 2015–18; his most recent computer-generated installation, Anna Kavan: The Living End; and a brand-new animation, The Last Cigarette, which is having its premier at the Johnson. Exhibited together, the paintings and two-channel animation create an imaginary space in which traditional lines between the literal and metaphorical collapse. Achieved through layers of transparent color and luminous silvery tones, the hallucinatory landscapes of his paintings are reminiscent of images flashing on a computer or film screen, more apparition than image.

Creating a similar mental microclimate, The Living End is based on the British science fiction writer Anna Kavan’s final book, Ice, first published fifty years ago but recently called “a haunting story of sexual assault and climate catastrophe, decades ahead of its time” by the New Yorker. Weinstein’s adaptation is an interactive video installation, in which a narrator—one of the artist’s many female avatars—tells the story of her life. Sensors in the gallery record the heartbeat and body temperature of viewers, which in turn affects visual aspects of the projected images, attempting to envision the feedback mechanism between viewers and their objects of contemplation.

Anna Kavan: The Living End was supported by \Art ("backslash art"), an annual fellowship at Cornell Tech that partners artists with Cornell Tech graduates to create art that escapes convention: new art forms, and new art technologies.

Cruising 1980 (2010) is on view on the Museum's facade from sundown until 11 p.m. every night for the duration of the exhibition. 

Matthew Weinstein discussed his work on May 11, 2018, at the Johnson at a talk supported by a gift from the Findlay Family Foundation and made possible in part by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.

This exhibition was curated by Andrea Inselmann, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Johnson Museum. Matthew Weinstein: The Living End has been made possible in part by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.