Scene from Happiness By Steve Cutts
Just in time for summer, NYC is opening up to in-person cultural events and experiences a bit more each day. Even art fairs such as Frieze and the Affordable Art Fair have successfully returned, which is great news for art fans! I’ve written previously about the very fun New York Gallery Tours, where local art historian Rafael Risemberg offers small group tours in NYC’s popular Chelsea gallery district, and I’m happy to announce that those tours will expand in size as galleries increase the number of visitors allowed inside their spaces at one time. But for those who aren’t able to get out just yet, and to accommodate folks located outside of NYC who still crave an interactive art experience, Rafael offers his virtual Digital Arts tours, which are streamed live via Zoom. Best of all: there are no Covid restrictions!
In June, New York Gallery Tours will be celebrating its one-year anniversary of these appropriately dubbed Hugest Variety of Digital Arts Tours, and it is easy to see why they are so popular. Each 60-minute streaming tour features approximately eight all-new digital artworks (videos) from a variety of cutting-edge computer art and video artists world-wide who take different approaches to their craft. The tour I participated in recently, which had several dozen attendees from all over the country, included a European TV commercial, a nature video, an animated pop music video, modern dance, two animated short films, and two drone videos — each hand-selected by Rafael for their originality, visual engagement, and conversation-inspiring content!
To give you and idea of what might be on offer in any given tour, our Hugest Variety of the Digital Arts Tour included the following:
Wombstories (Director: Nisha Ganatra) is an animated commercial in the form of a humorous-yet-emotionally sensitive short film dealing with women’s sexuality, childbirth, and ‘that time of the month.’ It is surprisingly transcendent of its subject matter.
Scenes From Right Up Our Alley
In Right Up Our Alley, drone-operator Jay Christensen proves his piloting skills are absolutely sick as he takes the viewer on a wild ride though a bowling alley. Bonus Triva: all dialog overheard during the video was taken from the movie The Big Lebowski.
Scenes from Mann Theatre Drone Flight
Christensen continues to blow minds with his mad drone piloting skills with Mann Theatre FPV Fly Through. If this video doesn’t make you long to return to the Movie Cineplex, nothing will.
Our next digital artwork was an animated music video from artist Perfume Genius. The visualization of the A. G. Cook Remix of the track “Describe” depicts a futuristic bank heist, as directed by Jack Wedge and Will Freudenheim. Very trippy!
How did you spend your pandemic lockdown? A group of modern dancers in NYC kept busy practicing (remotely) and then performing (together as a group), a routine choreographed by Amanda Selwyn in Threads: A Work in Progress.
The many challenges faced as a member of NYC’s urban ‘Rat Race’ is explored with sharp wit and compassion in Steve Cutts animated short film, Happiness. This one was my absolute favorite of the bunch!
Through the miracle of timelapse photography, the gradual desiccation of various microbial organic lifeforms is captured in Dry Out, a beautiful film with a universally resonant message — Water is Life — by artist Christian Stangl.
The Present is a multiple-award-winning animated short film directed by Jacob Frey in collaboration with a team of students at Germany’s Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg. The plot involves a video game-obsessed young boy who receives a surprise gift of a very special puppy. To say more would be risking best-avoided spoilers, but trust me that the pay off is huge. It was easy to see why The Present was chosen for the final digital artwork of our tour.
Between each video, Rafael encourages discussion amongst participants on what was just shown, and it’s very fun and eye-opening to hear all of the different interpretations that are possible when you have multiple points of view on one work of art. I really enjoyed the discussion with so many other art-lovers after a year of interacting with only a handle of friends (even on Zoom), and I learned a few things also! For more information on any of the scheduled New York Gallery Tours, and to book the Hugest Variety of the Digital Arts Tour experience for yourself (or your household, as one admission price of just $29 includes anyone who can fit in front of your screen), visit This Link!