Pratt Manhattan Gallery will present “Resonance: Looking for Mr. McLuhan,” an exhibition of works from the 1960s to the present that commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the pioneering media critic Marshall McLuhan, from October 21 through December 21, 2011, at Pratt Manhattan Gallery at 144 West 14th Street, Second Floor. The exhibition demonstrates how McLuhan’s thinking resonates with contemporary artists and reflects how McLuhan’s work is still pertinent to the general understanding of our complex media environment. The exhibition will be celebrated with an opening reception on October 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibition and opening reception are free and open to the public.

“Resonance” is a multi-media exhibition featuring drawings, installations, photographs, prints, sculptures, videos, and one full-length film by 19 artists. The exhibition is guest curated by Berta Sichel, former director of the Department of Audiovisuals and currently a curator at large at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, and assistant guest curator Mariano Salvador, a filmmaker and former assistant curator in the Department of Audiovisuals and Web coordinator, also at the Museo Nacional Centro de Art Reina Sofía.

The exhibition was developed to showcase the timelessness of McLuhan’s ideas on the advancement of the media, and to raise subtle questions about the mediation and proliferation of images and our digital present, including the transition from analog to digital culture. Perhaps best known for the phrase “the medium is the message,” McLuhan wrote about all forms of media, language, and speech including telephone, typewriter, movies, radio, television, computer, photographs, and the written word. Among the plethora of themes found in his work, the future of the media and the issue of tourism as “big industry” were paramount. A visionary, McLuhan’s ability to predict the computer-dependent future through his work and study of visual media has left a valuable and widely celebrated artistic legacy.

“McLuhan’s ideas of hybridization of culture and the effects of media cross-fertilization, among others, form the background to a set of ideas that became the basis of much contemporary theoretical thought,” said Sichel. “‘Resonance’ is inspired by McLuhan’s progressive ideas, which opened a Pandora’s box of a burgeoning yet uncertain mass-media society,” she added.

Participating artists include:
Terry Berkowitz
Monika Fleischmann & Wolfgang Strauss
Martin Kohout
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Marcel Odenbach
Nam June Paik & John Godfrey
Magdalena Pederin
Chris Petit
Wolfgang Plöger
Txuspo Poyo
Joan Rabascall
Elena del Rivero
Juan Carlos Robles
Ignacio Uriarte
Wolf Vostell

In addition to her work at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Sichel is an independent curator; an editor and writer for art publications; an advisor to foundations, cultural institutions, and public collections on acquisitions and exhibitions; and a lecturer on art and cultural studies. Salvador has written articles about cinema for many media outlets including the daily paper Heraldo de Aragón and Cahier du Cinéma magazine (Spanish edition), where he is still a contributor. As a filmmaker he has directed several short films, many of which have been recognized with awards at international film festivals.

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“Resonance: Looking for Mr. McLuhan”
October 21–December 21, 2011
Pratt Manhattan Gallery
144 West 14th Street, Second Floor
Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Image captions clockwise from left: Google Earth Art, video animation still by Com&Com; Moonwalk, video projection by Martin Kohout; Mended Flying Letters, mixed media piece by Elena del Rivero; Content, video still by Chris Petit; His Master’s Voice, photograph by Joan Rabascall; Reporter with Borders, video still by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. Photo credits clockwise from left: Courtesy of Galerie Bernard Bischoff & Partner, Berlin; Courtesy of Martin Kohout and The Future Gallery, Berlin; Elena del Rivero; Courtesy of Illuminations Films in association with More4 and ZDF in cooperation with ARTE; Joan Rabascall; and Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Orwicz, Connecticut.