Penelope Umbrico

Penelope Umbrico in conversation with Lyle Rexer

Accomplished writer, curator, art critic and MFA Photo/ Video faculty member Lyle Rexer had the chance to sit down with fellow faculty member and artist Penelope Umbrico to discuss Umbrico's work in the upcoming November/ December issue of "Photograph Magazine." As Rexer states, "Penelope Umbrico is that rare artist who has built a significant reputation largely through public commissions and installations at institutions from the Musee des Beaux Arts in Le Locle, Switzerland, to New York City's Grand Central Station.

Umbrico currently has two works on display simultaneously around New York. First, her wall installation in the exhibition Anna Atkins Refracted is part of the New York Public Library's 175th-year celebration of the English cyanotypist (through January 6). Lastly, her installation Monument, a collection of, among other elements, disassembled television screens, is featured at BRIC Media House, the Brooklyn art and performance space (November 29- January 20)."

Installation view of Umbrico’s work

Installation view of Umbrico’s work

Penelope Umbrico offers a radical reinterpretation of everyday consumer and vernacular images. She works “within the virtual world of consumer marketing and social media, traveling through the relentless flow of seductive images, objects, and information that surrounds us, searching for decisive moments—but in these worlds, decisive moments are cultural absurdities," finding these moments in the pages of consumer product mail-order catalogs, travel and leisure brochures; and websites like Craigslist, EBay, and Flickr."

As Umbrico states in her interview with Rexer, "The internet changed everything. For one, it gave me access to unlimited source material, and the screen became my studio, in a sense. And living and working through the screen made it become part of what the work is about."

For the full interview, visit Photograph Magazine for the November/December issue.

Penelope Umbrico at Postmasters

Running through August 11th 2018, SCREENSCAPES at Postmasters features the work of six artists working within the formal space of a screen, or exploring the formalization of networks. Alongside artists Diana Cooper, Luke Murphy, Rafaël Rozendaal, and Artie Vierkant, faculty member and critically acclaimed artist Penelope Umbrico will be showcasing her piece Bad Display (eBay) (2018).

For more details and hours, please click here.

Penelope Umbrico,  Bad Display (eBay)  (2018). 

Penelope Umbrico, Bad Display (eBay) (2018). 

The photographs in Broken Sets and Bad Display are cropped from images of broken LCD-TVs Umbrico found for sale on eBay and other consumer-to-consumer market sites, where the televisions are sold for parts. The sellers turn the sets on while photographing them so that potential buyers can see that the electronics behind the screens still work. She became interested in the incidental beauty of the screens because they are derived from the failure of their own promising technology. In her words, "By presenting these inadvertent abstract arrangements as formal compositions in their own right, I am collapsing the obsolescence and breakdown of new technology with the visionary aesthetic of Modernism."