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Close Look: “Conspiratorial Aesthetics” at the University of Louisville

!Miediengruppe bitnik, Ashley Madison Angels at Work in Louisville, 2018; Cressman Center for Visual Arts, Louisville.
Walid Raad/The Atlas Group, Notebook Volume 38: Already Been in a Lake of Fire, 1991/2003; archival inkjet print, Cressman Center for Visual Arts, Louisville.

Conspiratorial Aesthetics invites us to consider the role of informational art in the “information age,” an era obsessed by networks of information exchange and therefore plagued by conspiracy theories, the aestheticization of information, and undemocratic control of the networks information travels. Can art offer counternetworks of information? Can art offer any information? Or does it instead only produce the world it claims to know?

— From the accompanying exhibition text

Drawings by Deb Sokolow in Conspiratorial Aesthetics, Cressman Center for Visual Arts, Louisville.
Installation view of Conspiratorial Aesthetics, Cressman Center for Visual Arts, Louisville.
!Miediengruppe bitnik, Ashley Madison Angels at Work in Louisville, 2018; Cressman Center for Visual Arts, Louisville.
Installation view of Conspiratorial Aesthetics, Cressman Center for Visual Arts, Louisville.
Walid Raad/The Atlas Group, I Only Wish That I Could Weep, 1997/2002; single channel video, Cressman Center for Visual Arts, Louisville.
Cara Benedetto, Stone Broke, 2019; lithographic stone, processed and broken, Cressman Center for Visual Arts, Louisville.
!Miediengruppe bitnik, Ashley Madison Angels at Work in Louisville, 2018; Cressman Center for Visual Arts, Louisville.

Conspiratorial Aesthetics is on view at the Cressman Center for the Visual Arts on the campus of the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, through April 6, with a performance by participating artist Cara Benedetto scheduled for Tuesday, March 19 at 6 pm.


!Miediengruppe bitnik, based in Zurich and London, are contemporary artists working on and with the internet. Their practice expands from the digital to affect physical spaces, often intentionally applying loss of control to challenge established structures and mechanisms.

Walid Raad is an artist and an Associate Professor of Art at The Cooper Union, New York. Raad’s works to date include mixed media installations, performance, video and photography, and literary essays. Raad’s recent works include The Atlas Group, a fifteen-year project about the history of Lebanon. Raad’s works have been shown at Documenta 11, the Venice Biennale, The Hamburger Banhof, and numerous other museums and venues in Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

Cara Benedetto received her BFA from Wisconsin University, River Falls, and her MFA from Columbia University. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Chapter NY, Metro Pictures, the Museum of Modern Art, and Night Gallery, Los Angeles. Benedetto is Assistant Professor in Print Media at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.

Deb Sokolow is a Chicago-based artist and writer whose text-driven, diagrammatic drawings and artist books blend fact with fiction and speculate both comically and critically on a variety of topics. She is an Associate Professor in the department of Art Theory & Practice at Northwestern University.

Raqs Media Collective (Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta; founded Dehli, 1992) follows its self-declared imperative of ‘kinetic contemplation’ to produce a trajectory that is restless in its forms and methods, yet concise with the infra procedures that it invents. The collective makes contemporary art, edits books, curates exhibitions, and stages situations.

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