Video game

From NFT Pets to Dystopian Video Game, Digital Art Stands Out at Nada New York 2022

Nada, the fair organized by the New Art Dealers Alliance, opened its 2022 edition in New York this week (May 5-8) at Pier 36 after a four-year hiatus in the city. The fair features a solid roster of 120 galleries, non-profit organizations and cultural partners that champion the work of emerging artists. Here we highlight some of the eye-catching booths and works, which include a strong contingent of digital art projects.

Metaverse Petshop (beta) (2022)
Now here, New York

One of many projects to incorporate an NFT (non-fungible token) element at the fair this year, this installation by Japanese art collective Exonemo (composed of artists Sembo Kensuke and Akaiwa Yae) invites the viewer to “rescue” a virtual pet, releasing it from its cage by scanning a QR code. Pets that are not purchased within 10 minutes transform into new pets, with new AI-generated models. Beyond highlighting the growing blurring of the physical and virtual worlds, the tongue-in-cheek artwork responds to growing global bans on the sale of caged pets and the “euthanasia” ethics of a be digital. The work is presented in a beta version and will be updated for exhibition at NowHere in July.

Installation view of works by Jeremy Couillard and Stephen Thorpe at the Denny Dimin gallery booth. Courtesy of Denny Dimin Gallery.

Jeremy Couillard and Stephen Thorpe
Denny Dimin, New York

British painter Stephen Thorpe and American digital artist Jeremy Couillard collaborated to create an environment reminiscent of a video game arcade, with Thorpe’s vibrant paintings of arcade games in the wild flanking the walls of the stand while the video game by Couillard Dungeon Fuzz stream in the center’s video facilities. The game, a mix of dystopian imagery, text and ambient music by artists Chris Parrello and Lobby Hotel, previously streamed 24/7 from the gallery’s basement. It is offered in an unconventional format, like a computer on which the game is downloaded.

Photo by Trulee Hall, Two Heads, Two Ways (2020). Courtesy of the artist and Daata.

Trulee Hall, Two heads, two ways (2020)

Cultural partner of the fair, online gallery Daata presents a captivating eight-minute video by multidisciplinary artist Trulee Hall. The work shows a central figure disembodiing, multiplying and reforming, creating a two-headed figure that sometimes masturbates, kisses and meditates. The work is backed by an ominous soundtrack and described as a “narrative where multiple personalities and possibilities of the self are visualized via the metaphor and physicality of a two-headed body”, and a “dark monastic fantasy of sex dolls , self-love, and the out-of-body experience.” It is offered as an NFT for $3,000.

Installation view of Elliot Reed’s work at Anonymous Gallery. Courtesy of Anonymous Gallery.

Eliot Reed
Anonymous Gallery, New York and Mexico

One of five solo presentations curated by curator and dealer Kendra Jayne Patrick, the dramatic booth shows an installation by New York artist and dancer Elliot Reed featuring motorcycles, large speakers, theater lights and a series of knives embedded in a wall, while a video work and photographs highlight the performative facet of his practice. The conceptual work is a miniaturized version of Reed’s exhibition at the Kunsthaus Glarus in Switzerland last year, which took up two floors of the institution. The artist described the visually atmospheric work as “a metaphor”, or an “encounter with an insoluble problem”.

Installation view of 1-800-Happy Birthday by even/odd. Courtesy of Worthlessstudios

1-800-Happy-Birthday (2022)
Worthless Studios, New York

One of the first works visitors see upon entering the fair, this installation expands on an ongoing digital project created in 2020 by art collective Even/Odd to honor Black Americans who were killed by the police. Standing over 7 feet tall and weighing over 500 pounds, the recycled phone booth acts as a physical monument to the lives lost. The phone booth plays moving voice messages from relatives and friends of those killed, recalling past birthdays and how they would celebrate if the person was still alive. The work will expand into a standalone exhibition at the gallery space in Brooklyn in September.

  • Nada New York 2022Pier 36, Manhattan, through May 8.