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  • Guan Xiao, The Documentary: Geocentric Puncture, 2012.

  • Juliana Huxtable, Untitled in the Rage (Nibiru Cataclysm), 2015.

  • Frank Benson, Juliana, 2015.

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New Museum’s “Surround Audience” Triennial exhibition in New York

The third installment of New Museum’s Triennial exhibition is titled “Surround Audience” and showcases the world’s most challenging early-career artists. Co-curated by New Museum’s curator Lauren Cornell and famed video artist Ryan Trecartin, the exhibition raises questions about the role of art in a constantly changing society, supposedly more intelligent and participatory, where social media, as the organizers put it, urge us to constantly “editorialize our own lives and beliefs”, setting the norms of the digital age we are living in. Exploring the future of culture through the art of today and its effect on self and identity, “Surround Audience” features 51 artists from more than 25 different countries that experiment with a variety of artistic disciplines, including installation, sculpture, painting, video, dance, comedy and poetry.

Among the highlights of the exhibition are a psychedelic mixed-media installation by Beijing-based artist Guan Xiao that offers a colorful alternative to the typical all-white background of the photographic studios; a hybrid bed, bathroom and kitchen installation by digital platform DIS that also features a live tenant-performer; a series of self-portraits by African-American transgender artist Juliana Huxtable, whose 3D printed, life size sculpture created by artist Frank Benson forms also part of the exhibition; and an impressive installation by Austrian artist Verena Dengler that features embroidered pieces, drawings, sculptures and collages, and explores the concepts of cultural remodeling, individual appropriation and self-branding.

Last, but not least, a series of works that have been commissioned in order to mobilize sites outside of the museum’s walls, including a Triennial ad campaign conceived by artist collective K-HOLE that involved a series of stickers depicting a “friendly pharmaceutical pill navigating the pleasures and perils of modern life” featured in billboards and buses around New York, really stole the spotlight. The exhibition, which will remain on view until May 24, 2015, at the New Museum, New York, is accompanied by a catalogue designed by Familiar and co-published by the museum and Rizzoli that features interviews with the artists and various essays. In conjunction with “Surround Audience”, the New Museum has also published a poetry book, researched and edited by writer Brian Droitcour, which emphasizes “the porosity and elasticity of the English language” and includes texts by Triennial artists interwoven with transcriptions of social-media statuses of many varieties.