Transparency Now, Hunter Cross’ debut New York solo show, was recently on view at the Abrons Art Center on the Lower East Side. It captured, the artist said, an aesthetic, “similar to what you might see under a microscope, if that microscope happened to be rendered out by Adobe Illustrator.” At the age of 29, Cross is at the forefront of a generation of artists formed by the Internet and ideas of collective production and consumption. Cross floats seamlessly between the many vocations he claims—artist, web developer, entrepreneur, and musician—and makes the roles seem like natural corollaries. Here are the facts on Cross:
STAIRWAY, 2005–2007. COURTESY HUNTER CROSS.
1.The artist first began experimenting with Flash coding in the mid-1990s while working on a website for his band, the Forty Second Scandals. The web grew to be an integral part of his work. Interfacing between the digital and the material, Cross refers to Robert Smithson’s concept of “non-sites,” wherein parts of works or materials from Smithson’s site-specific projects were installed in galleries as sculptures. Cross’ 2005–7 project, Stairway, will eventually be disassembled and represented entirely through a database archive of its contents.
2. A rarity: The artist’s prose, which is both critically informed and theoretically inclined, is not technophobic. Using the term “crowdsourcing,” gathering content or information from a public, Cross explains that he collected old trophies as found objects to include in his present installation. He also describes his treatment of material with a phrase appropriated from software engineering: “small pieces loosely joined.”
3. Transparency Now included an outdated corporate and classroom staple, the overhead projector. Cross gives office supplies an unconventional functionality to explores the cultural context brought to mind by these ubiquitous objects. Yet his works inevitably create new experiences, aesthetic interactions, that alter the objects’ reception. He also cites office supplies’ attractive qualities to young artists – “their accessible price point, built-in adhesive, semi-transparency and industrial-grade precision manufacturing.” PICTURED LEFT, COURTESY THE ARTIST.
4. Born, raised, and trained in Texas, Cross co-founded the artist collaborative Open Doors Collective in Austin in 2004. In one of their shows, artist Terra Goolsby bubble-wrapped Cross’ home (and pop up exhibition space), which garnered their exhibition local press as a celebration of “National Bubble Wrap Day.” Cross says (sarcastically) that, “This illustrates how Austin tries to interface with contemporary art to some extent,” but he lauds the area’s university programs and critical art publications.
WORK BY HUNTER CROSS IS SCREENING PRESENTLY AT SXSW.