Friday, January 13, 2023

The Artists Space presents: Yasunao Tone, & Renee Gladman, throught March 18th.

Yasunao Tone: Region of Paramedia
January 13 – March 18
Opening: Friday, January 13, 6–8pm

Yasunao Tone performing Music for 2 CD Players at Experimental Intermedia Foundation, New York, 1986. [Black-and-white photograph of a blurred figure in motion sitting behind a wooden desk surrounded by audio equipment in a sparse room.] 

Artists Space is pleased to present Region of Paramedia, the first retrospective dedicated to the work of Japanese American conceptual artist, composer, and theorist Yasunao Tone, whose deep investigation of the potential uses and misuses of emerging technology has made him a pioneer in performance, sound, and digital composition. This landmark exhibition and event series will encompass a comprehensive range of mediums and materials, from graphic scores to manipulated sound objects to documentation of performative actions and rare ephemera. Live events—including first-time restagings—will cover both Tone’s frequent, wide-ranging collaborations and his individually authored works.

Spanning the 1960s to the present, Region of Paramedia unfolds over two core chapters: the Japan years and the New York years. It begins with Tone’s varied artistic efforts during his time as a founding member of the Japanese branch of Fluxus, a co-conspirator of Hi-Red Center in their social interventions, and a pivotal member of the key postwar collectives Group Ongaku, the world’s first freely improvising music ensemble, and Team Random, the first computer-art collective in Japan. Tone’s active participation in unsettling artistic forms, genres, and social expectations across these disparate affiliations boldly presaged his future activities.

Tone’s penchant for collaboration only deepened with his move to the United States in 1972, where he soon began to work with a prolific range of dancers, visual artists, and musicians that included Merce Cunningham, Blondell Cummings, Allan Kaprow, Senga Nengudi, Butch Morris, and George Maciunas. Since coming to New York in 1973, Tone’s work has been distinguished by his radical procedures for transmuting media into unpredictable and unstable forms through both analog and digital systems. Works like Molecular Music (1982)—in which Tone arranges light sensors on the surface of a projection screen to actively interpret 16mm images (characters from Chinese poetic texts) and sends that information to sound-producing instruments—bring together contingent systems, contemporary continental philosophy and media theory, and traditional Eastern culture.

Tone originated the use of “glitch” in artmaking thanks to his groundbreaking modifications of prerecorded compact discs, becoming the first person to compose via the inbuilt potential for their digital disruption. In performances and compositions beginning in the mid-1980s such as Music for 2 CD Players (1985), Tone physically alters the surfaces of compact discs, overriding their error-correcting system and generating wild unpredictability in playback. The artist calls these deviations paramedia, a shorthand way of describing a practice of diverting technological devices from their intended purposes to, in his words, “create pieces that are simultaneously multipliable and nonrepetitive.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, Yasunao Tone will perform on multiple occasions at Artists Space, including a January 19 appearance with renowned flutist and composer Barbara Held. More performances will be announced. The exhibition will conclude in March with a weekend of film screenings, organized in collaboration with film scholar Go Hirasawa and the Brooklyn cinematheque Light Industry.

Major support for Yasunao Tone: Region of Paramedia is provided by Taka Ishii Gallery. Exhibition support is provided by James Cahn & Jeremiah Collatz, Fridman Gallery, Stephanie LaCava, and the Japan Foundation, New York.

Renee Gladman: Narratives of Magnitude
January 13 – March 18

Renee Gladman, Untitled (Moon Math), 2022. Pigment, oil, and pastel on paper [An abstract drawing consisting of horizontal white lines scratched across black paper with circles interspersed throughout the composition. On the right side of the drawing are arrows, and blurred, scribbled lines and illegible text. Yellow marks accentuate different parts of the composition.] 

Artists Space is pleased to present the first New York solo exhibition of the poet, novelist, and visual artist Renee Gladman. Beginning in 2006, Gladman’s extended cross-genre experimentation has compelled her to invent a unique hybrid drawing-writing practice that allows her to enact the syntactical preconditions for language. In mixed-media works on paper, she interpolates multiple diagrammatic systems—those emerging from architecture and city planning, planetary movements, data visualization, and mathematics—within an exploration of her own nervous system and bodily gestures.

Gladman’s drawings initially appeared in book form, with the printed page serving as a test site for her eventual efforts in recombining and intercalating prose, poetry, architecture, and drawing. The written word and language itself are simultaneously embellished and obliterated in series of formally particular works that have increased in complexity and scale as they have gained independence from their association with the printed page. As dense interior spaces of subjective unknowing, they move through a vast range of graphic and associative potentialities that assess the impact of Blackness, futurity, and erupting architectures on the topographies of the sentence.

For her exhibition at Artists Space, Gladman will present a selection of new and recent drawings made with pastel, gouache, acrylic, and white pigment on primarily black paper. Her sometimes collaborator, the critic Fred Moten, has referred to this initial surface as “the blackground: that nonrepresentational capacity that lets all representation take place.” 


Artists Space is fully accessible via a wheelchair lift and automated door in front of the entrance on 80 White Street. The cellar gallery can be accessed via the ground floor elevator. Artists Space welcomes assistance dogs, and has wheelchair accessible non-gender-segregated toilet facilities. For access inquiries please contact Artists Space at or 212 226 3970.

Major support for Yasunao Tone: Region of Paramedia is provided by Taka Ishii Gallery and Joe & Nancy Walker. Exhibition support is provided by James Cahn & Jeremiah Collatz, Gretchen Gonzales Davidson, Fridman Gallery, Stephanie LaCava, and the Japan Foundation, New York.

Support for Renee Gladman: Narratives of Magnitude is provided by Nine Orchard Hotel.

Exhibition Support is provided by Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation, The Cowles Charitable Trust, The Cy Twombly Foundation, The Teiger Foundation, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, The Willem de Kooning Foundation, The Fox Aarons Foundation, Herman Goldman Foundation, The Destina Foundation, The Luce Foundation, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, The David Rockefeller Fund, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, The Jill and Peter Kraus Foundation, The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation.

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