Cory Arcangel is a leading exponent of technology-based art, drawn to video games and software for their ability to rapidly formulate new communities and traditions and, equally, their speed of obsolescence. It was in 1996, while studying classical guitar at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, that he first had a high-speed Internet connection – inspiring him to major in music technology and start learning to code. Both music and coding remain his key tools for interrogating the stated purpose of software and gadgets. In Super Mario Clouds (2002), for example, he disabled the vintage Nintendo game to leave only the iconic backdrop of blue sky and clouds; in Drei Klavierstücke op.11 (2009) Arcangel recreated Arnold Schoenberg’s 1909 score of the same name by editing together YouTube clips of cats playing pianos, note for note, paw by paw. Outcomes can be surprising, funny and poignant, whether in the final form of installation, video, printed media or music composition, in the gallery or on the world wide web. Reconfiguring web design and hacking as artistic practice, Arcangel remains faithful to open source culture and makes his work and methods available online, thus superimposing a perpetual question-mark as to the value of the art object.
Arcangel was born in Buffalo, New York in 1978 and lives and works in Stravanger, Norway and Brooklyn, New York. He received a BM from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2000. He is the youngest artist since Bruce Nauman to have been given a full floor solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2011). Arcangel has had major solo exhibitions at Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, GAMeC, Bergamo and Espace Louis Vuitton München, Munich (all 2015); Herning Museum of Contemporary Art (2014); Fondation DHC/Art, Montreal (2013); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2013); Barbican Art Gallery, London (2011); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2010) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (2010). He was awarded the 2015 Kino der Kunst Award for the Filmic Ouvre. In 2014, he launched Arcangel Surfware, a merchandise and publishing imprint located at www.arcangelsurfware.biz; also in 2014, Penguin published his first novel, Working on My Novel.