Technology vs. Art

Examine the definition and role of technology in our world today through the work of 15 contemporary artists.

Photo by Gustavo Murillo

You won‘t be able to Instagram the art at the “Unseen Hand” exhibition at the Knockdown Center—at least not until after you’ve left the renovated former door factory. A helium-filled weather balloon by artist Thomas Stevenson in the center of the mammoth space interrupts the signal of cellular devices. Stevenson and 14 other contemporary artists have created large-scale works that question technology’s omnipresence in our daily lives, call attention to mechanical processes we often don’t see, or lend sensuality to impersonal automation.

What Should We Do’s art insider, Paddy Johnson, urges visitors to check out Tom Butter’s Rope Trick, a kinetic sculpture that viewers set into motion. Step on a foot pedal and motorized arms undulate the rope, humanizing an otherwise robotic system. Another favorite of Johnson’s: Juliette Dumas’s Ice Painting, an ice sculpture mounted on a wall and melting in real time, a powerfully simple nod to how “modern” industry is destroying the environment. Also incredible: the virtuoso paintings by Jen Mazza, Rachel Harrison’s assemblage, and performance art by Corin Hewitt.

Why You Should Go: According to Johnson, you just might see the work of the next famous artist at this exhibition made up of promising youngsters. The Knockdown Center is off the beaten path, and in a few years, you’ll be telling your friends you were there before anyone else knew about it.

Photo by Gustavo Murillo

“Unseen Hand”

Knockdown Center
52-19 Flushing Avenue, Maspeth, Queens
Through April 9

Round out your day with a customized itinerary created by yours truly: