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Painting is seen as a form of practice that—contrary to canonical accounts—in no way shies away from increasing media realities, but rather faces the challenges head on. One driving force in this development is the collision of visual codes of the spectacle with the traces of painterly expressivity. Painting 2.0 shows that the expressive gesture was again and again connected with the desire to reintegrate the virtual world of the information age into the material realm of the human body. In painting over the last fifty years, the contrary domains of the human and the technological, and the analog and the digital have proven to be intrinsically intertwined.

Painting 2.0 proposes three different genealogies that trace these links between painting and the media.

“Gesture and Spectacle” asks how painterly gestures are used as a way of (en)countering a culture of spectacle. This ranges from attitudes of protest to commercial imagery and media, as in Niki de Saint Phalle’s “shooting pictures” or the torn billboard advertisements of the “affichistes” Mimmo Rotella, Jacques Villeglé, and Raymond Hain, to painting strategies that appropriate the logic of the spectacle, such as Keith Haring’s “Subway Drawings,” Albert Oehlen’s computer pictures, and Monika Baer’s abstract paintings with banknotes and coins.

“Eccentric Figuration” inquires how notions of corporeality change under the influence of commercial mass culture and new technologies. From the prosthetic bodies in the painting of Maria Lassnig, to the anti-heroic gesture of Mary Heilmann’s pictures, to Elizabeth Murray’s excessive pictorial bodies and the humorous bodily abstractions of Amy Sillman, artists have always engaged the body as a key instrument of knowledge that registers social and technological change in a myriad of ways.

“Social Networks” presents positions in painting that evidence a “network society,” both through practices of image circulation and by addressing specific social contexts. Andy Warhol’s Factory, the paintings and actions of “capitalist realists” Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Konrad Lueg and Manfred Kuttner, the artists of the feminist New York A.I.R. Gallery, and also contemporary positions in what is referred to as Network Painting—Seth Price and R.H. Quaytman—all demonstrate how ideas of community and social exchange have transformed since the 1960s.

Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age, by Mumok Wien with Museum Brandhorst in Munich, was on show in 2016.
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