Walead Beshty is known for work that reveals the hidden systems of production and communication within the art world. Upon entering his latest exhibition, “Open Source,” at Petzel Gallery, visitors are greeted by a deconstructed iMac speared through the middle with a steel pole, its internal mechanisms fully on display. The adjacent galleries contain equally melancholic, partially functional machinery from Beshty’s “Office Works” series (all works 2017) along with a number of LED monitors that have been bisected or drilled through the center. By rendering them useless, Beshty increases the machines’ visibility, highlighting our dependence on forms of technology that we are rarely able to wholly comprehend. Similarly, in the “Cross-Contaminated Inverted RA4 Contact Prints” series, Beshty creates color photograms by inserting photo paper into an old color processor, documenting the degradation of a near-obsolete machine essential to developing color prints from film.
The “Copper Surrogates,” intentionally handled without gloves during installation, bare the traces of the art handlers’ touch: fingerprints and smears that will tarnish the surface over time. Beshty thus underlines the network of human interactions that are essential to all artistic production. —Eloise Maxwell
Pictured: Walead Beshty: Sharp LC-90LE657U 90-inch Aquos HD 1080p 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV, 2017, Sharp LC-90LE657U 90-inch Aquos HD 1080p 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV, 80⅞ by 47⅝ by 4½ inches. Courtesy Petzel Gallery, New York.