Completely Familiar, Entirely Free

July 16—September 10, 2022

Completely Familiar, Entirely Free is both television and public art, public access and window shopping, online shopping and post-Internet shopping. The exhibition, installed across five video projection scrims, and featuring the work of New Haven and Philadelphia-based artists, Lani Asunción, Amira Brown, Saskia Globig & Michael Ipsen, Kyuri Jeon, Micah Lat, Matt Lavine, Anna Lindemann, Shelby Meier, Fred Schmidt-Arenales, Jessica Smolinski, and Sonnie Wooden, addresses the historic and continued roles of industry and advertising in shaping urban spaces. Drawing on the Artspace gallery’s history as a furniture salesroom, the presentation of the works commands viewers’ attention by using the tactics of outdoor video advertising decoupled from any commercial utility. The street-facing video loops take advantage of the assumption that our eyes are always drawn to moving images in our peripheral vision. The curators use this video-advertising strategy to present passing viewers with a program of contemporary video work where they might have expected an ad. This intervention highlights the affective valences of the imagined lives that viewer/consumers buy, making note that much of what we are being sold is not physical and not entirely free.

Curated by the Philadelphia multidisciplinary artists Saskia Globig and Michael Ipsen of the new media collective Lino Kino, Completely Familiar, Entirely Free accentuates the unique role art institutions can play in creating spaces for noncommercial contemplation within the contemporary urban fabric. But the aesthetics of the installed work actively acknowledges that art never actually lives outside transactional relationships or the circulation of capital. Instead, it asks us to consider the obfuscated structures of exchange and commercialization that underpin many of the ostensibly free things that we consume. The presentation of the work is art-as-camouflage, meant to mimic urban video advertisements to stage a perceptual intervention in the increasingly commercialized landscape of the everyday. Completely Familiar, Entirely Free presents an open window that invites viewers into more twisted, expansive, and unexpected speculations and dreams that can exist beyond the realms of buying and selling.

Saskia Globig and Michael Ipsen began their shared curatorial practice through their work with Philadelphia-based collective Lino Kino. The group, founded by Michael Ipsen and Boothe Carlson in 2018, explores new approaches to exhibiting experimental art. In seeking to illustrate and examine how smaller cities can foster art practices embedded in webs of genuine community, the collective works in the interstices between the market demands of larger urban centers. Completely Familiar, Entirely Free advances this vision by bringing Lino Kino’s decentralized approach to New Haven.

Completely Familiar, Entirely Free is accompanied by free public programming. The exhibition is supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation, CT Humanities, Mellon Foundation, and VIA Art Fund.

To read an artist-authored essay “Becoming the Megaorganism” by Michael Ipsen and Saskia Globig, click here.