WASHINGTON, DC — The Phillips Collection presents Move the Way You Want by Jonathan Monaghan, the latest project in the museum’s ongoing Intersections contemporary art series, on view from September 22 to December 31, 2022. The multipart, site-specific installation and video projection will entirely transform the architectural environment of the historic Phillips House. Drawing on a wide range of sources including historical artworks, ancient mythology, science fiction, videogames, and virtual reality, Monaghan’s work points to the living anxieties of contemporary culture where consumerism and technology co-depend, and utopia and dystopia co-exist.
Occupying the former Dining Room in the Phillips House, Monaghan’s digitally created imagery on adhesive canvas covers all walls, turning the gallery into a trompe-l’œil architectural environment that overlays elements of Gothic and Baroque archways with contemporary beachscape scenes littered with bike shares, abandoned scooters, and Pelotons. In addition, looping seamlessly a large video projection of a mythical horse walking on the beach sets the space in motion.
Entitled Move the Way you Want, the installation moves viewers between the past, present, and future. Ancient mythology where horses are symbols of majesty, freedom, and beauty collide with today’s hi-tech culture where scooters and electric bikes are devices of our urban, shared economy.
Vesela Sretenović, Director of Contemporary Art Initiatives and Academic Affairs notes, “Monaghan’s work confronts viewers with an illusionistic yet dehumanized world in which past and present merge into a surrealist dreamscape filled with opulent architectural décor and familiar mass-produced items of today. At once fanciful and bleak, it portrays our consumerist culture in which technology takes over ecology.”
Monaghan’s work will also be displayed alongside paintings from the Phillips’s permanent collection, namely Giorgio de Chirico’s Horse (1928) and Théodore Géricault’s Two Horses (1808–09). The installation therefore presents a double “intersection” between the Phillips’s historic architecture and the artist’s digital rendering, and between 19th-century genre painting and new computer-generated animation.
As the artist explains, “I grew up in Rockaway Beach, Queens, where the concrete jungle of New York City meets the vast natural expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. When I was asked to participate in Intersections and create a new work in dialogue with work(s) from the permanent collection, I was immediately drawn to De Chirico and Géricault’s paintings of horses on the beach. Coastal imagery is important to me personally but also because in my view the beach acts as an ideal backdrop for addressing environmental issues and our fraught relationship with the natural world.”
“We are pleased to present Monaghan’s project as part of our Intersections series. Not only does it uniquely engage with the Phillips’s architecture and collection, but it also offers a critical reflection on the digital age and technological landscape of which we are all a part,” says Vradenburg Director and CEO Dorothy Kosinski.
Artist Talk and Opening Reception
September 22, 6:30 pm
Artist Jonathan Monaghan and Director for Contemporary Art Initiatives and Academic Partnerships Vesela Sretenović will discuss Move the Way You Want.
ABOUT JONATHAN MONAGHAN
Jonathan Monaghan is an artist working across media, including print, sculpture, computer-animated video, as well as cutting edge technologies including blockchain authentication of his digital works and 3D printing. His work has been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Spazio Ridotto in Venice, and Market Gallery in Glasgow. Group exhibitions include The Palais de Tokyo in Paris, New Frontier at the Sundance Film Festival, Lehman College Art Gallery in New York, Ars Electronica, and Postmasters Gallery in New York. His work is in numerous public and private collections including The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, and the Washington, DC, Art Bank Collection.
The Phillips Collection’s Intersections is an ongoing series of contemporary art projects in which artists are invited to produce work that engages the museum’s architecture and/or permanent collection, exploring the intriguing intersections between old and new traditions, modern and contemporary art practices, and museum spaces and artistic interventions. Inaugurated in 2009 and led by Vesela Sretenović, Intersections has presented 32 projects from the US and abroad. The artists have created diverse projects—both aesthetically and conceptually—and employed various media. Many of the projects also riff on the nontraditional nature of the museum’s galleries, sometimes activating spaces that are not typical exhibition areas with art produced specifically for those locations.
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CREDIT: Jonathan Monaghan, Move the Way you Want (still), 2022,Vertical video (color, sound), media player, projector, 8-minuteseamless loop, Courtesy of bitforms gallery, New York
ABOUT THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, was founded in 1921. The museum houses one of the world’s most celebrated Impressionist and American modern art collections, and continues to grow its collection with important contemporary voices. Its distinctive building combines extensive new galleries with the former home of its founder, Duncan Phillips. The Phillips’s impact spreads nationally and internationally through its diverse and experimental special exhibitions and events, including its award-winning education programs for educators, students, and adults; renowned Phillips Music series; and dynamic art and wellness and Phillips after 5 events. The museum contributes to global dialogues with events like Conversations with Artists and Artists of Conscience. The Phillips Collection values its community partnership with THEARC—the museum’s satellite campus in Southeast DC. The Phillips Collection is a private, non-government museum, supported primarily by donations.