Petra Cortright’s core practice is the creation and distribution of digital and physical images using consumer or corporate software. Whether she is manipulating digital files into two-dimensional paintings in Photoshop or uploading videos to online platforms, the Internet is deeply ingrained in Cortright’s work. She became renowned for making self-portrait videos that use her computer’s webcam and default effects tools, which she would upload to YouTube and caption with spam text.
In Pink_Para_1stchoice (2013), Cortright performs a fragmented self-portrait, playing with the relationship between the computer screen and voyeurism, and the Internet’s effect on how we perceive subjectivity. The artist watches herself in the computer screen while singing along to a song we cannot hear. Through the webcam, Cortright presents herself as both subject and object, independent of any male or female gaze. In the context of a public screening, the work becomes a statement about the way women engage with the propagation of images on the Internet, both their own and those intended to represent or appeal to them.
“We are pleased to partner with Times Square Arts to further recontextualize Cortright’s webcam work beyond the YouTube platform as part of the Midnight Moment series.”
—Michael Connor, Artistic Director, Rhizome
Pink_Para_1stchoice is presented in partnership with Rhizome, which celebrates a seminal work by Cortright, VVEBCAM (2007), in Net Art Anthology, Rhizome’s online exhibition charting the history of net art through 100 key artworks. Learn more at anthology.rhizome.org/vvebcam.
Petra Cortright (born 1986, Santa Barbara, CA) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She studied Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design, The New School, New York, NY (2008) and the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2004). Selected exhibitions include: Electronic Superhighway, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2016); The Metabolic Age, MALBA, Buenos Aires, Argentina; On YouTube. Kunst und Playlists aus 10 Jahren, Kunsthaus Langenthal, Switzerland; Im Inneren der Stadt, Künstlerhaus Bremen, Germany; Ural Industrial Biennial, Ekaterinberg, Russia (2017); I Was Raised On the Internet, MCA Chicago (2018); and The Body Electric, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2019). Her works are in the permanent collections of The Péréz Museum, Miami; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; MOTI, Breda in collaboration with Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; MCA Chicago; the San Jose Museum of Art; and MOCA Los Angeles.
Rhizome champions born-digital art and culture through commissions, exhibitions, digital preservation, and software development. Founded by artist Mark Tribe as a list serve, including some of the first artists to work online, Rhizome has played an integral role in the history of contemporary art engaged with digital technologies and the internet.