The Art Happens Here: Net Art’s Archival Poetics


Rhizome presents an exhibition reflecting on the process of narrating archives and histories of online artistic practice.

Cover Image:

“The Art Happens Here: Net Art’s Archival Poetics,” 2019. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio

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“The Art Happens Here: Net Art’s Archival Poetics” features sixteen works from throughout net art history, showcasing a wide range of forms—websites, software, sculpture, graphics, books, and merchandise—while offering a space for considering the internet as social process, material infrastructure, and lived experience. The works on view have been selected from “Net Art Anthology,” Rhizome’s major online exhibition featuring one hundred works that sketch a possible canon for net art. Presented online at, “Net Art Anthology” represents a major archival effort, leveraging Rhizome’s unique expertise in the history of network culture and the display and preservation of born-digital artworks. Open-ended, performative, and ephemeral, artworks that circulate on and respond to the internet often survive only as fragments and traces, offering glimpses of a larger networked context that can never be fully grasped.

Among the works on view are Shu Lea Cheang’s Garlic=RichAir (2002), an interactive online trading game and performance in which garlic functions as currency in an imagined postcapitalist future; Alexei Shulgin’s 386DX (c. 1998), the world’s first cyberpunk rock band, which performs MIDI and text-to-speech renditions of musical hits; Sister Unn’s (2012), an installation by Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski based on a mysterious storefront in Queens that led passersby to an equally enigmatic website, exemplifying the links between real and virtual space; and a new restoration of Mark Tribe’s Starrynight (1999), a landmark artist-made interface to Rhizome’s listserve archives that Tribe created with Alexander Galloway and Martin Wattenberg.

Artist List:
Morehshin Allahyari
Cory Arcangel
Shu Lea Cheang
Aleksandra Domanović
Entropy8Zuper! (Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn)
YoHa (Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji)
Eduardo Kac
Olia Lialina
Brian Mackern, et. al.
Miao Ying
MTAA (Michael Sarff and Tim Whidden)
Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski
Bogosi Sekhukhuni
Alexei Shulgin
Wolfgang Staehle
Mark Tribe with Alexander Galloway and Martin Wattenberg

Rhizome champions born-digital art and culture through commissions, exhibitions, digital preservation, and software development. Founded by artist Mark Tribe as a listserv that included 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. Since 2003, Rhizome has been an affiliate in residence at the New Museum.

This exhibition is curated by Michael Connor, Artistic Director, Rhizome, with Aria Dean, Assistant Curator. The exhibition is accompanied by a major catalogue featuring critical and historical essays by artists, curators, and theorists alongside hundreds of archival images from the history of net art.

Concurrent with “The Art Happens Here: Net Art’s Archival Poetics” in the Lobby Gallery, Cory Arcangel’s film So shines a good deed in a weary world ( (2014) will be screened on select dates throughout the exhibition in the New Museum Theater. The film documents Arcangel surfing the Dunkin’ Donuts website over the course of ninety minutes.

The first screening will be on Thursday, January 31 at 2:30pm. Additional screenings will be held on Wednesday, February 13 and Wednesday, March 6.
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This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Thoma Foundation.

Additional support provided by Greg & Yukari Pass, Mihail Lari & Scott Murray, Josh Wolfe, and Lisa Schiff.

We gratefully acknowledge the following:

Norwegian Consulate General New York

Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York

Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany

Special thanks to the Producers Council of the New Museum.

Intel generously provided Intel® NUCs to present “The Art Happens Here.”

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