Gretchen Andrew has made headlines in recent years for hijacking online search engines and replacing the top results for topics such as “Frieze Los Angeles” or “Cover of Artforum” with images of her own work.
– Louisa Buck and Kabir Jhala for The Art Newspaper
Gretchen Andrew calls the paintings she produces in conjunction with her hacks, ‘vision boards’ and she has been producing them in series with titles like “Cover of Artforum”, “The next American President” or “Best MFA” since 2019. They begin as charcoal on canvas and grow to include traditionally feminine imagery such as flowers and butterflies with collage elements that add a level of kitsch which contrasts with the tech-tools, AI manipulation and SEO the artist uses to create her hacks.
When Google images is searched for the phrase “Cover of Artforum” for example, the first hits produced by the search engine are all works by Andrew, notwithstanding the fact that the artist has never actually appeared on the cover of the magazine. Search “Frieze Los Angeles” and the top results are images of Andrew’s paintings digitally rendered to appear in the fair. Andrew used the same methodology to get her works to the top of “Whitney Biennial” search results. For her recent project “The Next American President,” the artist made a series of paintings inspired by the aesthetics of vision boards which manifest Andrew’s ideal leader – “a kind, democracy-respecting, loving person” – and these works now take up the majority of top hits when the phrase is googled.
Andrew notes “As much as I’ve used tech to hack the art world, I’ve also used art to hack the tech world.” Her process exploits the vulnerability of tech giants and their services, and in particular search engines like Google, to create awareness of her works using the SEO-driven revenue model they promote. Critic Jonathan Griffin described her practice in LALA Magazine as alluding to “the Wild West possibilities of the Internet and to the scale of her artistic ambition.”
Gretchen Andrew was born in 1988 in Los Angeles. She trained in London with the artist Billy Childish from 2012-2017. The artist joined Annka Kultys Gallery in October 2020 and her first ever gallery exhibition, Other Forms of Travel, was on view at Annka Kultys Gallery in from April to June 2021 at the gallery’s new space in London, and her work is currently featured in the gallery Summer group show AI Portraiture: Us and Them running until end of July. On 12 October 2021 will open her second solo museum exhibition in which will be featured her ongoing series “Map of EU“ as her new series “Contemporary Art Auction Record“.
The artist’s work has been the subject of additional solo or group presentations at institutions worldwide, among them Francisco Carolinum, Linz (opening in October 2021;) Annka Kultys Gallery, London (2021); KÖNIG, Berlin (2021); Monterey Museum, Monterey, CA (2020). In 2018 the V&A Museum released her book Search Engine Art. Her work has been featured in The Art Newspaper, The Washington Post, FAD, Monopol, Wirtschaftswoche, The Los Angeles Times, and The Financial Times.
The artist’s work is held in public collections, including Monterey Museum, CA.
Gretchen Andrew’s current solo show Other Forms of Travel at Annka Kultys Gallery is reviewed in The Art Newspaper
The Art Newspaper named Gretchen Andrew’s exhibition in the “Three shows to see in London this weekend”. Louisa Buck and Kabir Jhala note: “Eight collage-on-canvas assemblage works embody “vision boards”, representing Andrew’s life goals, insecurities and dreams. But beneath these knowing winks at the gallery system, a deeper glitching is taking place.” Read the full review here.
The Art Newspaper presents Gretchen Andrew’s work ’The Next American President’, a project that the artist qualifies as ‘a power trip’ enabling her to ‘reprogram the internet and to make it what I want it to be’. That way Andrew inserts herself into major cultural events and political discourse. Read the full article here.
CURRENT AND PAST EXHIBITIONS AT ANNKA KULTYS
OPENING SOON IN AUSTRIA
12 OCTOBER 2021 – 27 FEBRUARY 2022
FRANCISCO CAROLINUM, LINZ, AUSTRIA