“Book of Ours” featured in artnet

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“Medievalists have been comparing the smart phone to the Medieval book of hours for years,” curator Sarah Celentano, a medievalist and former staffer at New York’s City Reliquary told Artnet News. “They are about the same size, people use them in public, and they are luxury items.”

Phil Buehler has run with that comparison, surreptitiously snapping photographs of New Yorkers engrossed in their phones and turning the images into stained glass-style images displayed on a smart TV mounted in a wooden frame shaped like an arched church window. Right now, only the video files are for sale, for $1,500 each, but the right offer could potentially buy you the whole installation.

The meditative display, beneath a vaulted “ceiling” of blue lights, is paired with dispatches from QAnon printed in Gothic script that Celentano selected for their biblical cadence. “Smart phones give us access to limitless information, not just prayers,” she said, “but we are still prone to radicalization.”

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“Book of Ours” at Spring/Break Art Show

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If you’re in New York City this week taking in the art fairs, please strop by my installation at Spring/Break Art Show The theme of this year’s show is Heresy/Hearsay, with a medieval spin.

Book of Ours

An immersive multimedia art installation
highlighting the unsettling correlation between
technology, medieval status symbols & conspiracy theories.

September 10–September 13
SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW
625 Madison Ave (bet 58th & 59th Streets)
Booth 1044

Curator Sarah Celentano’s description:

“This project explores the overlaps of the medieval and the modern with a focus on smartphone technology and online-bred conspiracy groups.

In this chapel of the medieval-modern, photos of smartphone users are transformed into sacred imagery through the medieval medium of stained glass. Accompanying these images are selected communications, or “QDrops,” from the online conspiracy group QAnon. The biblical cadence and heroic language of the QDrops recall passages from the Hebrew and Christian Bibles and show how present-day pocket devices have aided in the radicalization of virtual communities who see themselves as modern crusaders.

Upon its debut in 2007, the iPhone intrigued the medievalist community with its parallels to the book of hours. These prayer books, often illuminated with gold leaf and pigments created from crushed gems, were popular among secular elites between the 13th and 15th centuries. They were often small and portable, and thus acted as both devotional object and personal accessory. The book of hours compares closely to the 21st-century smartphone in terms of scale, costliness, and status symbol. Yet, the purpose of each object could not seem more different, one a means of guiding devotion, the other an invitation to limitless inquiry. But the rise of online conspiracy groups suggests that technology is not a guarantor of social progress.”

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Installation, Re:Generation Tulsa 1921-2021

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Some photos from my installation on the Paradise Baptist Church for the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. You can see visitors pointing out the burned out shell of the original Paradise Baptist Church, which is one of only three churches remaining in the Greenwood Section of Tulsa.

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RE-GENERATION Tulsa 1921-2021

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For the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre I’m installing four large panoramic photo murals taken in 1921 onto the exterior walls of Paradise Baptist Church in the Greenwood section of Tulsa. The church was burned down in 1921 and appears in two of the panoramas.

The opening will be on Sunday May 30th and be up until June 30th. Paradise Baptist Church is located at 507 E King St, Greenwood, Tulsa 74106.

Installation view, Paradise Baptist Church in a 1921 panoramic photograph taken after the Tulsa Race Massacre
1921 view of Paradise Baptist Church (full panoramic image, one of four in the installation)
2021 view of Paradise Baptist Church, taken from a drone flying over Sunset Hill

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The Wall of Lies

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Photographs of the “Wall of Lies,” a 110-foot long, 10-foot tall outdoor mural with the 20,000+ lies told by Donald Trump while in office as documented and fact-checked by The Washington Post. It was first installed in Bushwick Brooklyn and then in SoHo Manhattan in the month prior to the 2020 Presidential Election.

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Review in Hyperallergic of “Mallrat to Snapchat”

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A nice New Year’s surprise with a featured story in Hyperallergic!
hyperallergic

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Exhibition Featured on “State of the Arts”

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Susan Wallner did a wonderful piece about my show at Front Room Gallery for her “State of the Arts” program, which airs on NJTV, WNET and ALL ARTS – a great mix of footage from the gallery, old movie clips and music from 1973, the year the Wayne Hills Mall opened.

https://youtu.be/PbsWR8U4RP8

state of the arts

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Artnet Editor’s Pick

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“Mallrat to Snapchat” is an artnet pick !

sam+goodyMallrat to Snapchat: The End of the Third Place” at Front Room Gallery

If you don’t feel like lining up outside a mall as soon as you’ve digested your Thanksgiving turkey, the Lower East Side-based Front Room Gallery has a very different experience for your Black Friday. Artist Phillip Buehler has been photographing some of the nation’s most deserted and decrepit sites for decades, and in his new series he’s exploring the demise of the commercial shopping mall. The timing feels especially poignant as centers like Hudson Yards and New Jersey’s forthcoming Dream Mall are cropping up.

Location: Front Room Gallery, 48 Hester Street

Price: Free
Time: Opening reception, 7 p.m.–9 p.m.; Thursday–Sunday, noon–6 .p.m.

—Caroline Goldstein

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AMC Headquarters Building

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amc grafitti reflection

Just back from exploring the abandoned AMC headquarters building in Detroit with my buddy Lowell Boileau. It’s where they designed AMC and Jeep cars and SUVs. More photos in the gallery here.

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“American Trilogy” at Spring/Break Art Show

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installation view 2

Installation view of the exterior of “American Trilogy” at the Spring/Break Art Show

For the first time I showed more than one of my walk-in panoramas under the title, “American Trilogy.” It was curated by Larry Walczak. The show was held on the 22nd floor of #4 Times Square during Armory Art Week.

“American Trilogy: Ferguson” places viewers on the spot where Michael Brown was killed by police. I remembered the rioters, tear gas, military assault vehicles and rooftop snipers from the nightly news, but when I was there it was a quiet neighborhood, and on the line where he fell was a makeshift memorial of hundreds of stuffed animals, flowers and notes. The panorama was part of a Black Lives Matter event in Times Square in 2015 as well as installed in a Brooklyn public high school for Black History Month.

“American Trilogy: Arlington” places viewers in front of Muslim soldier Humanyun Saqib Khan’s headstone. His Gold Star parents spot at the Democratic National Convention and were mocked by then-candidate Donald Trump. On Khan’s headstone is the Muslim Star and Crescent and surrounding headstones have Jewish, Christian, Mormon and Buddhist symbols. The panorama was originally installed in Erie Pennsylvania, a red part of a swing state, the week before the Presidential election.

“American Trilogy: Washington” places viewers in front of the White House during the Women’s March on Washington, where they are surrounded by protest signs and a sea of pink pussy hats. It debuted at Spring/Break.

interior

Interior of “American Trilogy: Washington” and two women viewing.

Detail of "American Trilogy: Washington, 2017"

Detail of “American Trilogy: Washington, 2017”

Happily, the exhibit received a lot of press. My favorite quotes were:

“He really seems to be on to something here–standing there looking out at the makeshift memorial for Brown, a black teenager who was unarmed when he was shot and killed by a white police officer, was really moving.” Nicole Disser, Bedford & Bowery

“We are living in unprecedented times. Sometimes, it helps to travel outside frames that are most familiar to us, the narratives we are spoonfed. Step into the panoramas of ‘American Trilogy’ and you just might walk out with a different perspective about a person, place, or cause you thought you knew all about.” Daniel Kessel, Bushwick Daily

“They are technical tours de force, but more importantly they are eloquent reminders of the obstacles facing contemporary America.” Robert Ayers, Ocula

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