When I first came accross Gretchen Andrew’s work I was impressed by her clever and modern take on the arts. Therefore I was delighted to be able to meet her a couple weeks ago and to chat with her.
Gretchen is a “search engine and internet imperialist artist”. What does it mean? It means she creates mixed media Vision boards and associates them with a manipulation of the internet’s algorithms. For example try to google Frieze Los Angeles, The Whitney Biennial, The Turner Prize, and The Cover of Artforum and her work appears at the top of the search. I love how she used her competencies in Tech to make us reflect on the way these algorithms work.
Gretchen’s work has been featured major publications such as Flash Art, The Washington Post, Fortune Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and The Financial Times. She is represented by Annka Kultys Gallery, who will be hosting her next exhibition in April 2021.
Part of your work is physical through your Vision Boards and part is non tangible with the “Google hacking” aspect. How did you come up with this project?
In my practice I program my vision boards, which are very physical, to manipulate the internet’s algorithms and reducate artificial intelligence. I love that this work is equal parts code and part glitter. There are all these beautiful ways technology fails and more and more I started to see how art was a viable solution to the direction we’ve been traveling. Art embraces metaphor and nuance and perspective and authorship and liminality which are all things our technical systems, built on top of binary code and human language really struggle with. I started to see everything I love come together and, though it’s taken many stages, the last 8 years since leaving Silicon Valley have brought me here.
What is the message you want to share through your art?
There are many about power and systems and gender and technology and politics but if I had to distill it to one message I’d honestly say it’s to be yourself. That’s the message I get from my work every day and the one that when I at all deviate from comes back to haunt me. My favorite quote is by Thelonious Monk, “A genius is the one most like himself.”
Can you share about your process / medium you use for your Vision Boards
I use materials from craft and party supply stores as well as cut shiny things out of magazines. I’m always collecting the corks and wire hoods from the champagne that I drink. The goal is to use symbols of luxury, love and connection especially if they are pink and girly. My vision boards are about my professional or political hopes but they are also always very personal by integrating my hopes for love, connection, money and friendship….and champagne.
NFT art is hot right now. Is it something you would like to explore?
I think of NFT as a system that is interrelated with tech power and finance. As such it is ripe for me to hack it. However as Taylor Swift says, “I don’t like a gold rush.”
What would be your advice for an emerging artist?
Visualize where you want to be, who’s going to be there with you, how it’s going to feel and then buy the outfit you want to wear on that day, even if it means eating only microwave ramen for a few months to pay for it.
What is your upcoming project?
On April 22 I will be opening Other Forms of Travel at Annka Kultys Gallery in London. I am so excited to get to share my visions boards in a space that will be open to the public. It will be the first time! The exhibition marks cumulations of many of my personal and professional hopes in that it connected me to the wonderful Annka Kultys and brought me back to London.
What is your dream project?
Before COVID I had been planning exhibitions where the gallery walls become a community vision board, as I did at The LA Center for Digital Art and The Whitney Biennial in 2019. I am hoping we can all share glue guns and glitter tubes together soon as I’ve got something similar planned at The Francioc Caralinium and in New York this fall. In the future, I will manifest the community vision board installation at spaces all around the world including The Venice Biennale and The Barbican Center.