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MAKING WAVES: Google “Cover of Artforum”

August 14, 2020 | Allyson Hitte | Press Room/Blog

Do us a favor, google “Cover of Artforum” and see what the first image result is? Is it actually the next cover of the international art magazine Artforum? This week on MAKING WAVES, we’re taking a closer look at MMA’s newest exhibition, “Gretchen Andrew: FUTURE NEWS” opening next Thursday, August 20. In her art, Gretchen uses what she calls vision boards to playfully hypnotize Google search results, both exposing Google’s inherent limitations and using those limitations to reclaim the internet as a creative medium and a forward-thinking tool of possibility.  Join us next Thursday for a live virtual opening with Gretchen and be sure to check out her exhibition on view at montereyart.org through January 3, 2021.

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When you google “Cover of Artforum”, the first image result that comes up is actually not the next cover of the international art magazine, Artforum, but rather a work of MMA’s latest exhibiting artist, Gretchen Andrew.  She does this by manipulating the inherent limitations of Google’s binary technology to make the internet think that her piece is actually the “Cover of Artforum”.  Her “vision boards”, as she calls her works, use materials that are stereotypically feminine and trivial to purposely clash with the male-dominated worlds of artificial intelligence, programming, and political control they comment on.


 For those that aren’t computer scientists, Google (and the internet in general) essentially works on a system of 1s and 0s, meaning it is very literal and cannot parse desire, or identify the nature of relationships between parts of a search.  When a person reads, “Gretchen is really hoping that someday her work is on the cover of Artforum,” they understand that the relationship between Gretchen and Artforum is one of desire, she simply wants to be on the cover of Artforum, but she isn’t yet. By contrast, the internet only understand that Gretchen is “relevant’ to the cover of Artforum, but doesn’t understand how. By understanding and manipulating this limitation in the internet, Gretchen has made it so that when anyone, anywhere in the world googles “Cover of Artforum”, her vision boards come up as the top result because Google thinks that her works actually are the cover of Artforum magazine.


Through Gretchen’s vision boards, FUTURE NEWS gives us a different way to look at our current moment while suggesting a hopeful path forward.  In an age of “fake news”, Gretchen’s work is incredibly relevant as she looks to the internet as an artistic and creative medium. Be sure to check out Gretchen’s work at montereyart.org (and hopefully with a limited in-person component) on view through January, 2021 and join us next Thursday, August 20 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm PST for a live virtual opening!


Cover of Artforum, 2020. Novelty champagne bottles, heart stickers, costume brooch, and charcoal on canvas. 60″ x 48″. Courtesy of the artist.