artist note/poem on my Return of Lazarus paintings (2017)

Retrun of Lazarus - prOlOngatiOn (2017) 4x5' velour

Return of Lazarus: prOlOngatiOn (2017) 48 x 60 in, 122x 152 cm, computer-robotic assisted acrylic on velour

artist note/poem on my Return of Lazarus paintings (2017)

 exhibited at

Galerie Richard

121 Orchard Street

New York City


Joseph Nechvatal

Computer Virus 1.0 and the Return of Lazarus

November 8th – December 10th 2017

Vernissage Wednesday November 8th from 6 – 8 pm


the Return of Lazarus paintings are concerned with




painting as scab

scarabs in the mist

tragic timelessness


discontinuity embedded in continuity

loss as movement that spiritualizes life

the materialization of the dematerialized


  an enteric approach

pulling old images inside out

like an old glove


they perform an expressive operation on what was done before

exposing their velour lining


they are a ride on the horns of time

always a shimmering dilemma

to be or not to be


the art world is a mishmash of unfinished business

a continuous grinding

formed by unseen and unadmitted past engagements


back from the dead

quite ‘naturally’ the noise aesthetic of my Informed Man’s repressed excess did not receive the social backing of the 1980s culture 

Return of Lazarus explores re-engagements with that past


at stake is the visceral sensation of penetrating plenty of nothing

we don’t understand what is happening now

because we can’t face what was happening then


the first wave of

fecund nothingness


Retrun of Lazarus - sublimatiOn (2017)

Return of Lazarus: sublimatiOn (2017) 48 x 60 in, 122x 152 cm, computer-robotic assisted acrylic on velour

Retrun of Lazarus - expeditiOn (2017)

Return of Lazarus: expeditiOn (2017) 48 x 60 in, 122x 152 cm, computer-robotic assisted acrylic on velour


About josephnechvatal

Joseph Nechvatal is an American post-conceptual artist who creates virus-modeled artificial life computer-assisted paintings and animations. Themes he has addressed in his art include the apocalyptic, communication excess, the virus, and gender fluidity. In 1975, he moved from Chicago to the downtown Tribeca area of New York City. He began studying at Columbia University with the philosopher Arthur Danto while working for the Dia Art Foundation as archivist to the minimalist composer La Monte Young. In 1980, he moved from Tribeca to the sordid Lower East Side where he found artistic camaraderie and politically inspired creative energy. There he became closely associated with Collaborative Projects (Colab), the influential post-punk artists’ group that included Kiki Smith and Jenny Holzer, among others. Those were glory days for the famous Colab projects, such as Just Another Asshole, The Real Estate Show and The Times Square Show. He also helped establish the non-profit cultural space ABC No Rio, where exhibitions were animated by political purpose. In the early 1980s, his art consisted of dense post-minimalist gray graphite drawings (that were sometimes photo-mechanically enlarged), of sculpture, of photographs, and of musique concrète audio collages. In 1983, he co-founded the famous avant-garde art music project Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine. In 1984, he created an opera called XS: The Opera Opus (1984-6) with the no wave musical composer Rhys Chatham that was presented in Boston and New York. In 1986, Nechvatal began using computer-robotics to make conceptual paintings. Some were exhibited at Documenta VIII in 1987. In 1992, when he was artist-in-residence at the Louis Pasteur Atelier in Arbois and at the Saline royale d’Arc-et-Senans, he created computer virus codes that he used as an artistic tool. This work was a reflection on his personal experiences of risk and loss with the AIDS epidemic. In 1999, he earned his doctorat in the philosophy of aesthetics and technology in England and soon wrote two art theory books: Towards an Immersive Intelligence and Immersion Into Noise. In 2001, he extended his initial experimentations into the virus as an artistic painterly tool in a series of artificial life works. These works include various series of paintings, animations, and a lengthy audio composition entitled viral symphOny. He has created a series of virus-based themed exhibitions of artificial life paintings and animation projections that explore the fragility and fluidity of the human body. You can follow him on Twitter at @twinkletwink Homepage:
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