Petra Cortright’s core practice is the creation and distribution of digital and physical images using consumer or corporate softwares. She became renowned for making self-portrait videos that use her computer’s webcam and default effects tools, which she would then upload to YouTube and caption with spam text. Cortright’s paintings on aluminum, linen, paper, or acrylic are created in Photoshop using painting software and appropriated images, icons, and marks. The digital files are endlessly modifiable, but at a “decisive moment” they are translated into two-dimensional objects. They become finite, yet their range of motifs and marks, and their disorienting perspectives and dimensions suggest dynamic change.
Petra Cortright (Santa Barbara, CA, 1986) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She studied Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design, The New School, New York, NY (2008), and at the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2004).
Exhibitions include: Petra Cortright: “sapphire cinnamon viper fairy,” Palm Springs Art Musum, CA (solo) (2022-2023); “Search Engines,” MoMA, New York, NY (2021-2023); “.paint,” MCA, Chicago, IL (2020); “The Body Electric,” Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, toured to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA, and Miami Dade College Galleries of Art + Design, FL (2019-2021); “Dirty Protest: Selections from the Hammer,” Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; “Now Playing: Video 1999-2019,” Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ; “Hate Speech: Aggression and Imitation,” Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien, Graz, Austria (all 2019): “I Was Raised On the Internet,” MCA, Chicago, IL (2018); “RUNNING NEO-GEO GAMES UNDER MAME,” City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand (solo) (2017); “Electronic Superhighway,” Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2016); and “NIKI, LUCY, LOLA, VIOLA,” Depart Foundation, Los Angeles, CA (solo)(2015).
Public projects have included commissions from Frank Gehry Partners, LLP; Midnight Moment, Times Square Arts, New York, NY; Art on theMART, Chicago, IL (all 2019); and SketchedSpace in Seoul, South Korea (2018.)
Cortright’s works are in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Péréz Museum, Miami; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; MOCA Los Angeles; Rhizome’s Net Art Anthology; MOTI, Breda, in collaboration with Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; MCA Chicago; Kadist Foundation, Paris, San Francisco; BAMPFA, Berkeley, CA; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose; MOCA Los Angeles; and Rhizome’s Net Art Anthology, New York.
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- Ripps Schaming, Corinna and Olga Dekalo. ACE: art on sports, promise, and selfhood. Albany: University Art Museum, 2019: 11.
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