Screenshot of Hateful Little Thing by Ryan Kuo at sunset.
Hateful Little Thing by Ryan Kuo (b. 1982, Elkins, WV) launched on whitney.org as the next project in the Sunrise/Sunset series. These Internet art projects are commissioned by the Museum specifically for whitney.org to mark sunset and sunrise in New York City every day.
Kuo’s project, Hateful Little Thing, consists of text boxes that replicate and cover the pages of whitney.org, unfolding in a new thirty-second sequence each time the work is launched. Conceived by the artist as a separate persona, the Hateful Little Thing inserts itself in the form of text snippets that overwrite the web pages and reflect Kuo’s experiences as an AsianAmerican. The comments address the act of taking up “white space”—in the sense of both the white background of whitney.org and racial whiteness—and highlight the complexities of hate, racism, and exclusion.
“Ryan Kuo’s project effectively manages to be both disruptive and poetic in exploring pressing issues of diversity and exclusion,” said Christiane Paul, Adjunct Curator of Digital Art at the Whitney. “Hateful Little Thing makes its voice heard, demands attention, and refuses to leave, revealing experiences of having been erased or left out.”
Hateful Little Thing claims space on whitney.org by creating its own version of exhibition labels traditionally used by museums to provide background information on artworks. The boxes are similar to the text labels used to identify the Sunrise/Sunset projects, suggesting a reframing of the institutional text. Each text box is written and categorized by the artist and color-coded according to the theme or topic it addresses. A white box titled “Good Morning” includes the text, “The Work will now speak.” Another yellow box titled “Touchy Subjects” reads, “Aren’t they. You have to butter them up. Pet them with a velvet glove. Or they’ll sue you to oblivion.”
The Sunrise/Sunset series is organized by Christiane Paul, Adjunct Curator of Digital Art at the Whitney. Unfolding over a time frame of ten to thirty seconds, each project disrupts, replaces, or engages with the Museum website as an information environment. The series is a part of artport, the Whitney’s portal to Internet art and online gallery space for net art commissions.
More information on Hateful Little Thing is available at whitney.org/exhibitions/ryan-kuo. Visitors anywhere on whitney.org during sunset or sunrise will experience the project.
About the artist
Ryan Kuo (b. 1982, Elkins, WV) lives and works in New York City. He received a Master of Science in Art, Culture, and Technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2021 Kuo was in residence at Carnegie Mellon University’s Frank Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry in Pittsburgh, in 2019 he participated in the Technology Residency at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, and in 2018 took part in the Queens Museum Studio Program. His work is distributed online at left gallery in Berlin and has appeared in New York at the Queens Museum and bitforms gallery as well as TRANSFER in Los Angeles, Stroom Den Haag in The Hague, Goethe-Institut China in Beijing, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Goldsmiths in London, and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts in Cambridge, MA. His work has been published in Artforum, Art in America, BOMB, and Rhizome.
artport is the Whitney Museum’s portal to Internet art and an online gallery space for net art and new media art commissions. Launched in 2001, artport provides access to original commissioned artworks, documentation of net art and new media art exhibitions at the Whitney, and new media art in the Museum’s collection.
Using whitney.org as their habitat, Sunrise/Sunset projects capture the core of artistic practice on the Internet—interventions in online spaces. The series debuted as part of artport in 2009 with Untitled Landscape #5 by the collaborative ecoarttech. More recent commissions include LaTurbo Avedon’s Morning Mirror / Evening Mirror (2021), American Artist’s Looted (2020), and Kristin Lucas’s Speculative Habitat for Sponsored Seabirds (2019).
More information on artport and Sunrise/Sunset is available at whitney.org/artport.
About the Whitney
The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by the artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875 1942), houses the foremost collection of American art from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Mrs. Whitney, an early and ardent supporter of modern American art, nurtured groundbreaking artists when audiences were still largely preoccupied with the Old Masters. From her vision arose the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has been championing the most innovative art of the United States for ninety years. The core of the Whitney’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time and serve a wide variety of audiences in celebration of the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this mission and a steadfast commitment to artists, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art and continues to help define what is innovative and influential in American art today.