Refik Anadol. Sample data visualization of Unsupervised — Machine Hallucinations — MoMA, 2022. Data sculpture: custom software, generative algorithm with artificial intelligence (AI), real time digital animation on LED screen, sound. Dimensions variable. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © Refik Anadol Studio

Refik Anadol: Unsupervised Will Be the Artist’s First Solo North American Museum Presentation

The Museum of Modern Art announces a special project for the winter season, Refik Anadol: Unsupervised. On view from November 19, 2022, through March 5, 2023, this major installation will feature three new digital artworks by Refik Anadol that use artificial intelligence to interpret and transform more than 200 years of art from MoMA’s collection. Known for his groundbreaking digital artworks and public installations, Anadol has created a singular and unprecedented meditation on technology, creativity, and modern art. Unsupervised will continuously generate new forms on a large- scale media wall measuring approximately 24 × 24 feet in the Museum’s ground-floor Gund Lobby. Refik Anadol: Unsupervised is organized by Michelle Kuo, The Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture, and Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design and Director, Research and Development, with Lydia Mullin, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

“This project reshapes the relationship between the physical and the virtual, the real and the unreal,” said Michelle Kuo. “Often, AI is used to classify, process, and generate realistic representations of the world. Anadol’s work, by contrast, is visionary: it explores dreams, hallucination, and irrationality, posing an alternate understanding of modern art—and of artmaking itself.”

“With this commission, MoMA underscores its support of artists experimenting with new technologies as tools to expand their vocabulary, their impact, and their ability to help society understand and manage change,” says Paola Antonelli.

In 2021, Anadol presented an online exhibition on the digital art platform Feral File, for which he trained a sophisticated machine-learning model to interpret the publicly available visual and informational data of MoMA’s collection. The result is a real-time software artwork that continuously generates new and surreal images as the machine-learning model “walks” through its conception of MoMA’s collection, reimagining the trajectory of modern art, paying homage to its history, and dreaming about its future. To increase accessibility to those works, all of which remain publicly and permanently viewable on Feral File, the artist released them as NFTs in both large and small editions during a live online auction at the launch of that exhibition. For this site-specific installation at MoMA, Anadol has revised the artworks he made in 2021 to incorporate real-time input from the surrounding environment—changes in light, movement, volume, and the weather—which, in turn, affect the continuously changing imagery. The history of modern art will be transformed by the liveness of public space in the present.

Refik Anadol (b. 1985, Istanbul, Turkey) is a media artist, director, and leader in the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence. His work locates creativity at the intersection of humans and machines. Taking the data that surrounds us as primary material, and the neural network of a computerized mind as a collaborator, Anadol offers us radical visualizations of our digitized memories and expands the possibilities of the arts, architecture, narrative, and the body in motion. Anadol’s site-specific AI data sculptures, live audiovisual performances, and environmental installations take many forms, while encouraging us to rethink our engagement with the physical world, decentralized networks, collective experience, and the creative potential of machines. Anadol’s work has been exhibited at venues including the Centre Pompidou-Metz, National Gallery of Victoria, Venice Architecture Biennale, Hammer Museum, Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Ars Electronica Festival, Istanbul Design Biennial, and ZKM | Center for Art and New Media.


The project is made possible by Hyundai Card.
Leadership support is provided by
AI software and computing systems to create this work provided by NVIDIA.