Rick Silva, screenshot of Liquid Crystal at sunrise, 2023. Commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art

Today, the Whitney Museum of American Art launched Liquid Crystal, a new digital art project by artist Rick Silva, on whitney.org. The project was commissioned for artport, the Museum’s online gallery space for net art commissions. Silva’s work is part of the ongoing Sunrise/Sunset series that activates across the Museum’s website twice a day at sunrise and sunset in New York City.

In Liquid Crystal, the artist explores the relationships between the natural world and the technological environments that surround us. The series comprises seven videos, one for every day of the week, each of them depicting a view of a natural surface, including leaves, moss, sand, gravel, snow, and ice, representing different seasons. The artist’s hands sweep away these natural layers to reveal synthesized video patterns beneath the ground.

“A recurring motif in Rick Silva’s work is the extraction of natural resources,” says Christiane Paul, Curator of Digital Art at the Whitney. “In Liquid Crystal, Silva’s hands are digging into natural surfaces to expose video patterns below them. The artist’s hands both represent artistic creation and the labor essential in “mining” natural environments to support technological systems.”

Silva, whose grandfather was a diamond miner in Brazil, delves into the natural surfaces of the earth and unveils colorful patterns and effects within the technological environment of whitney.org. The action of digging into the ground excavates a past while also referencing future technologies that will be developed from raw materials. The series reinforces the interrelations between natural phenomena and materials, and alludes to the cycles of sunrise and sunset and the seasonal changes.

Liquid Crystal is commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Sunrise/Sunset series is overseen by Christiane Paul, Curator of Digital Art, for artport. Unfolding over a time frame of thirty seconds, each Sunrise/Sunset project disrupts, replaces, or engages with the Museum website as an information environment.

More information on Liquid Crystal is available on whitney.org.


Rick Silva (b. 1977) is a Brazilian-American artist whose videos, websites, and installations explore virtuality, futurology, and speculative ecologies. His work has been exhibited at institutions including The Centre Pompidou, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He has been featured in Artforum, Wired, and Rhizome’s NET ART Anthology. He lives in Eugene, Oregon where he is an Associate Professor at The University of Oregon.


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. Recent commissions include Auriea Harvey’s SITE1 (2023); Amelia Winger-Bearskin’s Sky/World Death/World (2022); Mimi Ọnụọha’s 40% of Food in the US is Wasted (How the Hell is That Progress, Man?) (2022); Rachel Rossin’s THE MAW OF (2022); Devin Kenney’s Ongoing, Individual Adaptability or How to Quiet Quit (2022); and Paolo Cirio’s Criminal Data (2022). Access these and more projects at whitney.org/artport.


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.

Whitney Museum Land Acknowledgement

The Whitney is located in Lenapehoking, the ancestral homeland of the Lenape. The name Manhattan comes from their word Mannahatta, meaning “island of many hills.” The Museum’s current site is close to land that was a Lenape fishing and planting site called Sapponckanikan (“tobacco field”). The Whitney acknowledges the displacement of this region’s original inhabitants and the Lenape diaspora that exists today.

As a museum of American art in a city with vital and diverse communities of Indigenous people, the Whitney recognizes the historical exclusion of Indigenous artists from its collection and program. The Museum is committed to addressing these erasures and honoring the perspectives of Indigenous artists and communities as we work for a more equitable future. To read more about the Museum’s Land Acknowledgement, visit the Museum’s website.


The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 99 Gansevoort Street between Washington and West Streets, New York City. Public hours are: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 10:30 am–6 pm; Friday, 10:30 am–10 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 am–6 pm. Closed Tuesday. Visitors eighteen years and under and Whitney members: FREE. Admission is pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 7–10 pm. COVID-19 vaccination and face coverings are not required but strongly recommended. We encourage all visitors to wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth throughout their visit.