Luke Murphy debuts solo exhibition at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Posted 11/17/21

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is presenting “Pixel-by-Pixel: Interventions by Luke Murphy,” which is the first solo museum exhibition for the New York City-based artist, on view through April 10, 2022.

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Luke Murphy debuts solo exhibition at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

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Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is presenting “Pixel-by-Pixel: Interventions by Luke Murphy,” which is the first solo museum exhibition for the New York City-based artist, on view through April 10, 2022.

“Pixel-by-Pixel” includes LED sculptures said to “undermine and liberate technology from its commercial form and function,” according to a press release, noting how Murphy’s longtime interests in “the overwhelming saturation of imagery.” 

The imagery is used to advertise products or services throughout New York City, usually on some sort of large LED screen that became part of Murphy’s landscape.

Murphy became interested in using this same LED technology to create artworks that challenge their intended application by transforming the screens into sculptural forms instead of the usual flat planes, the release said.

“I think what Luke is doing is quite subversive,” said Julie Ganas, SMoCA curator of engagement and digital initiatives, describing Murphy’s work that “recontextualizes the LED screen in ways that reveal its innate humanity and the fragile materiality of the technology, challenging the illusion that technology is seamless and autonomous.”

“He is taking the invasive LED screens that we typically overlook and creating thoughtful sculptural forms that are not aimed at selling products to consumers as they were intended to,” said Ganas in the release.

Murphy programs his works using open-source code with commercial software and hardware to create animation sequences, pixel-by-pixel, that generate on LED matrix panels. Each sculpture has animation alluding to his approach to abstraction that is influenced by his background in painting.

The artist’s interventions in “Pixel-by-Pixel” are momentary interruptions in the museum, activating spaces often overlooked and challenging viewers to look closer at the technology that we encounter daily in a more critical way.

“Screens have become so familiar that we seem to look past them, but Luke is inviting us to see them in a new light.” Ganas said.

“He is presenting an alternative way to experience the screens that we have become so accustomed to and encourages a more mindful approach to technology.”

“Pixel-by-Pixel: Interventions by Luke Murphy” is organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by Julie Ganas, curator of engagement and digital initiatives.

The museum, at 7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale, is open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; and 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Thursdays.

Admission is $10 for non-members; $7 for students, seniors (65+) and veterans; and free for Scottsdale Arts ONE Members and patrons 18 and younger. Admission to the museum is free every Thursday and every second Saturday of the month.

Visit SMoCA.org for information; view safety protocols at SMoCA.org/reopening-guidelines.

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