The latest addition to the blossoming pool of online exhibition platforms, Paddle8 functions as a membership-based website facilitating art collection of the most relevant and contemporary artists. With each exhibition, eight art world heavy-hitters rotate in, commenting on their favorite works from the online show and their relationship to art in general. To launch the site, Glenn O’Brien curated Wit, which includes artists Richard Prince, Marilyn Minter, Laurie Simmons and Jonathan Horowitz, to name but a few. Engaging with the theme of wit in each artist’s work, the online space is distinctively different than the sacred space of the white cube or museum. Visitors view the works sequentially, an experience akin to the flipping through a book. While some images satisfy the computer screen, many incite the desire to interact with the texture or surface of the work, to delve deeper into its meaning. For Glenn, however, curation wasn’t influenced by the virtual space, “It didn’t really turn out much differently from an exhibition appearing in a conventional context, except that some artists I spoke to felt that they should have offered something in a digital context, but for one reason or another this didn’t happen.”
A number of the works communicate the kind of humor that can elicit a laugh while others stir a disturbing feeling, reflecting a sinister comedy. Notably Wes Lang’s drawing, in which the Grim Reaper is centrally located above the words “It’s Good to Have Options,” carries that dark sense of mortality with a zinger. McDermott & McGough’s Off the End of It (pictured above), like much of the pair’s signature work, mines old Hollywood films, evoking the constructed and manipulated imagery from a genre that seeks to provoke emotion. As a still image, however, these lush signifiers appear slightly ludicrous. Commenting on Wit are Andy Spade, Kim Hastreiter, Bill Powers, Rachel Greene, Adam Lindermann, Michael Zilkha, Stuart Parr and Thea Westreich.