Microscope Gallery: True Fairy Tales

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Microscope is very pleased to present True Fairy Tales, an online screening program of works in video, film, stop motion animation, 3D animation, AI, and augmented reality by Kenneth Anger, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Tomi Omololu-Lange, Jonas Mekas, Michelle Nguyen, Anne Spalter, Ziyang Wu, and Ezra Wube centered around the topic of fairytales.

The eight works in the program, which include and combine diaristic, personal, narrative, collage, computer and AI-generated approaches, are less concerned with reimagining or updating Western fairy tales, but in the use of the fairy tale form to reveal the biases within them, to reclaim lost or distorted history, and as a way to grapple with horrors and gross inequities of our times.

In these works spanning 20 years since the twin towers fell — as captured by Jonas Mekas from his Soho roof in his video work “Ein Märchen aus allen Zeiten” (A Fairy Tale From All Times) to Anne Spalter’s 2021 “Fantasy Castles” featuring AI-generated images of castles at a time when the US billionaires could give away $3,900 to every American from their gains amassed during the pandemic alone and still have profited from it — themes of erasure, feminism, racism, colonialism, power and greed feature prominently.

A live Q&A via chat with several of the artists will begin at 8:30pm ET on Monday March 8th.

A “Watch Now” link will appear on the event's page on Monday March 8th at 7pm ET. Passes for viewing give full access to the video program and live chat.

General admission $8 (Valid through Thursday March 11, 10:30pm PT)
Member admission $6 (Valid through Thursday March 11, 10:30pm PT)

Kenneth Anger (born Kenneth Wilbur Anglemeyer; February 3, 1927) is an American underground experimental filmmaker, actor and author. Working exclusively in short films, he has produced almost forty works since 1937, nine of which have been grouped together as the “Magick Lantern Cycle”, and form the basis of Anger’s reputation as one of the most influential independent filmmakers in cinema history. His films variously merge surrealism with homoeroticism and the occult, and have been described as containing “elements of erotica, documentary, psychodrama, and spectacle.”

Tessa Hughes-Freeland works in a variety of formats and mediums, and her films have been shown in diverse venues, ranging from internationally prominent museums to seedy bars in gritty neighborhoods. Her work is best described as “confrontational, transgressive, provocative and poetic”. Her films have screened internationally in North America, Europe and Australia and in prominent museums and galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and the KW Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin. In 2018 a program of her films was included in the “No–Wave, Transgression” Film Series at MoMA. Hughes-Freeland lives and works in New York.

Tomi Omololu-Lange is a visual artist, based in New York City. Her work explores cultural identity and our understanding of the world through fairy tales, legends, and folklore. These themes are expressed through a number of platforms, including augmented reality, GIFs, audio, video and cinemagraphs.

Jonas Mekas (1922, Semeniškiai, Lithuania – 2019, Brooklyn, NY) Mekas was brought to the US along with his brother Adolfas in 1949 by the UN Refugee Organization. Within weeks, Mekas borrowed money to buy his first Bolex camera and began to record brief moments of his life. Today Mekas is considered among the most influential makers of avant-garde film and a master of the diaristic form.

Michelle Nguyen is an experimental multimedia artist based in NYC. In her work, she explores the darker themes of what we see in films, commercials, and childhood movies. She montages audio and imagery to manipulate their pre-existing narratives to tell a humorous but dark subplot. Through her video based installations, Michelle combines fantasy and play to create an environment that is enticing yet eerie and ominous.

Digital mixed-media artist Anne Spalter is an academic pioneer who founded the original digital fine arts programs at Brown University and The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the 1990s and authored the internationally taught textbook, “The Computer in the Visual Arts” (Addison-Wesley, 1999). Her artistic process combines a consistent set of personal symbols with a hybrid arsenal of traditional mark-making methods and innovative digital tools. A new body of work, further developed at a Winter 2019 residency at MASS MoCA, combines artificial intelligence algorithms with oil paint and pastels. She is currently creating work for the blockchain. Spalter is also noted for her large-scale public projects. MTA Arts commissioned Spalter to create a 52-screen digital art installation, New York Dreaming, which remained on view in one of its most crowded commuter hubs (Fulton Center) for just under a year. Spalter’s 2019 large-scale projects included a 47,000 square foot LED video work on the Hong Kong harbor. Spalter’s work is in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK); the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY); the Rhode Island School of Design Museum (Providence, RI); The Museum of CryptoArt, and others. Alongside her studio practice, Spalter continues to lecture on digital art practice and theory.

Ziyang Wu (b.1990, Xuzhou, China) is an artist based in New York with an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a BFA from the Florence Academy of Fine Arts. His animated video, AR, AI simulation and video installation have exhibited internationally including solo exhibitions at Annka Kultys Gallery, London; Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York; Hatch Art Project, Singapore and CO2 Gallery, Florence, and group exhibitions at Medici Palace, Florence; Milan Design Week, Milan; Today Art Museum, Beijing; Times Art Museum, Beijing; Artron Art Center, Shenzhen; Powerlong Museum, Shanghai; Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Philadelphia; Rochester Art Center, Rochester; Cohen Gallery at Brown University, Providence; Eli Klein Gallery, New York and Microscope Gallery, New York. His recent fellowships and residencies include MacDowell; Residency Unlimited; Institute for Electronic Arts, Alfred University; Art(ists) and on the Verge Fellowship by Northern Lights.mn. He is a current member of NEW INC, an art & technology incubator founded by the New Museum.

Ezra Wube (b. 1980, Ethiopia) is a mixed media artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His work references the notion of past and present, the constant changing of place, and the dialogical tensions between “here” and “there”. His exhibitions include Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, the 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil, Brazil; The 2nd edition of the Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans, France; “Gwangju Biennale”, Gwangju, South Korea; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, Art in General, kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga, Latvia; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; “Dak’Art Biennale”, Dakar, Senegal and Time Square Arts Midnight Moment, NY. His residencies, commissions and awards include Smack Mellon Studio Program, Brooklyn, NY; Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY; Work Space, LMCC Residency Program, New York, NY; Open Sessions Program, The Drawing Center, New York, NY; The Africa Center, NY; The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NY; Museum of the Moving Images, Queens, NY; Rema Hort Mann Foundation; the Triangle Arts Association Residency, Brooklyn, NY and The Substation Artist Residency Program, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Monday, March 8, 2021 - 19:30



Monday, March 8, 2021 - 19:30