Petra Cortright

The Passion Of Petra Cortright

Robert Urquhart, The Creators Project, October 22, 2013


“Californian-born Petra Cortright is becoming increasingly known in the art world for her webcam video performance work and digital paintings. Having developed a financial system of art worth based on YouTube hits by making haunting short films, she’s now throwing-up seeing her own work on TV…

During the brief few days that Frieze Art Fair appears in town it’s the best place in the world to find new contemporary art. Every global gallery of note has an exhibition stand and every deep pocketed collector comes to invest. To put it bluntly it’s an eager circus of horn- rimmed dealers, burgundy corduroy slacks and dishevelled jewels of old art money.

Fresh blood is poured in through Frieze Projects and Frieze Films, two self initiated offshoots from the fair that allow a sophisticated programme of talent that doesn’t require establishment networking to sustain interest. Talks and performances from singer and composer Meredith Monk sit alongside films commissioned by Frieze Film 2013 and EMPAC/Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

It’s here that Petra Cortright sits with her home spun glitchfully youthful selfies, presenting to the world an the image of a warped malfunctioning Martha Stewart.

Cortright is innovative not just in work but also in the business of getting digital work to pay.One of her earliest shows in L.A. brought the issue of what to charge for pieces that were online. Cortright came up with a great response “I said ‘I fucking hate this, I wish it could be 10c per Youtube viewer, the curator laughed and said he’d never heard of anyone doing that and so we did and still do, it works.”

Nothing of Cortright’s was for sale at Frieze. Instead she presented a project co – commissioned by Frieze Film 2013 and EMPAC. In doing this Frieze set Cortright’s first-ever residency. In fact she’d never even had a studio before, preferring to work from home or her parent’s garden in Santa Barbara.

The night before this interview Cortright’s piece for Frieze, entitled Bridal Shower, had featured on Channel 4, a national British TV station. The programme, called Random Acts, aired all four of the commissioned pieces for the fair.”

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