David Kennedy Cutler: Force Quit

David Kennedy Cutler, Second Self, 2015-2016. Inkjet on PETG and fabric, velcro, zipper, rubber. Courtesy the artist.


Oct 8, 2016–Oct 30, 2016
Force Quit
David Kennedy Cutler
Oct 7, 2016
Force Quit
Exhibition Opening
New Commissions

David Kennedy Cutler: Force Quit

David Kennedy Cutler
Curated by Kristen Chappa

Opening Reception:
Friday, October 7, 6–8pm

October 8– 30, 2016

ARS Projektiruum (Map)
Pärnu mnt 154, Tallinn 11317
+372-5645-5459 — Estonia

Press Release: Download PDF

Art in General in partnership with Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia

Art in General presents two solo exhibitions of newly commissioned work by David Kennedy Cutler and Juntae Teejay Hwang in partnership with Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia in Tallinn, Estonia (www.cca.ee). Both artists investigate issues of identity from personal perspectives and larger cultural trends, as mediated by contemporary digital culture. This project is generously supported by the Trust for Mutual Understanding and the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation as part of Art in General’s International Collaborations program.

David Kennedy Cutler’s forthcoming installation and performance investigates two motifs—the body and the tool—as instruments of labor, and as forms through which to consider the capabilities of the self. Cutler employs his own physicality as artistic material, alongside ubiquitous personal items such as clothing, food, and other possessions that are used in close relationship to the body. Handheld scanners and software applications are utilized to reproduce and manipulate these objects in an uncanny, trompe l’oeil aesthetic that communicates the tension and ever-increasing hybridity between physical and digital space. Hovering between photography and sculpture, these artworks become hyper-representations of Cutler’s daily interface with the world.

The artist’s own likeness appears prominently; in video and performance, Cutler attempts laborious and futile tasks in a skin suit that mimics the mediated remove of his sculptural objects, serving as a type of tangible avatar. The doubling costume also transforms Cutler into a caricature of himself as “the artist.” Inside, he enacts Sisyphean efforts in frustrated cycles; attempts to catch bread while blinded or upright a soft-stuffed dummy speak to the difficulty of maintaining self-dignity as both artist and laborer in a time of socio-economic duress. Using himself as a case study, Cutler is furthermore interested in the tendency toward isolation and self-obsession in contemporary digital culture, as highly influenced by new technologies.

The image of a rudimentary, homemade hammer is also a central feature of the project; this object acts as an extension of Cutler’s body and his position as both artist and art handler—suggestive of complex class-based associations. The hammer’s proliferation in a repeat pattern creates an immersive environment that references common tiling tools and outmoded websites, as well as the easy reproducibility of both digital images and industrially-produced products. The somewhat horrific number of reoccurrences furthermore speaks to our contemporary condition characterized by incessant labor, while serving as a record of his own accumulated effort.

Within our hyper-capitalist era, our labor defines us, and arguably limits us. Often, the only conceivable expression of the self is how we depict ourselves with online images, or through the work that we have done. The title of this exhibition references the operation of shutting down an application or computer when unresponsive, bridging ideas around labor and image as representations of the self, while suggesting a potential escape from normative conditions of constant production. More than mere critique, Force Quit aims to convey how present-day capitalism feels and impacts those caught in its unrelenting systems. Here, the project is aptly presented within a former studio space and factory owned by the Estonian Artists’ Association—as such, it points to a broader discussion about labor that can have flexible meanings in varying contexts with different historical and political resonances.

David Kennedy Cutler is a Brooklyn-based artist born in Sandgate, Vermont. His solo exhibitions include Derek Eller Gallery, NY (2009, 2012) and Nice & Fit, Berlin (2004, 2006). Cutler’s work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions, including Low, Lyles & King, NY (2016); Pure Pulp, Wellin Museum at Hamilton College, Clinton and The Dedalus Foundation, Brooklyn (2016); Beyond the Surface: Image as Object, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Philadelphia (2015), and Eric’s Trip, Lisa Cooley Gallery, New York (2014). Cutler has been awarded a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Artist Residency (2012-2013), the SIP Fellowship from Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop (2012), a Workspace Residency with Dieu Donné (2010), an Award for Artists from Printed Matter (2012), and an Emergency Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2008). His work has been featured in publications including Artforum, Art in America, Flash Art, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Modern Painters, and The Washington Post. Cutler received his B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Press contact: Lindsey Berfond

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Art in General was founded in 1981 and supports the production of new work by local and international artists primarily through its New Commissions Program and its International Collaborations program. Art in General also produces an annual symposium What Now? on critical and timely issues in artistic and curatorial practice.

General Support of Art in General is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Toby D. Lewis Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

The New Commissions Program is made possible by the Trust for Mutual Understanding; National Endowment for the Arts; Jerome Foundation; Ruth Ivor Foundation; The Greenwich Collection; and the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation. Support has also been provided by: Commissioners’ Circle leaders Elaine Goldman, Jeffery Larsen and Joseph Bolduc; Commissioners’ Circle supporters Richard Massey, and David Solo; and Commissioners’ Circle members Nader Ansary, Rob Colangelo, Don Erenberg, Taymour Grahne, Roya Khadjavi-Heidari, Mary Lapides, Leslie Ruff, and Diana Wege.


  • Art in General presents two solo exhibitions of newly commissioned work by David Kennedy Cutler and Juntae Teejay Hwang in partnership with the Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia in Tallinn, Estonia.
    Exhibition: October 8–30, 2016
    Press Release:
    Download PDF