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Matthew Ritchie in "Structures"

“All anyone is trying to do is try out some new ideas,” says Matthew Ritchie in describing the project of modern art. Ambitious certainly describes Ritchie’s work, which seeks to picture the known universe.

In The Universal Cell, Ritchie uses computers and metal cutting equipment to transform drawings into sculpture. “If the universe is a prison, this is your cell…and you drag it with you everywhere you go.”

In another show, Proposition Player, Ritchie creates a series of games to explore the continuum of risk, possibility, and universal connection. Ritchie reflects on how humans filter out information in order to go about their lives. “Can we turn the volume up just a little bit more?” he asks.

More information and credits


Created by: Susan Sollins & Susan Dowling. Executive Producer & Curator: Susan Sollins. Series Producer: Eve-Laure Moros Ortega. Associate Producer: Migs Wright. Assistant Curator: Wesley Miller. Production Manager: Alice Bertoni. Production Coordinator: Kelly Shindler. Producer: Catherine Tatge. Editor: Steven Wechsler. Host: Sam Waterston. Director of Photography: Kurt Branstetter, Terry Doe, Bob Elfstrom, Clas Hakeröd, Mead Hunt, Matz Jansson, Rodrigo Menck, James Reid, & Joel Shapiro. Sound: Abrão Cesar, Danny Clayton, Ray Day, Ron Garson, Judy Karp, Matti Karlsson, Mark Mandler, J.T. Takagi, & Merce Williams. Steadicam: John Ford. Gaffer: Lamar Bloodworth. Assistant Camera: Craig Feldman, Brian Hwang, Kipjaz Savoie, & Trent Wittenbach. Production Assistant: Rob Cauble, Erica Gannett, Justin Leitstein, & Mary Jo Mauro. Assistant Avid Editor: Robert Achs, Jamie Courville, Sean Frechette, Mike Heffron, David Kreger, Cara Leroy O’Connell, Joaquin Perez, Aaron Sheddrick, & Lynn True. Still Photographers: Alice Bertoni & Bob Elfstrom.

Creative Consultant: Ed Sherin. Art Design & Animation: Open, New York. On-Line Editor: Don Wyllie & Frame:Runner NYC. Composer: Peter Foley. Voice-Over Artist: Jace Alexander. Sound Editing: Margaret Crimmins, Greg Smith, & Dog Bark Sound. Sound Mix: Tony Volante & Sound Lounge. Animation Stand: Frank Ferrigno & Frame:Runner NYC. Introductory Host Segments Created by: INTERspectacular. Commissioned Video Art by: Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler.

Artworks Courtesy of: Roni Horn; Matthew Ritchie; Richard Tuttle; Fred Wilson; The Drawing Center, New York; Crown Point Press, San Francisco; Matthew Marks Gallery, New York; Metro Pictures, New York; Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; PaceWildenstein, New York; & Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York.

Special Thanks: Mariana Valdrighi Amaral; The Art21 Board of Trustees; The Art Institute of Chicago; Margrét Blöndal; Charlotte Burns; Jordan Bastien; Jim Caffrey; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Curious Pictures; Victoria Cuthbert; Ali Evans; Andrea Hall; R.S. Hahn; Hauser & Wirth Gallery, London; Garland Hunter; Petra Johansson; Jennifer Joy; Jeannie and Michael Klein; Sarah Kurz; John Landewe; MASS MoCA; The Museum of World Culture, Sweden; Neta Normo; Karen Polack; Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper; Larry Smallwood; XXVI São Paulo Bienal; Soundtrack F/T; The Studio Museum in Harlem; Tai Gallery, Santa Fe; Ttweak; University of Akureyri, Iceland; & Georgia Loy Weinberg.

Director of Education & Outreach: Jessica Hamlin. Director of Development: Kathi Pavlick. Development Associate: Sara Simonson.

Interns: Susan Agliata, Nathan Townes-Anderson, Hannah Blumenthal, Agnes Bolt, Lisa Charde, Mary Chou, Kate Crawford, Amanda Donnan, Sophie Dunoyer de Segonzac, Suzy Foster, Jules Gaffney, Katie Hen, Heather Hughes, Adam Krakowski, Georgia Kung, David Mark Kupperberg, Maiko Kyogoku, Phil Logan, Lisa Margulies, Michelle Maydanchik, Carla Meyers, Christine Miller, Geoffrey Pan, Sujay Pandit, Jihan Robinson, Jennifer Sarkilahti, Megan Scally, Karen Seapker, Greg Shilling, Sarah Sliwa, Jennifer Smith, & Elizabeth Swift.

Public Relations: Kelly & Salerno Communications. Station Relations: De Shields Associates, Inc. Legal Counsel: Albert Gottesman. Bookkeeper: Marea Alverio-Chaveco & William Handy.

Major underwriting for Season 3 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation, Bagley Wright Fund Bloomberg, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Matthew Ritchie

Matthew Ritchie’s artistic mission has been no less ambitious than an attempt to represent the entire universe and the structures of knowledge and belief that we use to understand and visualize it. The artist’s paintings, installations, and narrative threads delineate the universe’s formation as well as the attempts and limits of human consciousness to comprehend its vastness. Although often described as a painter, Ritchie creates works on paper, prints, light-box drawings, floor-to-wall installations, freestanding sculpture, websites, and short stories, which tie his sprawling works together into a narrative structure.

“All anyone is trying to do is try out some new ideas.”

Matthew Ritchie

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Matthew Ritchie

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“Proposition Player”

Matthew Ritchie discusses his work’s relation to scientific processes, as well as the participatory nature of his 2003 project Proposition Player.

More from "Structures"

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