David Horvitz

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David Horvitz
David Horvitz.jpg
Horvitz, circa 2013
Born David Horvitz
Los Angeles, California, USA[1][2]
Nationality American
Education Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, University of California Riverside, Waseda University[2]
Known for Mail art, photography

David Horvitz is an American artist who uses art books, photography, performance art, and mail art as mediums for his work. He is known for his work in the virtual sphere.[3]

Personal life and education[edit]

Horvitz was born and grew up in Los Angeles, California.[1] In 2002 he graduated from Waseda University in Tokyo with a B.A.; in 2004, received a second B.A. from the University of California-Riverside; and in 2010 received an M.F.A. from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts of Bard College.[2]


Horvitz uses art books, photography, performance art, watercolor, and mail art as mediums for his work.[4][5][6]

The 1970s conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader has been an important influence on Horvitz's art.[7] Horvitz's movie “Rarely Seen Bas Jan Ader Film”,[8] for example, shows a silent black and white clip a few seconds long of a man riding a bicycle into the sea. This evokes the imagery of Ader's works around the theme of falling and the myth surrounding Ader's disappearance at sea.[9] Horvitz's book “Sad, Depressed People” relates back to Ader's movie “I'm too sad to tell you” in that all of the stock images Horvitz collected show people with their heads in their hands, as does Ader.[10]

In 2009, Horvitz started the “241543903/Head-in-a-Freezer” meme. People were encouraged to take a picture of their heads in a freezer and upload the image with the tag “241543903”. That way everyone could see each other's images by Googling “241543903”. The meme first gained popularity on Orkut, Google's social network in Brazil. Horvitz spread the word by sending 100 fliers to a friend in Brazil who handed them out to random young people. It is a rare case where an internet meme was spread through IRL means.[11][12]

In 2013, he created The Distance of a Day (two digital videos, 12 minutes each), an installation showing sunset and sunrise from opposite points on the globe, near Los Angeles and in the Maldives respectively, recorded at the same moment. The sunset and sunrise were shown side by side on the actual phones (two iPhones) that recorded the scenes. The installation was exhibited at the Art Basel fair in June 2013.[1][13][14][15] On July 18, 2013, as part of an online one-day project named Artist Breakfast, he "invited artists all over the world to share photos and short descriptions of their morning meals with online audiences throughout the day."[16][17]

Horvitz's Gnomons was exhibited at the New Museum in 2014, featuring four works based on the concept of time. The final work was a performance piece titled Let us Keep our Own Noon, where volunteers rang brass bells in the streets around the museum at solar noon and then walked away from each other until they could not hear other bells.[18][19][20]

His work also includes "A Wikipedia Reader", a mind map of artists' browsing of Wikipedia.

His work Public Access (2010) includes photographs of himself at various public beaches in California which were uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons and then inserted into the Wikipedia pages, and the subsequent reaction of the Commons and Wikipedia communities to his actions. These actions included criticism of the quality and artistry of the images, suspicion of the uploader's motives, and deletion of most of the images and/or removal of himself from the images. Public Access is "the piece for which he is most well known"[21] and is one of his projects which existed "only for a short time."[22] Before all items were deleted however, Horvitz printed them out, bound them and covertly implanted the bound books in the history sections of local libraries along the California Coast.[23]

In 2014, his "somewhere in between the jurisdiction of time" was displayed at Blum & Poe, featuring water collected from the Pacific Ocean between the Pacific and Alaska Time Zones kept in handmade glass bottles and shown in a straight North/South line. Andrew Berardini described the work as creating "some weird uncrossable divide...The mere suggestion of a demarcation forces our moves".[24]

His published work includes: Xiu Xiu: The Polaroid Project (2007), Everything that can happen in a day (2010), and Sad, Depressed, People (2012).

He has exhibited at SF Camerawork, the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, and Tate Modern.[25][26][27][28]


  1. ^ a b c Gopnik, Blake (17 June 2013). "A Gift to Galileo, The Daily Pic: David Horvitz shows sunset and sunrise from opposite points on the globe". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c David Horvitz Bio CHERT Gallery Berlin
  3. ^ Mason, Rachel (7 July 2014). "Cloud Galleries: The Rise of the Virtual Art Establishment". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "David Horvitz CV". Gallery West. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  5. ^ David Horvitz bio, Foam Magazine
  6. ^ VanReece, Nancy (September 1, 2008). "Venture off the path in September". Out & About Nashville. Retrieved 30 July 2014. "...along with the work of Grant Worth and David Horvitz, two contemporary photographers based out of New York City." 
  7. ^ July 16, 2009  (2009-07-16). "Los Angeles Times". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  8. ^ [This video was originally uploaded anonymously to YouTube but then removed as a hoax, since it was not by Bas Jan Ader]
  9. ^ Sarah-Neel Smith “David Horvitz in Chinatown”, Artslant Los Angeles, 27 July 2009
  10. ^ Rachel Peddersen “In conversation with David Horvitz”, Andreview, Fall & Winter 2013
  11. ^ Jay Hathaway, “241543903 - The Story Behind the 'Head-in-a-Freezer' Image Meme”, Urlesque 31 December 2010
  12. ^ Roffino, Sara. "EMERGING: David Horvitz's Multiversed, Multimedia and Oft-Absurdist Art VIDEO". BlouinArtInfo. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  13. ^ Lehtinen, Suvi (12 July 2013). "Local Colour?". Artfetch. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  14. ^ Rosenmeyer, Aoife (June 13, 2013). "Art Basel, Basel, June 13–16, 2013". Art Agenda. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  15. ^ "Art Basel - Basel - June 13-16 2013 - Floorplan". Art Basel. 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014. ; "ARTBASEL2013_MEG_13_070_Chert". Art Basel. 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  16. ^ Cascone, Sarah (18 July 2013). "The Art World Eats Breakfast All Day Long". Art in America. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  17. ^ Staff, Harriet (16 July 2013). "David Horvitz Would Like to Invite You to Breakfast". Poetry News. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  18. ^ Lohr, Nikki (27 June 2014). "In Search of New Time: David Horvitz at the New Museum". Gallerist. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  19. ^ Smith, Roberta (22 May 2014). "Sounds of all but Silence". New York Times. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  20. ^ "David Horvitz: Gnomons". New Museum. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  21. ^ Sara Roffino “EMERGING: David Horvitz's Multiversed, Multimedia and Oft-Absurdist Art [VIDEO]” Blouin ArtInfo, 5 August 2013
  22. ^ Fabricius, Jacob (April–May 2013). "What color is your parachute, David Horvitz?". Mousse Magazine (in English and Italian) (Milan) (38): 168–171. 
  23. ^ Nathaniel Vonk, “Review: Requiem for the Bibliophile at MCASB: Mourning the Loss of Books, One Art Installation at a Time”, Santa Barbara Independent, 17 September 2014
  24. ^ Andrew Berardini (2014-07-29). "David Horvitz". Art Agenda. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  25. ^ "As Yet Untitled: Artists and Writers in Collaboration". SF Camerawork. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  26. ^ "Artist Breakfast". MoMA. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  27. ^ Tan, Lumi. "Free". Frieze. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  28. ^ "Rhizome at No Soul for Sale and David Horvitz's Mail Nothing to the Tate Modern". Rhizome.org. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 

Further reading[edit]