What sorts of paintings will be hanging in the museums of the future?
Agnieszka Pilat is betting that we’ll be looking at what she calls “heroic portraits of machines”—fine-art renderings of the technology that freed the modern world from the bone- and soul-crushing labor that our parents and grandparents endured.
Pilat’s paintings—especially ones featuring Spot, Boston Dynamics‘ robot dog—are sought after by Silicon Valley collectors drawn to her valorization of technology, a welcome alternative to the traditional demonization by artists of the man-made world.
Her work is rich in callbacks to artists ranging from Leonardo da Vinci to Marcel Duchamp to Andy Warhol, and she incorporates augmented reality to further highlight how technology shapes our perceptions. A sure sign of success: One of her paintings appeared in The Matrix sequel released last year as a representation of future art.
Born in Poland in 1973, Pilat remembers life under communism as an extended period of conformity and repression that ended almost immediately after the communist regime collapsed in 1989. She talks about how her father, finally able to operate his own shop, stopped drinking and built a prosperous bakery business.
Pilat immigrated to the United States in the early 2000s. Landing in San Francisco, she encountered amazingly wealthy tech workers espousing the same collectivist ideas that had made her childhood so miserable. “I was just really shocked,” she tells Reason. “I didn’t realize that people still think that communism or socialism is a good idea. Moral outrage was growing within me and also a feeling that I need to protect America by telling people what it really means.”
Shortly after arriving in the States, Pilat stumbled across the work of another Eastern European immigrant: Ayn Rand. Though she didn’t become an Objectivist, Pilat responded viscerally to Rand’s insistence that “you have a right and a moral obligation to yourself to have a purpose and work towards the purpose as hard as you can.”
As her work gains stature, Pilat is moving on to a new frontier, if not quite the final one: She’s an artist in residence at Elon Musk’s SpaceX, where she is looking forward to possibly producing “superheroic portraits” of machines in zero gravity.
I talked with her in her New York studio about being upstaged by a robot dog, why she wants everyone to remember what communism was really like, and how to best appreciate—and protect—the economic and cultural freedom we too often take for granted.
The post Agnieszka Pilat: ‘I Didn’t Realize People Still Think Socialism Is a Good Idea.’ appeared first on Reason.com.
Founded in 1968, Reason is the magazine of free minds and free markets. We produce hard-hitting independent journalism on civil liberties, politics, technology, culture, policy, and commerce. Reason exists outside of the left/right echo chamber. Our goal is to deliver fresh, unbiased information and insights to our readers, viewers, and listeners every day. Visit https://reason.com
This post has been republished with implied permission from a publicly-available RSS feed found on Reason. The views expressed by the original author(s) do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Libertarian Hub, its owners or administrators. Any images included in the original article belong to and are the sole responsibility of the original author/website. The Libertarian Hub makes no claims of ownership of any imported photos/images and shall not be held liable for any unintended copyright infringement. Submit a DCMA takedown request.