BarabasiLAB “BIG DATA (Networking the Artworld)”

Postmasters Gallery

poster for BarabasiLAB “BIG DATA (Networking the Artworld)”

This event has ended.

We are pleased to present a groundbreaking exhibition of BarabasiLAB led by Albert-László Barabási on networks and data as new realism.

BIG DATA (networking the artworld) focuses specifically on the art world power and influence structures and offers perhaps the most extensive data-driven critique of the contemporary art scene. The show brings together works is different media: paintings, 3D sculpture, digital prints and video which all built on the interplay of revealing and abstracting data.

Albert-László Barabási (@barabasi) is an artist and a professor of network science at Northeastern University and at Central European University. He leads the BarabasiLAB, a collective of scientists and artists whose visual work was recently the subject of retrospective exhibitions at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, and the Ludwig Museum in Budapest.

In the past few years Barabási and his team have brought the power of big data and network science to art, aiming to systematically unveil the totality of funding sources and personal influences that shape the whole art ecosystem and its underlying complexity. Artworks in the show are based on information extracted from the tax forms of the US organizations, distribution of over 3 trillion dollars in philanthropic donations, as well as massive number of data points about the exhibition history of half a million artists in galleries and museums worldwide. Works like the Art Network or the Art Board Network and maps of NFT universe trace the paths between macro and micro connections and effects within museums, galleries, non-profits, artists, businesses, and people of influence in each of these realms.


In this moment of collective migration into digital and virtual realms, data has become, in a very tangible sense, our new reality. Art cannot escape, ignore, or bypass data if it wishes to remain relevant to the post-visual processes that shape our society.

Artists with a Big Data practice can bring to light the unseeable beneath, capturing the fabric of associations and chains of actions between people, environments, events, and things that govern our world.

Dataism goes beyond mimesis by accurately rendering dimensions of reality that lie underneath its visible surface. Realism or naturalism is art’s attempt to represent subject matter truthfully. Yet realism, being retinally governed, is exclusively focused on depicting the visible. In contrast, dataism captures a reality that transcends (or underlies) physicality. It documents, like an X-ray of sorts, invisible but objective societal processes, connections, associations, affiliations, correlations, causes, and consequences, aspects of reality that are simply not accessible to retinal art.

If Leonardo were with us today, the same instincts and curiosity that drove him to anatomy would inevitably turn him into a dataist. Indeed, the hidden architectures that shape the visible today no longer consist of muscles and nerves, but of data and networks.

[excerpts from “Dataism and Our Postvisual Reality” by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, 2021]

“Albert-László Barabási’s work transcends established systems of thought and continues the legacy of Hungarian artists and art theorist György Kepes, who said that we have “to go beyond the fear of pulling knowledge.” Barabási fosters new alliances of multiple forms of knowledge. His research functions as an active laboratory and is a quest for something we do not know yet. By bringing his extraordinary work into the world of museums, Barabasi multiplies the number of worlds inside the museum.”
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Artistic Director, Serpentine

“Understanding the hidden structures that inform and govern all aspects of life - from the most natural to the most artificially constructed - has at last become not only an aspiration, but a necessity for all conscious citizens.
Albert-László Barabási’s unique ability to reveal the systemic nature of reality introduces the world to a new and important language that we have to learn in order to build a better future for all species.”
Paola Antonelli
Senior Curator, Architecture & Design, and Director, R&D, the Museum of Modern Art



from September 24, 2022 to October 29, 2022

Opening Reception on 2022-09-24 from 17:00 to 20:00



  • Facebook


    All content on this site is © their respective owner(s).
    New York Art Beat (2008) - About - Contact - Privacy - Terms of Use