Looking Back to the Future

Apr 13, 2011   //   by Boston Cyberarts   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Looking Back to the Future

The Boston Cyberarts Festival has always tried to include the history of new media in it’s programming. While the goal of the Festival is to present the most cutting edge art of the day, it is important in any art form to also discuss the innovators who came before. Four exhibitions this year look back and examine art and artists who made significant advances in new media.

At the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Drawing from Code: Works from the Collection of Anne and Michael Spalter, is an exhibition of the earliest computer-generated art by the form’s most important practitioners from the 1950s to today. The Providence-based collection of Anne and Michael Spalter is one of the largest and most important of its kind in the U.S. and shines a new light onto a darkened corner of the art historical record. In addition to the prints, mostly plotter drawings, are early computer animations made by artists, Stan Van Der Beek and Lillian Schwartz at Bell Labs in the late 1960s. Up through April 24.

As part of a joint exhibition kinetic sculpture at the Axiom Center for New and Experimental Media and the MIT Museum, the MIT Museum is showing two of the most important works of early kinetic sculpture from their collection. “Cybernetic Sculpture #301” by Wen Ying Tsai

(1970) and “Electro-Magnetic I” by Greek artist, Takis (1962) are two works by early masters of sculpture that incorporate motion. Open through the entire Festival.

Video art was the first form of new media and artists in the U. S. and Germany were the first to embrace this early technological art form. MIT’s List Visual Arts Center presents the first United States museum survey of the work of Chilean-born video artist Juan Downey (1940-1993). Juan Downey: The Invisible Architect will feature a selection of key works by this under-recognized pioneer of video art. Downey, who came to New York from Chili in 1965, was one of the masters of early video art. He mixed autobiographical and anthropological elements to make densely layered works that examined his own multi-cultural background. Opens May 5.

The Goethe Institut’s RECORD > AGAIN! – 40yearsvideoart.de – Part 2 concentrates on early German video art, including several rarely seen, re-discovered works. The Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe has put together this fascinating compilation of early work.  The Goethe Institut will present an evening of works curated experts in the Boston area with discussion of the importance of this art form. Part 1 of this series was featured at the Goethe Institut for the 2007 Boston Cyberarts Festival. Thursday April 28, 5-9pm.

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