Congratulations to Mathieu Copeland on his eagerly-anticipated book which brings together all published writings of conceptual artist Gustav Metzger. Totalling nearly 700 pages and including some 350 texts this important book gives a great advantage to historians to have everything in one place, as well as a wonderful introduction to a new audience who have yet to discover this artist. Metzger invented Auto-Destructive Art and was a pioneer of computer art; he was among the first artists in Britain to consider the possible creative use of computing technologies at the same time as warning of its potential dangers. The Need for Art to Change the World – An International Symposium on Gustav Metzger, convened by Copeland took place at Zurich University of the Arts this month. I was honoured to attend, see my lecture Shouldering the Tasks of the Century.
This July the Computer Arts Society is celebrating the 50th anniversary of EVENT ONE, their first exhibition as a fledgling group, held at the Royal College of Art in 1969.
An exhibition of historical and contemporary digital art and a programme of events will be at the RCA from 12-17 July, travelling to Leicester from 22 July. I will be presenting a paper at the symposium on the evening of Tuesday 16 July at the RCA, do come along and hear about the origins of the Computer Arts Society and the continuing legacy of the EVENT ONE show which featured artists such as Gustav Metzger, Alan Sutcliffe and many others.
Very soon, artificial intelligence (AI) will probably be present in all aspects of our lives. The Barbican’s new exhibition (till 26 August) attempts to address the question “where do we end and where does it begin?” Read my review just published in Studio International.
If you are in the vicinity of Richmond upon Thames, West London this October, why not come to my lecture with the Richmond Art Society at the American International University on 31 October 2018. A Machine that Makes Art: from early computer drawing to the art of the iPad – the inspiration for this talk comes from the great conceptual artist Sol LeWitt’s statement, “The idea becomes a machine that makes the art” (1967).
Harold Cohen in his studio with his plotter, c. 1980s
Although LeWitt’s ‘machine’ was metaphorical rather than literal, nevertheless this radical concept raised questions about art process and creative behaviour and challenged the notion of what art was or could be.
Installation view of Chance and Control at the V&A, showing early and mid-period drawings by Harold Cohen
Read my review in Studio International of the new display of computer art at the Victoria & Albert Museum London – Chance and Control: Art in the age of Computers and learn of the remarkable diversity of the V&A’s collection and how it has grown from early beginnings in just ten years. Among many things of interest here are three fabulous works by Harold Cohen from his early, mid and later period. Exhibition on now until 18 November 2018.
The Open I have curated for Wells Maltings, in North Norfolk is now up and running. CONNECTION is the inaugural exhibition in the Handa Gallery and celebrates the quality and diversity of art in East Anglia today.
The Selection Team: Veronica Sekules, Tracey Ross, Catherine Mason
A call to artists with connections to East Anglia was made in October 2017, via an anonymous entry process. We were thrilled by the enthusiastic response, indicative of the large amount of talent in this region. A wide variety of styles, materials, methods and subject matter was immediately apparent as was the high standard of works submitted. From over 900 entries around 250 two-dimensional works of art were selected. The idea was based on a true Open, taking inspiration from the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, giving visitors an opportunity to view and purchase work by artists at every level of their career, from emerging talent to established figures. Come and see! Open every day from 10 to 6, until 30 September. Free entry.
Robert Mallary, QUAD III, laminated plywood, 1969 courtesy the Mayor Gallery
I was inspired by the above quote from American pioneer of computer arts, Robert Mallary (1917-1997), whose work will be on view in the show from 6 June, along with drawings by Vera Molnár and Waldemar Cordeiro. The fully illustrated catalogue can be purchased from the Gallery.
Fifty years on from Cybernetic Serendipity, the 1968 exhibition of computer art,Studio International remembers the impact and legacy of this seminal show. Read my article which looks at the history of the exhibition and how it has shaped digital art in the years since.