Gustav Metzger: Writings

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.

See also my article for Studio International published last month.

The American Scene forthcoming lecture in Kent

Very pleased to be visiting the
Westerham Fine Arts Society to give a lecture about early 20th Century art in America on Wednesday 6 November at 8pm. Visitors welcome @ £5.

Event Two at the Royal College of Art

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.

A Machine that Makes Art – lecture at the American International University, London

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 ar (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.

Start time 8pm. Open to non-members: £5.00

Showcase on TRT World

Thrilled to be a part of Showcase, the arts program on TRT World television on 14 November, with thanks to Belle Lupton.  Watch me again here, speaking about the effects of technology on art. 

Lecture – Computer art and the influence of D’Arcy Thompson

Come to my forthcoming lecture in Dundee –

‘A huge space of endless predetermined possibilities’: Computer art and the influence of D’Arcy Thompson

On 8 November 6pm, I’m thrilled to be going to the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum to talk about how the writing of code has been used to draw since digital computing technology became accessible to artists from the mid-1960s.  This year is the 100th anniversary of D’Arcy W Thompson’s book On Growth and Form (1917) which had a formative influence on the pioneers of algorithmic art.

William Latham muta6, 2014 (detail)

In this talk we will learn how complex and visually arresting imagery often comes from surprisingly simple sets of instructions. We will discover that the use of the computer offers ‘a huge space of endless predetermined possibilities.’ (William Latham, artist)

Co-organised with the Abertay Historical Society as part of NEoN Digital Arts Festival supported by Creative Scotland.  Book your ticket here

Forthcoming Lecture at Richmond Art Society

Jackson Pollock, Yellow Islands 1952, collection of Tate
Jackson Pollock, Yellow Islands 1952, collection of Tate

I will be giving a lecture on Jackson Pollock and Post-War American Art on Wednesday 30 September for the Richmond Art Society.  The venue is the American University in London, Queen’s Road, Richmond TW10 6JP (non-members are welcome: £5.00)  Hope to see you there!

 

Lecture : A Machine that Makes Art @ Richmond Art Society

On Wednesday 20th November, I’m giving a lecture at the Richmond Art Society:

(Guests are welcome, please see the website)

8pm @ Richmond The American International University in London
Queen’s Road, Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey, TW10 6JP

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). Although LeWitt’s ‘machine’ was metaphorical rather than literal, nevertheless this radical concept raised questions about the notion of art process and creative behavior and challenged the notion of what art was or could be.  To what extent does the hand of the artist need to be involved in the art-making? Artists such as David Hockney (on the iPad), Julian Opie, Jessica Steinkamp and others use computer code of simple instructions to generate complex and visually arresting art works.  So why, more than 40 years after Le Witt’s comment, is it still such a leap of faith for some in the mainstream art world to conceive of the involvement of a machine like a computer?  We will explore the use of computing and digital systems in art today.