Friday, May 16, 2008

ROBOTS: Evolution of A Cultural Icon

Wow. I think 2008 really IS the Year of the Robot! JoAnne Northrup, senior curator at the San Jose Museum of Art, might agree with me, too. She curated the current exhibition at SJMA, entitled ROBOTS: Evolution of a Cultural Icon, which celebrates and examines the development of robot iconography in fine art over the past 50 years (A).

"Despite the exhibition’s seemingly lighthearted appearance, the artists demonstrate the serious implications posed by new technology and our physically disconnected contemporary lifestyle. Both nostalgic and futuristic, the exhibition provides visual reflection on the technological advancements that are fast becoming an essential part of our civilization." (B)

David Pace, Greg's Robot Collection, 1991, 80X80 inches

For those of us who don't live near San Jose, SJMA has done a wonderful job of making the exhibition accessible with a great selection of videos on their website. They've also created an exhibition tour that's available via iTunes. But what's really fun, too, is the Teacher Resource Book that they've created for classroom use. Although I'm not in grade school anymore, I downloaded this PDF and really enjoyed the stuff within it - including a picture of this amazing robot sculpture called Styrobot by artist Michael Salter. WOW. I would love to see this in person - simply stunning.

Michael Salter, Styrobot, site specific installation, 21 feet tall, styrofoam

Robot artists include: Clayton Bailey, Chris Cunningham, Dalek, Feric, Nemo Gould, Amy Hicks, Eric Joyner, Chico MacMurtrie, Mars-1, Michael C. McMillen, Michael Mew, David Pace, Nam June Paik, Alan Rath, Ed Ruscha, Michael Salter, Lisa Solomon, Jeff Soto, Jason Van Anden, H.C. Westermann, Gail Wight, Kow Yokoyama, and Thomas Zummer.

ROBOTS: Evolution of a Cultural Icon is showing now and continues through October 19, 2008.

(A) and (B) and all images taken from San Jose Museum of Art website.

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