Art and Electronic Media

June 3, 2009

Shanken maps the evolution of electronics within an art historical context.

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h2. By Edward A Shanken

Electronics have been an active component of the artist’s vocabulary for the past century with early practitioners such as le Corbusier, Edgard Varèse, Thomas Wilfred and John Cage. These pioneers of the genre not only pursued a technological future, but rejected conventional representation, in effect paving the way for conceptually-based art. Well-chosen for the task, Shanken clearly maps electronic media within an art historical context. The artists selected for the survey represent significant contributors without necessarily being the most well-known or commercially viable. The superstars include Olafur Eliasson, Dan Flavin, Jenny Holzer, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, James Turrell and Bill Viola. The essays are explorative and engaging. Shanken’s treatise is particularly so in that it locates the artistic engagement with technology while unfolding a more philosophical post-Utopian relationship between scientist and artist. Michael Rees’ paper on ‘Rapid Prototyping and Art’ (1998) brings anecdotal support to Shanken’s argument with a surprisingly light touch.

Author: Edward A Shanken
Publisher: Phaidon
Distributor: Bookwise International
RRP: $140

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