Video: Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon

by Ken HarmanPosted on

JoAnne Northrup, Senior Curator at the San Jose Museum of Art, talks about artist Clayton Bailey, whose robot family in the SJMA Permanent Collection will be featured in the exhibition Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon. She talks about his influence on the exhibition and his popular robot sculptures.

For the exhibition Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon the San Jose Museum of Art created “Video Labels” for around the work of 6 artists. The artists are Clayton Bailey, Eric Joyner, Nemo Gould, Gail Wight, Lisa Solomon and David Pace. For each artist there is a “Curators Label”, where Senior Curator JoAnne Northrup speaks about the artist, and an “Artist Label”, where the artist talks about their work. Show runs April 12 – October 19, 2008.

Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon examines the development of robot iconography in fine art over the past 50 years. In 1920, the term robot was coined from a Czech word robota, which means tedious labor. Since then, the image and the idea of a robot have evolved remarkably from an awkward, mechanical creature to a sophisticated android with artificial intelligence and the potential for human-like consciousness. As robotic technology catches up with the wild imagination of science fiction novels, movies, and animation, dreams and fears anticipated in these stories may also become reality. Artists included in the exhibition have responded to the technological innovation with optimism, pessimism, and humor, presenting work that ultimately explores our ambivalent attitudes towards robots.

Other “robot” artists in this exhibit include Chris Cunningham, Feric, Amy Hicks, Chico MacMurtrie, Mars-1, Michael McMillen, Michael Mew, Nam June Paik, Alan Rath, Michael A. Salter, Jeff Soto, Jason Van Anden, H.C. Westermann, Kow Yokoyama, and Thomas Zummer. Event details.

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