The Museum der Moderne Salzburg mounts the first comprehensive survey of E.A.T. – Experiments in Art and Technology, a loose association of artists and engineers whose groundbreaking projects made history in the 1960s and 1970s. Artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman teamed up with Billy Klüver, a visionary technologist at Bell Telephone Laboratories, and his colleague Fred Waldhauer to launch a groundbreaking initiative that would realize works of art in an unprecedented collaborative effort. In light of the rapid technological developments of the period, the group aimed to put an art into practice that would employ cutting-edge technology. Members of E.A.T. hoped that the meeting between artists and engineers would allow for the production of works that would not have been possible without the special expertise of trained technologists. The engineers would conversely be inspired to think in new directions and help shape the future evolution of technology.
The exhibition offers the first in-depth consideration of the full spectrum of the group’s activities and projects. In addition to numerous works of art, the chronologically structured show also presents a wealth of previously unpublished archival materials. The first section features early collaborations in the early 1960s, when Klüver provided technical assistance to artists including Jean Tinguely, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Yvonne Rainer. Highlights in this section are Tinguely’s Homage to New York (1960), kinetic works by Rauschenberg, a laser installation by Whitman, and the performance series 5 New York Evenings (Stockholm, 1964). Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds (1966) is presented in a separate gallery. A large section is dedicated to 9 Evenings: Theater & Engineering, a key event in the history of E.A.T. that took place at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York in 1966. More than 30 engineers collaborated individually with artists including Rauschenberg, Whitman, Deborah Hay, Alex Hay, Steve Paxton, David Tudor, Lucinda Childs, John Cage, Rainer, and Öyvind Fahlström to produce new large-scale works. A special section explores the consolidation of E.A.T. Also on display will be some of the art shown in two landmark exhibitions in 1968 in New York after E.A.T. held a competition: The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age at the Museum of Modern Art and in Some More Beginnings: Experiments in Art and Technology at the Brooklyn Museum. The show will also highlight one of E.A.T.’s most spectacular projects, the Pepsi Pavilion for the Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan. 63 artists, engineers, and scientists contributed to the exterior and interior designs for the pavilion, among them Robert Breer with his kinetic sculptures, Floats. Another section will survey a less known aspect of E.A.T.’s history: “Projects Outside Art” (1970–71), in which the artists extended their activities by addressing various social issues, ARTCASH (1971), and the New York Collection for Stockholm portfolio.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Museum der Moderne Salzburg will publish an extensive catalogue edited and introduced by Sabine Breitwieser with essays by Kathy Battista, Simone Forti, Billy Klüver, Michelle Kuo, Catherine Morris, Zabet Patterson, and John Tain.
On July 26, 2015, the Museum der Moderne Salzburg will host the international symposium “The Story of E.A.T..” Click here for further information.
Exhibition Concept and Project Director: Sabine Breitwieser
Advisory Board: Michelle Kuo, Julie Martin, Catherine Morris
Guest Curator: Kathy Battista
Curatorial Assistant: Christina Penetsdorfer