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Janeites Unite

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Inquiring Minds

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Video Gets Real

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Entertainment Asylum

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Terminal Care

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For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.
January 22, 1998

Alternating Currents Alternating Currents: American Art in the Age of Technology, a collaboration between the Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Jose Museum of Art that is currently on exhibit in San Jose, represents "a unique opportunity to survey the impact of technology on the artistic currents of our time." For those unable to make it to San Jose in person, the online exhibit is well worth a visit.

Alternating Currents presents thirty-two artists, active during the past thirty years, who have situated themselves at the juncture between art and technology. Three exhibitions -- "Industry and Consequence," "Challenging Perceptions," and "Message and Narrative" -- showcase forty-two works of art, ranging from traditional oil paintings of digital images to intricate mergings of modern technologies. "How do I paint a painting," the artist Robert Irwin asks in the caption accompanying his exhibited work, "that does not begin and end at an edge, but rather starts to take in and become involved with the space or environment around it?" Irwin ArtworkHe finds one solution in acrylic, aluminum, and electric lights -- an untitled construction irrevocably concrete that nevertheless seems to hover in mid-air like a glowing orb. Explorations of light, space, digital media, and mechanical components abound on this site; the result is thought-provoking and informative. As in any good museum exhibit, explanatory texts accompany each work, and visitors can opt for the aid of a tour guide in the form of a RealAudio voice offering facts, context, and analysis.

Artists have never before had so many different media available to them, and technological innovation, evolving at mind-numbing speed, easily defies reflection. Alternating Currents makes clear that rumination on the creative process in our high-tech age is just as important as the restless surge toward the next technology. In fact, we're reminded that the two -- artistic creativity and technological innovation -- are deeply and closely connected.

Copyright © 1998 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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