Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot

Paik sitting in TV Chair (1968/1976) in Nam June Paik Werke, 1946-1976: Music, Fluxus, Video, 1976 . Photo: © Friedrich Rosenstiel, Cologne

THIS IS THE first major institutional exhibition of Nam June Paik’s work in New York in more than a decade. The exhibition explores the artist’s visionary use of new technologies, and the lasting impact his singular contributions have had on the development and appreciation of new media art. Explored is Paik’s lifelong interest in humanising technology and his prescient view of how technological innovations would become an integral aspect of our daily lives.

Known as the ‘father of video art’, Paik envisioned the possibilities of an Internet-like network and coined the term ‘electronic superhighway’ in 1974. Three area’s of the artists life are under consideration: Nam June Paik’s artistic and working methods (with an emphasis on his process); his philosophy towards technology, especially the relationship of technology to the body; and the intersection of technology and culture

Nam June Paik was born in 1932, in Seoul, Korea. He moved to Germany in 1956 to pursue his study of music, and then to New York City in 1964. Upon his arrival Paik quickly developed collaborative relationships with a circle of now iconic American artists—John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Yoko Ono, and Bill Viola, among others—and spent the duration of his career, which spanned four decades, in the United States. Through his progressive ideas and artworks, the artist dared to imagine a future where today’s technological innovations might exist, and it is this pioneering vision that has continued to shape contemporary visual culture in the United States and internationally.

A number of rarely shown works are also on view, as well as some works not exhibited in the US before. In addition, drawings and sculptures from his estate, as well as objects and ephemera on loan from the newly formed Nam June Paik Archive, housed within the Smithsonian American Art Museum, are also on show for the first time.

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition,  edited by Melissa Chiu and Michelle Yun, which includes newly commissioned texts by Kenzo Digital, John Godfrey, Christian Jankowski, Jon Kessler, John Maeda, Bill Viola, and Yoko Ono, in addition to never-before-published writings from the recently established Nam June Paik Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum.

From 5 September to 4 January 2015, at Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue, New York 10021,