The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Exhibition restores pioneering light artist to his rightful place in history of modern art
Thomas Wilfred Sitting at the Clavilux “Model E,” ca. 1924. Sepia-toned photograph. Thomas Wilfred Papers, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, New Haven, Conn.
NEW HAVEN, CONN.- The Yale University Art Gallery is presenting Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light, the first exhibition devoted to this pioneering artist in more than 40 years. Beginning in the 1920s, the Danish-born American artist Thomas Wilfred (1889–1968) forged an international reputation as a radical innovator by creating kinetic abstractions with light. Wilfred designed and built an array of sophisticated mechanical sculptures to produce vibrant, multicolored displays, realizing a new art form—which he collectively called lumia—that was among the first successful fusions of modern art and technology. Recognized as a pioneering mode of artistic expression throughout Wilfred’s decades-long career, lumia has been a critical touchstone for later generations of light and media artists, and yet, has remained unexplored and largely unknown since Wilfred’s last retrospective, held in 1971 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in New York.

An assemblage of electric, mechanical, and reflective elements, the projection machines invented by Wilfred employ a technique akin to painting with the rays of a lightbulb. The beam that originates from this source first passes through a rotating, transparent disc with hand-painted color, known as a “color record,” and is then transmitted onto the mirrored surfaces of moving structures. After wending through this virtual obstacle course, the refracted and reflected light ultimately reaches the back of a flat screen, which varies in format and size between artworks; some of these screens are housed in small cabinets that resemble early television sets, while others are of cinematic scale, with only the face of the screen visible from the viewer’s vantage point. The resulting brilliantly colored compositions, changing in palette and pattern as forms emerge and are then transformed into new shapes, call to mind the aurora borealis as it shimmers across the night sky. New York Times reviewer Edward Alden Jewell wrote in 1939 that the spatial-temporal experience of lumia was “as if one were witnessing a kind of sidereal choreography—a dance of comets and galaxies with the boreal aurora as backdrop and, beyond that, the velvet blackness of infinite, universal space.”

Enchanting in their effects, lumia works are all the more remarkable for their dates of creation. When Wilfred began in 1919 to produce large-scale light projections with the aid of his “Clavilux,” an organlike instrument controlled by several banks of sliding keys, lumia were ephemeral performances that could only be viewed by live audiences in concert halls. Today, apart from some disassembled equipment, the Clavilux models no longer exist, but their compositions survive through black-andwhite photographs taken of the screen during performances and through the keyboard notations that Wilfred read like musical scores to conduct the light’s rhythm, movement, and color sequences. On view in the exhibition, these rare materials represent this largely lost period of the artist’s early practice.

The Gallery’s presentation focuses primarily on the subsequent phases of lumia’s development, featuring about half of the extant light works by Wilfred, including three from the Gallery’s permanent collection. Organized chronologically, the exhibition tracks the evolution of lumia in format, size, setting, and aesthetic experience, from at-home instruments made for individual viewers in the 1920s and 1930s to a late, culminating installation, Lumia Suite, Op. 158. Commissioned by MoMA in 1963, Lumia Suite was a popular favorite during the 16 years it remained on almost continuous view at the museum, before being dismantled and stored in boxes after 1980. In anticipation of the present exhibition, conservators from the Gallery and MoMA partnered to restore Lumia Suite to its original spellbinding effect; it is presented in a viewing room to the specifications that Wilfred stipulated in his original plans. The exhibition also highlights a selection of drawings and diagrams from the Thomas Wilfred Papers, housed in the collection of Manuscripts and Archives at Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library. These documents reveal additional aspects of Wilfred’s career, such as the public courses and demonstrations on lumia that he led between 1934 and 1943 at the headquarters of his organization, the Art Institute of Light, in New York.

After it closes at the Gallery on July 23, Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light travels to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in Washington, D.C., later this year. The accompanying illustrated catalogue includes a foreword by the contemporary light artist James Turrell and a number of insightful essays that explore lumia’s dialogue with science, technology, abstraction, and the moving image. Together, the exhibition and its publication help to secure the rightful place of Wilfred’s work within the history of modern art.

“This exhibition gives visitors multiple avenues through which to approach Wilfred’s work,” explains Keely Orgeman, the Alice and Allan Kaplan Assistant Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture and the curator of the exhibition. “It revives his analog form of light art, allowing viewers to study lumia’s impact during both Wilfred’s own time and today. Simultaneously, it offers a pure aesthetic experience that will resonate with viewers—lumia’s slowly unfolding compositions and constantly morphing patterns evoke something different to everyone, whether it be deep space, the Northern Lights, or psychedelic light shows. Whatever we might see, the works transport and transfix us the longer we linger before them.”

Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director states, “This notable exhibition and publication are the result of several years of dedicated scholarship by Keely Orgeman and are a fruitful partnership between curators and conservators, including the Gallery’s team, led by Carol Snow, Deputy Chief Conservator and the Allan J. Dworsky Senior Conservator of Objects, and our colleagues at the Museum of Modern Art, whose conservators worked with us to restore Wilfred’s magnificent Lumia Suite, Op. 158 for this exhibition. The Gallery is grateful for MoMA’s generous collaboration and is honored to be able to share the exhibition with a wider audience when it travels to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the fall. The attendant publication is distinguished by fresh insights on Wilfred’s work from art-historical and technological perspectives, and especially by a foreword written by the celebrated contemporary light artist James Turrell, who describes his first, transformative encounter with lumia at MoMA in 1957. It is the Gallery’s true pleasure to help bring Wilfred’s work to life for a new generation.”






Today's News

February 26, 2017

Princess Diana's iconic dresses on show at Kensington Palace for anniversary

Archaeologists hunt for long-lost tomb of Scottish king

Sistine chapel photographed in unprecedented detail

Stolen 'Work will set you free' gate returned to Dachau

Body of tortoise 'Lonesome George' returned to Galapagos Islands

China photography provocateur Ren Hang dies at 29

Taiwan's Chiang Kai-shek hall removes souvenirs of former leader

Exhibition restores pioneering light artist to his rightful place in history of modern art

First retrospective in 20 years of master photographer Irving Penn opens at Nashville's Frist Center

Exhibition brings together exquisite Surrealist paintings by Rita Kernn-Larsen

First comprehensive exhibition on the work of Cesare Leonardi opens in Genova

Mitchell-Innes & Nash opens exhibition of new works by Monica Bonvicini

Major and historic works by this legendary ceramic artist Don Reitz on view at Lacoste Gallery

Nicolás Guagnini's second exhibition at Bortolami opens in New York

Foam opens exhibition of works by French photographer Stéphanie Solinas

'It's like tripping' says French artist entombed in rock

Sotheby's New York exhibits works from its Contemporary Curated auction

Original artworks by Demetre Chiparus and Julian Lange will lead Crescent City auction

Singapore renames WWII exhibition after outcry

Jeanne Silverthorne joins Marc Straus Gallery

Lawrence Weiner to receive 2017 Aspen Award for Art

Solo exhibition by Adriano Amaral opens at Vleeshal

Forced migration, trauma and remembrance in contemporary photography in new exhibition in Munich

Reflex Gallery in Amsterdam presents German artist Iris Schomaker with "Come to the Edge"

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Priceless Van Goghs or just plain art? Works sent to museum for authentication

2.- Exhibition dedicated to the years shared between Pablo Picasso and Olga Khokhlova opens

3.- Man faces court for slashing Thomas Gainsborough painting at the National Gallery

4.- Art world horrified by President Donald Trump's push to end funding

5.- Jane Austen faked her own marriage twice

6.- Exhibition chronicles rise of the Ebony Fashion Fair, empowerment of African-Americans through fashion

7.- Art world horrified by President Donald Trump's push to end funding

8.- Discoveries by Israel Antiquities Authority shine light on life in time of Christ

9.- TEFAF's top masterpiece goes to the Rijksmuseum

10.- Exhibition devoted to the partnership between Michelangelo & Sebastiano opens



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez


Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful