“To the ancients, wind and sun, sea and forest grove seemed to be informed by inscrutable spirits to whom, in awe and propitiation, they gave human personality and shape. To modern man, the mechanized gadgets that his own brain has spawned also seem to have cantankerous lives of their own. What adult American has not swatted a flickering TV set? Or made an uneasy joke about the day when the computer tries to take over?”
Last week “The Machine,” a ten-week-long exhibit of 220 works detailing the myriad ways in which artists have viewed the mysterious powers that inhabit cogs, gears and transistors, opened at Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art.* The exhibit (see color pages) was put together by K. G. Pontus Hulten, 44, who as director of Stockholm’s Moderna Museet staged one of the first kinetic art shows back in 1961.
Hulten’s exhibit has plenty of jiggling junk sculptures and blithely bleeping electronic marvels. But it also demonstrates that the artist’s love-hate relationship with the machine has a long history. Oldest items on display are Leonardo’s drawings for a helicopter and a parachute. Newest are nine works selected by Hulten from entries to a contest sponsored by Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), an organization that strives to bring artists and technologists together.”
Excerpt from TIME Magazine staff review of the exhibition, The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age, curated by K.G. Pontus Hultén at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MOMA) in 1968. Image is the metal cover to the exhibition catalog.