Télésculpture, 1960, cork added 1962, Collection of Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Takis made a number of different works that went by the name Télésculpture in the 1960s and 1970s. This particular kinetic sculpture was the object of considerable controversy. During a landmark exhibition of art and technology, The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age at MOMA New York, Takis stormed into the Museum and removed one of this work, which he claimed was being exhibited without his permission. The action was coordinated with the Art Workers Coalition. They sought reform in the relationship between artists, collectors, and museums. The artists considered their action to be a symbolic one, a trigger for a more profound communication between museum managers, artists and the public. Indeed, it spurred a lively dialog. The incident made the front page of the New York Times.
TAKIS (VASSILAKIS) was born in 1925 in Athens. Preferring, as a matter of principle, to teach himself rather study in an institution, he left Greece in 1954 and lived as a citizen of the world, traveling through Europe and the USA. Starting in 1946, from his earliest years as a sculptor, Takis was interested in natural phenomena: stones molded by time and river water, the unexpected shapes taken by exploding metals. He regarded them as sculpture. Some of his earliest manifestations consisted of explosions carried out in open places. From 1954 to 1959 he lived in Paris, the Cote d’ Azur and London. In 1955 he exhibited sculptures in the round at the Hanover Gallery, London, and the Galerie Furstenberg, Paris.