Informed Men (1986-1987) computer-robotic assisted painting show (2020)

partial view of the Kunstmatrix exhibition of Joseph Nechvatal's Informed Men (1986-1987) computer-robotic assisted painting show 2

I am pleased to announce the Galerie Richard / Kunstmatrix exhibition of my Informed Men (1986-1987) computer-robotic assisted painting show ~ part of my Informed Man series (1986-1990). Visit the show ~ and walk around in it ~ here:

Informed Men

Galerie Richard announces the opening of Informed Men, a virtual solo exhibition of eight selected computer-robotic assisted acrylic paintings on canvas from Joseph Nechvatal’s Informed Man series (1986-1990). Informed Men exhibits six large and two small paintings from this mid-1980s pioneering series that bought early digital technology and advanced conceptually-based painting together under a theme of information overload.

About them, the artist wrote (in a 2017 artist statement) that these paintings are the results of recovered digital files (maquettes) of un-realized computer-robotic assisted paintings from his Informed Man series (1986-1990) that featured an information-saturated figure of Lazarus returning from the dead out of the tomb. And that this work stresses a continuum of artistic acts based on recovering from loss and the resisting of oblivion.

Historic Background: The painting Informed Man (1986) 82×116” was one of the first large computer-robotic assisted acrylic digital paintings that Joseph Nechvatal created on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was first exhibited in Nechvatal’s solo exhibition at Brooke Alexander Gallery in SoHo in 1985 and purchased by Elaine Dannheisser there. The Dannheisser Foundation lent Informed Man to be exhibited in Documenta 8 in Kassel Germany in 1987. It is now in the collection of Emmanuel Javogue in Miami.

Other existent large mural scale paintings from the Informed Man series (1986-1990) include: Compassion Rules the Destruction of the Regime (1986) 88×120” now in the collection of Frank Berndt, Koln, The Information Cult’s Panopticon(1986) 97×139” in the collection of Bil Ehrlich and Ruth Lloyds, NYC (also exhibited at Documenta 8), Hyper-Body II(1988) 96×120” in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art,  Integrating Web (1987) 180×245” and Exuberant Corpus (1990) 108×80” both exhibited in 2000 in the polyALTERITY exhibition at UMF Art Gallery, Farmington, Maine, and Overdrive (1989) 69×106” in the collection of the artist, Paris.

In Joseph Nechvatal’s 2017 exhibition Computer Virus 1.0 and the Return of Lazarus at Galerie Richard, 121 Orchard Street in New York City, two of the never before seen Informed Man series canvases were exhibited.

Publication Background: The 1986 painting Informed Man was first reproduced, and its art-and-technology historical significance established, in 1987 in the Documenta 8 catalogue (our thanks to art researcher Sjoukje Van Der Meulen for rescuing this data) and confirmed again in Margot Lovejoy’s ground breaking book Postmodern Currents: Art and Artists in the Age of Electronic Media, first published by UMI Research Press in 1989 (republished by Prentice Hall Press in 1996). More recently, Informed Man has been reproduced and discussed by Paul Crowther in his book Digital Art, Aesthetic Creation: The Birth of a Medium, published by Routledge in 2018 (pp.130–134).

Galerie Richard

121 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002


partial view of the Kunstmatrix exhibition of Joseph Nechvatal's Informed Men (1986-1987) computer-robotic assisted painting show 6


About josephnechvatal

Joseph Nechvatal is an American post-conceptual artist who creates virus-modeled artificial life computer-assisted paintings and animations. Themes he has addressed in his art include the apocalyptic, communication excess, the virus, and gender fluidity. In 1975, he moved from Chicago to the downtown Tribeca area of New York City. He began studying at Columbia University with the philosopher Arthur Danto while working for the Dia Art Foundation as archivist to the minimalist composer La Monte Young. In 1980, he moved from Tribeca to the sordid Lower East Side where he found artistic camaraderie and politically inspired creative energy. There he became closely associated with Collaborative Projects (Colab), the influential post-punk artists’ group that included Kiki Smith and Jenny Holzer, among others. Those were glory days for the famous Colab projects, such as Just Another Asshole, The Real Estate Show and The Times Square Show. He also helped establish the non-profit cultural space ABC No Rio, where exhibitions were animated by political purpose. In the early 1980s, his art consisted of dense post-minimalist gray graphite drawings (that were sometimes photo-mechanically enlarged), of sculpture, of photographs, and of musique concrète audio collages. In 1983, he co-founded the famous avant-garde art music project Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine. In 1984, he created an opera called XS: The Opera Opus (1984-6) with the no wave musical composer Rhys Chatham that was presented in Boston and New York. In 1986, Nechvatal began using computer-robotics to make conceptual paintings. Some were exhibited at Documenta VIII in 1987. In 1992, when he was artist-in-residence at the Louis Pasteur Atelier in Arbois and at the Saline royale d’Arc-et-Senans, he created computer virus codes that he used as an artistic tool. This work was a reflection on his personal experiences of risk and loss with the AIDS epidemic. In 1999, he earned his doctorat in the philosophy of aesthetics and technology in England and soon wrote two art theory books: Towards an Immersive Intelligence and Immersion Into Noise. In 2001, he extended his initial experimentations into the virus as an artistic painterly tool in a series of artificial life works. These works include various series of paintings, animations, and a lengthy audio composition entitled viral symphOny. He has created a series of virus-based themed exhibitions of artificial life paintings and animation projections that explore the fragility and fluidity of the human body. You can follow him on Twitter at @twinkletwink Homepage:
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