Magnet TV (1965) is an early example of Nam June Paik’s“Prepared Televisions,” works in which he altered the television’s image or its physical casing. This work consists of a seventeen-inch, black and white set with an industrial-size magnet resting on top of it. The magnetic field interferes with the television’s reception of electronic signals, distorting the picture into an abstract form that changes when the magnet is moved.
Paik’s radical action undermines the seemingly inviolable power of broadcast television by transforming the TV set into sculpture, one whose moving image is created by chance, and can be manipulated at will. Through his alteration of the television image, Paik challenged the notion of the art object as a self-contained entity and established a process of instant feedback, whereby the viewer’s actions have a direct effect on the form and meaning of the work.
Photographed in The Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC.
In line with other surrealist artists’ engagements with the ready-made, Wilhelm Freddie’sobjets-mannequins, such as Sex-Paralysappeal (1936, shown here as a 1961 artist’s copy) were scandalous in their day for their explicit references to sex. With a prominently painted penis, both the 1936 and 1961 versions of this work were confiscated by the Danish authorities soon after they were exhibited.
In Sex-Paralysappeal, Freddie transforms the classical bust into a surrealist object by treating it like a mannequin head and adorning it with various accessories. Placing the head inside an incomplete picture frame, he indicates the desire for the image to become dimensional, more lifelike. The work’s composite title vacillates between sex appeal and paralysis, amplifying the incongruity of its constituent elements.
Photographed in The Met Breuer as Part of the Exhibit, Like Life: Sculpture Color and The Body.
Side View Mirror (1965) by Allan D’Arcangelo (1930 – 1998) consist of a color screenprint printed on Plexiglas, set into round chrome side-view mirror, and mounted on a black Plexiglas base.
As a readymade /sculpture, Side View Mirror is part of a multiple artist collaboration, Seven Objects in a Box (Published 1965-66), which consisted of a stenciled wooden box, containing one artwork each by artists Tom Wesselmann, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Jim Dine, George Segal, and D’Arcangelo (see photo below). Part of the permanent collection at MOMA, all pieces are displayed as stand-alone works.
Man Ray (1890 – 1976) worked in a wide variety of media, including photography, painting, and sculpture, often blurring the boundaries between these practices. Obstruction, an assemblage of 63 wooden coat hangers, is an example of the type of artwork Dada artist Marcel Duchamp called a Ready-Made, a term that suggests Man Ray’s appropriation and manipulation of pre-existing, common objects. The sculpture playfully mimics a chandelier, but, as the hangers seemingly divide and multiply, Obstruction quickly evolves into a dense tangle of overlapping forms. Cast shadows serve as distorted, immaterial extensions of its physical presence. Man Ray first created Obstruction in 1920, but the present work belongs to an addition of 15 reproductions that he created in 1961 for an important exhibition of kinetic art.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
In the tradition of Marcel Duchamp’s Ready-Mades, this 3D printed Pez dispenser by British artist Tom Burtonwood (in the likeness of Duchamp’s Fountain sculpture) combines high and low, pop and populous, and art and kitsch.
Available in the gift shop at the New Museum of Contemporary Art for $70, discounted to $59.50 for Members!