Back To the Future

Art created with high-tech elements — movement, sound, light — may strike us as being futuristic until we realize that it’s been around for quite a while. “Technology has been used in art for many decades, and we’ve now reached a point of looking back,” says Jill Desmond, the curator of Blink! at the Denver Art Museum.

Desmond, curatorial assistant for department of modern and contemporary art, has shuffled through the DAM’s storage rooms to find works that employ technology as a key aspect of their creation. “The idea of technology as a utilitarian commodity has long since passed, and it’s now become an integral part of our lives,” she says. “The artists in this show have taken the familiar, which they then repurposed and re-contextualized, to convey another idea. This familiarity sets up a certain comfort level, but soon the work reveals itself, and the visitor realizes they are looking at something else.”

Blink! includes pieces by the giants in the technological art field such as Nam June Paik, Dan Flavin and Alan Rath and many others. The show ends today at the DAM, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. To find out more, go to
March 13-May 1, 2011

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia