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Earth Sound Earth SignalEnergies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts$
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Douglas Kahn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257801

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257801.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Robert Barry

Robert Barry

Conceptualism and Energy

(p.218) 17 Robert Barry
Earth Sound Earth Signal

Douglas Kahn

University of California Press

Robert Barry’s works for the January 5-31, 1969 exhibition, one of the key moments in the history of conceptual art, are described in terms of electromagnetism, from radio carrier waves to radioactivity, and ultrasound. Barry’s notion that there is nothing that is not energy is related to the axiomatic positions of John Cage (there is no such thing as silence) and James Turrell (there never is no light). His interest in electromagnetism as a physical force and raw material for art is attributed to the influence of his father, who was an electrical engineer working in the telephone industry. His ideas about electromagnetism are compared with concurrent concerns of Lucy Lippard and the dematerialization of the art object, Art & Language, Buckminster Fuller, and Susan Sontag.

Keywords:   Robert Barry, conceptual art, radio art, dematerialization of the art object, Lucy Lippard, Art & Language, ultrasound and art, radioactivity and art, Buckminster Fuller, Susan Sontag

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