Conceptualism and Energy
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.
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