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Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television

BATMAN (1966)Exhibition
Through December 10
Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television
Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture

Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television is the first exhibition to explore how avant-garde art influenced and shaped the look and content of network television in its formative years, from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s. During this period, the pioneers of American television — many of them young, Jewish, and aesthetically adventurous — had adopted modernism as a source of inspiration. Revolution of the Eye looks at how the dynamic new medium, in its risk-taking and aesthetic experimentation, paralleled and embraced cutting-edge art and design.

Highlighting the visual revolution ushered in by American television and modernist art and design of the 1950s and 1960s, Revolution of the Eye features fine art and graphic design, including works by Saul Bass, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Allan Kaprow, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Eero Saarinen, Ben Shahn, and Andy Warhol, as well as ephemera, television memorabilia, and clips from film and television, including Batman, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Ernie Kovacs Show, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and The Twilight Zone.

Revolution of the Eye examines television’s promotion of avant-garde ideals and aesthetics; its facility as a promotional platform for modern artists, designers, and critics; its role as a committed patron of the work of modern artists and designers; and as a medium whose relevance in contemporary culture was validated by the Museum of Modern Art’s historic Television Project (1952–55).


Admission to the exhibition is free.

The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Thursdays until 7:00 p.m., and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and is located in the Fine Arts Building. For more information call 410-455-3188.

Click here for directions and parking information.


On Thursday, November 17 at 4 p.m., Lynn Spigel, Professor of Screen Cultures at the School of Communication at Northwestern University, will give a public lecture. Click here for additional information.


Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television is organized by the Jewish Museum, New York, and the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture, UMBC. The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Skirball Fund for American Jewish Life Exhibitions, the Stern Family Philanthropic Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and other generous donors. The exhibition’s presentation at UMBC is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council and the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences.

Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television is curated by Dr. Maurice Berger, Research Professor and Chief Curator, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, UMBC, and consulting curator for the Jewish Museum, New York.

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