Jack Burnham was the most profound and farsighted writer on art and technology in the 1960s and 70s -- not to mention his importance as a theorist, critic and curator. Yet most of his books are out of print now. How can that be?
At the conclusion of Beyond Modern Sculpture (1968) he had written:
"[The] cultural obsession with the art object is slowly disappearing and being replaced by what might be called 'systems consciousness.' Actually, this shifts from the direct shaping of matter to a concern for organizing quantities of energy and information...
"Deep-rooted drives lasting several millenia are not erased from the human personality overnight. Yet there is abundant evidence that the modern era of artistic expression through sculptured objects is drawing to a close. Taking the path outlined up to now, it would be logical to speculate on the quasi-biological nature of future art...
"[It] is generally acknowledged by scientists working in the field of bio-electronics that there are no qualitative physical differences between living and nonliving matter; both groupings represent, simply, an ascending scale of complexity in the organization of matter. Therefore organisms artificially created may possess consciousness. Their level of subjectivity and intelligence depends upon their creator's ability to simulate or improvise upon biological principles...
"Unless the world is substantially altered for the worst, the logical outcome of technology's influence on art before the end of this century should be a series of art forms that manifest true intelligence, but perhaps more meaningfully, with a capacity for reciprocal relationships with human beings...
"It also implies a gradual phasing out, or programmed obsolescence, of all natural organic life, substituting far more efficient types of life forms for our 'inferior' and imperfect ones..."
It's a full-blown Faustian vision. Burnham probably went overboard on the historical determinism angle - later editions of BMS dropped the claim that synthetic creations would make "all natural organic life" obsolete, and his later writings focus on the mythic and mystical aspects of art. But regardless of whether you agree that synthetic life is the next step in sculpture, it is undoubtedly true that Jack's outline of "systems esthetics" was a pivotal contribution.
Jack Burnham was my hero during the 1970s, when I was a young artist just starting to write for Artforum and he was at the peak of his career. I was too poor to buy clothes back then, so Jack gave me his brother's old US Army uniforms from the 1950s. I wore them proudly, since they said "Burnham" on the breast pocket. Now I would like to do something to repay him for the support and inspiration he gave.
This site (online since August 2000 and most recently updated on 25 December 2020) aims to be a gateway to Jack's writing and to perceptive comments on his work by other people, whether the articles themselves are located here or elsewhere, online or offline. Many thanks to Kevin B. Leonard, Timothy Garrett, Barry Alpert, Stephan Pickering, Edward Shanken, William L. Tchakirides, Michael Schippling and Lutz Dammbeck for information, suggestions and research which have helped to expand and improve this site. Your feedback, written contributions, ideas and new links are eagerly sought.
Jack Wesley Burnham Jr. was born on 13 November 1931 in New York City and grew up in Quincy, Massachusetts. He studied at the Boston Museum School and the Wentworth Institute before graduating from the Yale School of Art with a BFA in 1959 and an MFA in 1961. From 1956 to 1968, he worked intermittently as a signpainter and draftsman, but sculpture was his main focus - often including light (incandescent bulbs, neon, etc.; a photo of a ceiling-mounted piece from 1968, made of electro-luminescent tape and aluminum channels, appears in Beyond Modern Sculpture; click here for a monochrome photo of his "viewer activated luminous ribbons" shown at the Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago, 22 July – 16 August 1968). He was a Fellow at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies in 1968-9 and won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973-4 to work on a book about Duchamp. During his most prolific period as a writer, he taught art history at Northwestern University in Illinois, becoming chairman of the art department in 1976. He took time off from Northwestern to teach at the University of California at San Diego, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Colgate University, and Williams College. In the 1980s he moved to the University of Maryland (College Park campus) and again chaired the art and art history departments. After he retired, he withdrew from public life. By the time he died in February 2019, many people had forgotten he was still alive.
JACK BURNHAM INTERVIEWS
Jack in 1993 - from Katrien Jacobs' film
"Willoughby Sharp Interviews Jack Burnham" in Arts magazine, Vol. 45, No. 2 (November 1970), pages 21-23. Reprinted in Great Western Salt Works and Dissolve Into Comprehension.
Jack talks about Beuys in Katrien Jacobs' 1996 film, "Healing the Western Mind, Part 1: Joseph Beuys in America." Shown on PBS and dedicated to Jack, the film is 15 minutes long (25.6 MB, MOV format, but no longer online).
Lutz Dammbeck interviewed Jack in 2002 for his documentary film Das Netz (The Net), which is about the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, and the relationship between cybernetics and the American military. Even though none of the Burnham interview was used in the film, it was shown at the Tesla Club in Berlin (2005) and excerpts from the transcript were put online. Our slightly polished version of the transcript is here along with a 1-minute videoclip from the 33-minute interview.
Dissolve Into Comprehension includes an unpublished transcript of Jack's answers in 2004 to Joan Brigham's questions about the social milieu at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies when Jack was a Fellow there.
"Jack Burnham Redux: The Obsolete in Reverse?" by Luke Skrebowski, Grey Room 64 (fall 2016), pages 88-113. This is essentially a review of Dissolve into Comprehension (MIT Press, 2015 - listed below) but it is so very much more. Highly recommended.
"End Game: Systems as a Post-formalism," by Melissa Ragain, in Media-N, Journal of the New Media Caucus, CAA Conference Edition, 2014. This discusses an unpublished/undated 10-page text by Burnham titled "Towards a Post-formalist Aesthetic." Citing evidence, Ragain suggests this is the deleted opening section of a longer essay that Artforum's editor, Phil Leider, re-titled and published in the September 1968 issue as "Systems Esthetics."
"Systems Aesthetics and the System as Medium," by Francis Halsall, on the website for Whitechapel Gallery's "Systems Art" exhibition and symposium (see below). This is an excerpt from Halsall's Systems of Art, published by Peter Lang, 2008 (ISBN 303911073X and 9783039110735), 253 pages, partly browsable on Google Books.
"From Systems-Oriented Art to Biopolitical Art Practice" by Sabeth Buchmann. Another paper based on a talk originally given at the "Open Systems: Rethinking Art c.1970" symposium - this one published in Media Mutandis: a NODE.London Reader, edited by Marina Vishmidt (London: March 2006).
Open Systems: Rethinking Art c.1970 (Tate Gallery, 2005), 224 pages, ISBN 1854375652. Exhibition catalog edited by curator Donna De Salvo; the show was at the Tate Modern Gallery in London, England (1 June - 18 September 2005).
"Jack Burnham and the Work of Art in the Age of Real Time Systems" by Charlie Gere, in a 208-page anthology edited by Björn Norberg and Morten Søndergaard - published in 2005 in Europe by Informations Forlag under the title Get Real! Art + Real-time: History, Practice, Theory (ISBN 87-7514-110-8), and in USA by George Braziller Inc. (hardcover) and W. W. Norton & Co Inc. (paperback), under the title Real Time + Art + Theory + Practice + History (ISBN 0807615641). This anthology also includes Burnham's "Real Time Systems" (Artforum, 1969). These publications were byproducts of the "Get Real!" exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde, Denmark, curated by Morten Søndergaard (15 April - 12 June 2005).
Flip Feij, who lives in Vlissingen, Netherlands, found this (signed) print by Joseph Beuys in the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht. Flip translates the German text as "Just let Jack Burnham eat something calmly, too". According to daistesja.de, this was one of a set of Beuys postcards published in Heidelberg by Edition Klaus Staek in 1974.
"The Shape of Things to Come," Beyond Modern Sculpture (and 3 other books) reviewed by James Ackerman, New York Review of Books (August 21, 1969) - access to full text online requires payment.
"Is Criticism Necessary?" by Ingrid Wiegand in The Art Gallery (February 1972), pages 10-11 and 42-43.
"Burnham's Burden: Art is Over...Again," by Corrine Robins in Art in America, pages 14-15 (March 1972). Ambivalent comments on Beyond Modern Sculpture, The Structure of Art, and "The Aesthetics of Intelligent Systems."
"Notes on Jack Burnham's Concepts of a Software Exhibition," by Robert Mallory in Leonardo, Volume 3, Number 2 (1970), pages 189-190. Jack's reponse is listed below.
"Software Everywhere: Jewish Museum, NY, exhibition" by Dore Ashton in Studio International, Vol. 180 (November 1970), pages 200-202.
"Art and Information: 'Software' at the Jewish Museum" by Bitite Vinklers in Arts magazine, Vol. 45, No. 1 (September 1970), page 46.
PUBLISHED WRITINGS BY JACK BURNHAM
Jack's first published writings on art were occasional reviews of exhibitions for the Chicago Tribune newspaper in 1964-5.
"The Atom and the Constructivist Philosophy" - a chapter in Art and Symbolism in the World's Religions (Boston: Beacon Press, 1965). This reference was found in Jack's CV but has not been confirmed.
"Bridget Riley" in TriQuarterly magazine (fall 1966). Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Bargain Basement Alienation" in Prologue magazine (fall 1966) - a critique of Alberto Giacometti. Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Sculpture, Systems and Catastrophy" in Prologue magazine (winter 1966). Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Hans Haacke: Wind and Water Sculpture" in TriQuarterly Supplement #1, pages 1-24 (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, spring 1967). Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Questions à Hans Haacke" (interview translated into French) in Robho #2, pages 9-10 (November/December 1967, Paris).
"Sculpture's Vanishing Base" in Artforum magazine, Vol. 6, No. 3 (November 1967), pages 47-55. Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension. Note the similarity to the first chapter of Beyond Modern Sculpture...
"Lillian Florsheim" in Artscene magazine (July 1968).
"Steppenwolf in Kansas City" in Artscene magazine (July 1968) - review of a tech-art exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri.
"Systems Esthetics" in Artforum magazine, Vol. 7, No. 1 (September 1968), pages 30-35. Reprinted in Great Western Salt Works. Artforum itself now provides online access to this seminal article. Lenka Dolanová translated it into Czech, here. A French translation of "Systems Esthetics" and "Real-Time Systems" - with reproductions of works by Hans Haacke - was published in June 2015 by Les presses du réel under the title of Esthétique des Systèmes (translated by Franck Lemonde, edited by Emanuele Quinz, with an afterword by Caroline A. Jacobs, ISBN 978-2-84066-793-3, EAN 9782840667933.)
"Plug-in," ArtsCanada magazine, December 1968, page 34.
Beyond Modern Sculpture: The Effects of Science and Technology on the Sculpture of This Century (New York: George Braziller; London: Allen Lane/Penguin Press, 1968) hardcover = ISBN 080760450X, paperback = ISBN 0807607150. A "loan copy" of the PDF is also available from the Internet Archive. At least 50 reviews of BMS have been published. Some of those appearing in art periodicals were by Jay Jacobs in Art in America, page 113 (January 1969); separate reviews by Albert Elsen and Walter Darby Bannard in Artforum, pages 68-71 (May 1969); by Jay Lobell in Arts, page 10 (November 1968); and by Jonathan Benthall in Studio International, pages 148+ (March 1969). The final two sections of BMS were put online by James Coupe at the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (University of Washington) under the title "The Future of Responsive Systems".
Art in the Marcusean Analysis - volume 6 of the Penn State Papers in Art Education edited by Paul Edmonston (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University, 1969). Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Six Canonical Variations on the Future of Light Art" - catalogue essay for the UCLA Gallery's "Electric Art" exhibition (January-March 1969 in Los Angeles).
"Jack Burnham, Terry Fenton: An Exchange" in Artforum Vol. 7, No. 8 (April 1969), pages 60-61 - in which Burnham responds to comments made by Fenton in the January 1969 Artforum about "Systems Esthetics" and Fenton defends himself.
Review of "The Cedar Bar Story - or Franz Kline Revisited" in Artscene magazine (April 1969).
"On Being Sculpture" in Artforum magazine, Vol. 7, No. 9 (May 1969), pages 44-45. About the work of Mowry Baden.
"Systems and Art" in Arts in Society, Vol. VI, No. 2 (summer/fall 1969), page 195-204. About Jack's early attempts to teach "systems thinking" to art and engineering students. Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Real Time Systems" in Artforum magazine, Vol. 8, No. 1 (September 1969), pages 49-55. Reprinted in Great Western Salt Works and Dissolve Into Comprehension. An online scan of the Artforum version is at Monoskop. A French translation appears with "Systems Esthetics" and reproductions of works by Hans Haacke in Esthétique des Systèmes (translated by Franck Lemonde, edited by Emanuele Quinz, with an afterword by Caroline A. Jacobs).
"Art's End" - letter to the editor of the New York Review of Books, 20 November 1969, responding to James Ackerman's review of Beyond Modern Sculpture in the 21 August 1969 issue ("The Shape of Things to Come").
Spoken contribution to a vinyl gramophone disk issued as the catalog for "Art by Telephone," an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois, USA (1 November - 14 December 1969). The disk contains excerpts from phonecalls in which the participating artists describe their proposals for the show to the curator, Jan van der Marck, in enough detail that the works could be created without the artist being present. Jack proposed a ceiling-mounted light sculpture to be called "Ultraviolet." The link leads to an MP3 file that contains the complete sound document (44 minutes).
"Modern Art as a Mediocre Teaching Machine" in the Journal of Art Education, Vol. 22, No. 8, pages 24-28 (November 1969). Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Systems Aesthetics" in Concepts of Art Education, edited by George Pappas (London and Toronto: MacMillan, 1970). It is not known if this is a reprint, excerpt or revision of the essay with the same title in the September 1968 Artforum.
Introduction to the catalog of Donald Burgy's exhibition "Art Ideas for the Year 4000" at the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts (1970).
"The Aesthetics of Intelligent Systems" in On the Future of Art (New York: Viking Press, 1970), pages 95-122. Hardcover = ISBN 0-6705-2500-6, paperback = ISBN 0-6700-0308-5. Here is a copy in the Internet Archive, and it is also reproduced in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Dennis Oppenheim: Catalyst 1967-1970," in ArtsCanada magazine, August 1970, pages 29-36.
"Problems of Criticism, IX: Art and Technology" in Artforum magazine, Vol. 9, No. 5 (January 1971), pages 40-45; reprinted in Idea Art: A Critical Anthology, edited by Gregory Battcock (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1973), and Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Unveiling the Consort: Part I and Part II" in consecutive issues of Artforum magazine, Vol. 9, No. 7 and 8 (March and April 1971). Another online copy is here.
"Hans Haacke's Cancelled Show at the Guggenheim" in Artforum magazine, Vol. 9, No. 10 (June 1971). Reprinted in Artists, Critics, Context: Readings In and Around American Art Since 1945, edited by Paul F. Fabozzi, (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2002.), ISBN 0130908983, pages 346-355. Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
The Structure of Art, with assistance from Charles Harper and Judith Benjamin Burnham (New York: George Braziller). Hardcover revised edition (June 1971) = ISBN 0-8076-0596-4, paperback revised edition (June 1970) = ISBN 0-8076-0595-6. Initial reviews in art periodicals were by Henry P. Raleigh in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Volume 29, Number 4 (Summer, 1971), pages 541-542; Jonathan Benthall in Studio International, pages 48-50 (July 1971); and by Nicolas Calas in Arts, pages 27-29 (September 1971). See also the review by Carole N. Kaufmann in American Anthropologist, New Series, Volume 74, Number 6 (December, 1972), pages 1465-1466. The German edition: Kunst und Strukturalismus: Die neue Methode der Kunst-Interpretation (Köln: DuMont Schauberg, 1973), ISBN 3-7701-0645-8.
"Corporate Art" in Artforum magazine, Vol. 10, No. 2 (October 1971), pages 66-71. Review of the Art and Technology show at the Los Angeles County Museum. Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"The True Readymade?" in Art and Artists magazine, Vol. 6 (February 1972), pages 26-31. Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"La Signification du Grand Verre" [The meaning of Duchamp's Large Glass] in the Journal of Art and Ideas, VH 101, Vol. 6 (Paris, 1972, 48 pages).
Burnham interview with Hans Haacke reprinted in Werkmonographie, co-edited by Haacke and Edward Fry, which contains the texts intended to accompany Haacke's cancelled 1971 show at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (Cologne: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg, 1972).
Essay on Douglas Huebler's work for the catalogue of the Documenta V exhibition, Kassel, West Germany (June-September 1972).
"Voices from the Gate" in Arts magazine, Vol. 46, No. 10 (summer 1972), pages 44-46 and cover. A kabbalistic interpretation of new sculptures by Robert Morris. Reprinted in Great Western Salt Works and Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Semiotics of 'End-Game' Art" in Arts magazine, Vol. 47, No. 3 (November 1972), pages 38-43. (Clement Greenberg responds in the December 1972 issue, page 94.) Reprinted in Great Western Salt Works.
"Objects and Ritual: Towards a Working Ontology of Art" in Arts magazine, Vol. 47, No. 4 (December 1972), pages 38-41. Reprinted in Great Western Salt Works.
"Contemporary Ritual: A Search for Meaning in Post-Historical Terms" in Arts magazine, Vol. 47, No. 7 (March 1973), pages 38-41. Reprinted in Great Western Salt Works.
"Les Levine and the Troubles" in Arts magazine, Vol. 47, No. 8 (April 1973), pages 56-59.
Review of Jonathan Benthall's book Science and Technology in Art Today for Science magazine (11 May 1973).
"The Artist as Shaman" in Arts magazine, Vol. 47, No. 9 (May-June 1973), pages 42-44. On the work of Dennis Oppenheim. Reprinted in Great Western Salt Works.
"Mondrian's American Circle" in Arts magazine, Vol. 48, No. 1 (September 1973), pages 36-39.
"Nova Scotia: Answers for Academia" in Arts magazine, Vol. 48, No. 3 (November 1973), pages 55-57. Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Art and Technology" in the Britannica Yearbook of Science and the Future (Chicago, 1973), page 351.
Great Western Salt Works: Essays on the Meaning of Post-Formalist Art (New York: George Braziller). 165 pages, hardcover (September 1974) = ISBN 0-8076-0740-1, paperback (June 1974) = ISBN 0-8076-0741-X. This is a collection of articles Burnham had previously published in art magazines (see individual listings in this bibliography). GWSW was reviewed by Kim Levin in Art in America, Vol. 62, No. 6 (November-December 1974), pages 48-49.
"Huebler's Pinwheel and the Letter Tau" in Arts magazine, Vol. 49, No. 2 (October 1974), pages 32-35.
"Sacrament and Television" in Video Art, an exhibition catalog edited by Suzanne Delehanty, Institute of Contemporary Art, 17 January - 28 February 1975 (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania/Institute of Contemporary Art, 1975), ISBN 0884540146.
"Meditations on a Bunch of Asparagus" in Arts magazine, Vol. 49, No. 6 (February 1975), pages 72-75.
"Quality and the Art of Hitchhiking" in Arts magazine, Vol. 49, No. 8 (April 1975), pages 64-66. Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Hans Haacke's Seurat Exhibition: The Perils of Radicalism," review of an exhibition at the John Weber Gallery (New York) for The New Art Examiner (April 1975).
"Flesh is More: A Modest Display of Bodyworks" - review of the Bodyworks exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago) for The New Art Examiner (April 1975).
"Mary Beth Edelson's Great Goddess" in Arts magazine, Vol. 50, No. 3 (November 1975).
Poster from the Rhode Island School of Design's archive (probably from 1985, since October 8th was on Tuesday that year)
"Les Levine in Retrofocus" - a catalogue essay for the Les Levine retrospective at the Vancouver Art Gallery (March-April 1974); catalogue not published until 1976.
"The Fifth Lagoon and Other World Saving Devices" - about the work of Newton and Helen Harrison, for The New Art Examiner (January 1976).
Review of Komar and Melamid's exhibition "Art of the State/State of the Art" at the Ronald Feldman Gallery
(New York) for The New Art Examiner (May 1976).
Review of "Corey Postiglione, Mary Jo Marks, Virginia Ferrari" at the Jan Cicero Gallery (Chicago) for The New Art Examiner (May 1976).
"Ten Years Before the Artforum Masthead" in The New Art Examiner, Vol. 4, No. 5 (February 1977), pages 1 and 6-7. Reflections on the New York artworld, full of sharp insights and autobiographic detail. Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"San Quentin Prison Mural Project" in The New Art Examiner (May 1977).
"Patriarchal Tendencies within the Feminist Art Movement" in the New Art Examiner, Vol. 4, No. 10 (Summer 1977), pages 1, 8, 9 and 11.
Review of "Minimalism," an exhibition at the Young-Hoffman Gallery (Chicago) for The New Art Examiner, Vol. 4, No. 10 (Summer 1977).
Catalogue essay: "The Painting of Sylvia Sleigh" for exhibitions at the Turman Gallery (Indiana State University, Terre Haute) and the Dittmar Gallery (Northwestern University, Evanston), 1977.
"George Rickey" (book review) in the New Art Examiner, Vol. 5, No. 1 (October 1977), page 13.
Review of the book The Brothers Duchamp: Jacques Villon, Raymond Duchamp Villon, Marcel Duchamp by Pierre Cabanne (New York Graphics Society, 1976) for The New Art Examiner (December 1977)
"Criticism in the Provinces" in Arts Exchange magazine, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Philadelphia, January/February 1978). Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
"Metacritique and Misalliance: Living It Up in San Francisco" in the New Art Examiner, Vol. 5, No. 5 (February 1978), pages 10-11.
Review of the "Daley Entombed" exhibition at N.A.M.E. for The New Art Examiner, Vol. 5, No. 7 (April 1978).
Essay for the catalogue of the exhibition "Recent Works" by Sharon Hendry at the Zaks Gallery (Chicago, June-July 1978).
"Passages in Modern Sculpture" (book review) in the New Art Examiner, Vol. 5, No. 10 (July 1978), pages 4-5. Reprinted in Dissolve Into Comprehension.
Review of the book Dale Eldred - Sculpture into Environment by Ralph Coe for The New Art Examiner (December 1978).
Introduction to Komar and Melamid: Two Soviet Dissident Artists, edited by Melvyn B. Nathanson (Carbondale and Edwardsville, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1979: ISBN 0-8093-0887-8).
Hans Haacke: Recent Work - essay in the exhibition catalog (Chicago, IL: The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, 1979).
Preface for the book Max Bill ou la recherché d'un art logique: Essai d'une analyse structurale de l'oeuvre d'art, by Valentina Anker (Lausanne: Editions L'Age d'Homme, S.A., 1979).
"An abstract: Duchamp and Kabbalah - Levels of the Mystical Imagination," in Presentations on Art Education Research, No. 5 (1979), pages 85-91.
Review of the book Marcel Duchamp by Octavio Paz for The New Art Examiner (January 1979).
"Komar and Melamid, Post-USSR, Get Religion" in Art in America, Vol. 67, No. 1 (January-February 1979), pages 13-15.
"Painting Up Against the Wall" - review of an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago) for the New Art Examiner, Vol. 6, No. 8 (May 1979), page 4.
"The Henry Darger Collection: Another Art Treasure Lost to Chicago?" in the New Art Examiner, Vol. 7, No. 1 (October 1979).
"Joseph Beuys: Gotterdammerung at the Guggenheim" - exhibition review for The New Art Examiner (December 1979).
"Sharon Howlett at N.A.M.E." (review) in Art in America (January 1980).
Catalogue essay for the exhibition "Joseph Beuys: Graphic Works" at the Goethe Institute/German Cultural Center (Chicago, January-February 1980).
"Acconci in a Tight Spot" - interview with Vito Acconci and a review of his retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago) in the New Art Examiner, Vol. 7, No. 8 (May 1980).
"Icons of the Prairie: Michael Brakke's photo-paintings" in the New Art Examiner, Vol. 8, No. 1 (October 1980), pages 10-11.
"Esoteric Sources of Duchamp's Dual Paradise" in the New Art Examiner, Vol. 8, No. 2 (November 1980), pages 6-7.
"Art and Technology: the Panacea that Failed," in Myths of Information: Technology and Postindustrial Culture, edited by Kathleen Woodward (Madison, WI: Coda Press, 1980). Reprinted in Video Culture: A Critical Investigation, edited by John Hanhardt, pages 232-248 (New York: Peregrine Smith Books, and Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1986). Thanks to Michael Schippling for scanning this key document and putting it online.
Catalogue introduction for "The Posters of Klaus Staeck," a travelling exhibition for German cultural centers in the US, which opened in New York in January 1981.
Contribution to Richard Lippold: Sculpture - 64-page catalog of the exhibition "Richard Lippold Sculpture: A Retrospective 1950-1988" at the Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (November 1990 - February 1991).
NOTE: George Braziller Inc., the firm which published Jack's books, gave its archives to the Princeton University Library. According to the online catalog of the Library's Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, the manuscripts and correspondence related to Beyond Modern Sculpture, The Structure of Art, Great Western Salt Works and The Structure of Art (revised) are in C0795 Box 4.
AIArtists.org - "the world's largest community of artists exploring the impact of AI on art & society."
An untitled statement from 1967 by Hans Haacke explaining the difference between a "system" and a "sculpture." Published in Hans Haacke by Walter Grasskamp, Molly Nesbit & Jon Bird, pages 102-103, ISBN-13: 9780714843193, ISBN-10: 0714843199 (Phaidon Press, 2004); scanned and put online by Michael Schippling.
"Democratizing DNA Sequencing," by Emily Singer, MIT Technology Review, 8 December 2010: "A device that reads the sequence of DNA using semiconductor technology could bring the power of sequencing to a much broader swath of the science world. The desktop machine, developed by a startup called Ion Torrent, is slated to go on sale this month and will cost $50,000, about one-tenth of the cost of other sequencing machines on the market. 'It takes the democratization of sequencing to the next level,' says Chad Nusbaum, codirector of the genome sequencing and analysis program at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, who has been testing the device. 'Virtually anyone with good grant funding can buy one'..."
Facebook page for Biopunk: DIY scientists hack the software of life, by Marcus Wohlsen, published by the Penguin Group on 14 April 2011 (ISBN-13: 9781617230028, ISBN: 1617230022): "The 'biohacking' movement, now in its early, heady days, aims to unleash an outbreak of genetically modified innovation by making the tools and techniques of biotechnology accessible to everyone. Borrowing their idealism from the worlds of open-source software, artisinal food, Internet startups and the Peace Corps, biopunks are devoted advocates for open-sourcing the basic code of life..."
BioTech Chronicles, compiled by the (US) National Health Museum Resource Center: "a brief history of biotech discoveries which continue to influence the field today. We have included essays on genetics and DNA research, profiles of some of the influential individuals who have helped build the biotechnology industry, and an integrated series of time lines which provide an overview of biotechnology from a historical perspective."
"Cyborg moth gets a new radio," by Sally Adee, IEEE Spectrum, 18 February 2011: DARPA's "Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems" (HI-MEMS) project has shown that electrodes and a control chip can be implanted in a moth during its pupal stage so when the moth emerges, the electrodes can stimulate its muscles and thereby control its flight. Add tiny sensors (a microphone or video camera) and a radio for transmitting data, and you have a living surveillance platform that looks like an ordinary insect."
SymbioticA - "SymbioticA is the first research laboratory of its kind, in that it enables artists to engage in wet biology practices in a biological science department... SymbioticA was established in 2000 by cell biologist Professor Miranda Grounds, neuroscientist Professor Stuart Bunt and artist Oron Catts. Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr from the Tissue Culture and Art Project (TC&A) had been working as artists/researchers in residence in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology and the Lions Eye Institute since 1996..." For an interview with Oron Catts on the 10th anniversary of SymbioticA, see "Visceral curator: Making art out of living tissue," by Amanda Gefter, New Scientist's CultureLab blog
NY School of Visual Art's Bio Art Laboratory, run by Suzanne Anker, offers summer residencies.
Hackteria.org organizes projects and workshops in "open source biological art, DIY biology, generic lab equipment"
Online readings from Daniel Bisig's spring 2003 seminar, "Kunst und Kunstliche Intelligenz" at the University of Zurich's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. While the seminar was in German, most of the readings are in English.
Writings by Thomas S. Ray, including "Artificial Life" and "Aesthetically Evolved Virtual Pets".
Mauro Annunziato and Piero Pierucci, "Human-Artificial Ecosystems: Searching for a Language," Plancton Art Studio, Rome. "In this paper we refer to several experiments where a community of artificial individuals, equipped with a personal neural network, autonomously develop a common set of symbol-meaning associations...."
"Contemporary Art and the Genetic Code" special issue (spring 1996) of the College Art Association's Art Journal, Vol. 55, No. 1. Ellen K. Levy, guest editor with Berta M. Sichel.
"Systems Art" - website created for an exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery, London, England (20 October - 17 November 2007), along with a symposium (26-27 October 2007) and an artwork by Neil Ferguson shown at the London Metropolitan University (25-26 October 2007). See especially the papers from the "Systems Art" symposium.