The latest exhibit at the Jewish Museum, “Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television,” is the first museum exhibition to look at how avant-garde art influenced TV from the 1940s to the 1970s. Many of the thought leaders during this time were young and Jewish, and their aesthetic had a big impact on what TV looked like during that time, especially when it came to taking artistic risks and trying new things.
The Jewish Museum’s leadership, which includes board members David Topper, Audrey Wilf, and David L. Resnick, seeks to show how Jewish artists borrowed from and influenced each other in interior design, pop culture, and TV. Highlighted artists include Saul Bass, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol.
“Revolution of the Eye” explores how much of mid-century TV was shaped by the artistic movements of the time, especially European avant-garde and pop art. By the 1960s, art and media were borrowing from each other on a regular basis, such as in 1968, when Andy Warhol filmed an ad for the restaurant chain Schrafft’s that led the company’s president to comment, “We haven’t got just a commercial. We’ve acquired a work of art.” And who could forget the ABC series Batman, which premiered in 1966 and brought comic book artist Roy Lichtenstein’s heavy lines, bold colors, and campy attitude to the tube?
Located on New York City’s Museum Mile, the Jewish Museum hosts a collection of 30,000 works of art, Judaica, antiques, folk art, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media that explore the Jewish experience. They host a wide variety of education programs, including lectures, performances, and hands-on art programs.
The “Revolution of the Eye” exhibit is curated by Dr. Maurice Berger, who serves as Research Professor and Chief Curator for the museum. Exhibit organization is provided by the Jewish Museum and the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland. It will run from May 1 to September 27.