Nam June Paik, TV Clock, 1963–89, twenty-four fixed-image color television monitors mounted on twenty-four pedestals © Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik: TV Clock at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California.

On view May 20 through October 14, 2018.

Korean-born, American artist Nam June Paik (1932–2006) blazed a trail with video art that remains influential to this day. Paik’s TV Clock, one of SBMA’s most important media art works, is on view for the first time in nearly a decade. TV Clock consists of 24 color televisions mounted upright on pedestals that are arranged in a gentle arc and displayed in a darkened space. Paik created each electronic image by manipulating the television to compress its red, green, and blue color into a single line against a black background. Called a "fixed-image television" by Paik, each TV does not involve a videotape, disc, or computer chip but an image the artist created by ingenious manipulation of electronic elements. Read in sequence, each static line tumbles into the next to form a dynamic yet elegantly spare rhythm that resembles a universally recognized way to measure time. A crucial work in Paik’s long career, TV Clock offers audiences the chance to experience the art and thought of one of the 20th century’s most innovative and enduringly vital artists.


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