Revolution of the Eye Modern Art and the Birth of American Television Maurice Berger, Lynn Spigel

Publication date:
25 Jun 2015
Jewish Museum
172 pages: 260 x 190mm
66 color + 100 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

An engaging exploration of the relationship between avant-garde art and American network television from the 1940s through the 1970s

The aesthetics and concepts of modern art have influenced American television ever since its inception in the 1930s. In return, early television introduced the public to the latest trends in art and design. This engaging catalogue comprehensively examines the way avant-garde art shaped the look and content of network television in its formative years, from the 1940s through the mid-1970s. It also addresses the larger cultural and social context of television. Artists, fascinated with the new medium and its technological possibilities, contributed to network programs and design campaigns, appeared on television to promote modern art, and explored, critiqued, or absorbed the new medium in their work. More than 150 illustrations reveal both sides of the dialogue between high art and television through a selection of graphic designs, ephemera, and stills from important television programs—from The Twilight Zone to Batman to Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, and more—as well as works by artists including Salvador Dalí, Lee Friedlander, Agnes Martin, Man Ray, Andy Warhol, and many others. Revolution of the Eye uncovers the cultural history of a medium whose powerful influence on our lives remains pervasive.

Maurice Berger is research professor and chief curator at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and consulting curator at the Jewish Museum. He is the author of For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights (Yale). Lynn Spigel is the Frances E. Willard Professor of Screen Cultures in the School of Communications at Northwestern University.