SIGGRAPH 1981: Computer Culture Art Show ’81



  • Darcy Gerbarg -
    • New York University
    • Columbia University
    • School of Visual Arts

Art Show Administrator(s):


Dallas, Texas, United States of America


August 4-7th, 1981

Art Show Overview:

In coordination with the 8th Annual Conference of the Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics of the Association for Computing Machinery, there is an exhibition of high technology art at City Hall in Dallas, Texas from August 3 to August 28, 1981. The exhibition will be open to the public from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday.

A wide variety of styles, techniques, media and equipment are represented in this show. Styles include formalism, expressionism, impressionism, photo-realism, constructivism, synthetic-realism and more. Subject matter includes planets, landscapes, figures, mathematical representation, as well as intellectual and intuitive abstractions. The product of these artists has taken many forms, including sculpture, painting, printmaking, drawing, ceramics, photography and filmmaking. The equipment used by these artists includes main-frame, mini and micro computers, pen and ink-jet printers and plotters, digitizers, numerically controlled tools, electro­static recorders, etc. and represents the most sophisticated computer graphics technology.

The common ground upon which these artists stand, the thread which ties this show together, is the shared utilization of high technology. The interdependence of art and science has been fundamental to the development of this computer graphics technology and the realization of the art in this show. The collaboration between art and technology seen in this show represents a continuing cross-fertilization process which results in innovative concepts of the world around us.

Darcy Gerbarg
Ray Lauzzana




Additional Images:

  • 1981_Info_HighArtsTechnology_poster   

Additional Information:

Excerpt from A Brief History of SIGGRAPH Art Exhibitions: Brave New Worlds by Patric Prince.

The 1981 conference included a frame-buffer demonstration using AED frame buffers and Barco monitors to display art and research from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), and works by artist David Em. It was programmed and managed by Julian Gomez. Artworks have been displayed as photographs on the equipment, or alongside it, at various conferences to highlight technical innovations. In 1980 the idea for a formal art exhibition for SIGGRAPH conferences was conceived. After observing photographs and a printed fabric installation in a manufacturer’s booth, artist Darcy Gerbarg suggested to SIGGRAPH officers that an art exhibition be created for the next conference. Her proposal to the 1981 conference chairs resulted in the first formal SIGGRAPH art show, Computer Culture Art Show ’81. Consistent with SIGGRAPH policy on all new projects, the first art show was intentionally limited in scope and budget. However, Darcy Gerbarg was able to obtain part of the High Art Technology show exhibited at the Library of Congress in April of 1981. It traveled from Washington to the Electro Arts Gallery in San Francisco, where Ray Lauzzana directed the installation. A version of the High Art Technology exhibition was then scheduled for the July 1981 SIGGRAPH conference. Darcy Gerbarg and J. J. Larrea put together the entire show, framing all of the pieces and hanging the works. The works shown were flat, two-dimensional pieces that were easily transportable from site to site. The exhibition was mounted in the new city hall close to the SIGGRAPH conference site in Dallas, Texas. The general consensus among SIGGRAPH Conference attendees was that show the was an excellent idea. From Dallas the show traveled to the Flavio Belli Gallery in Toronto, Canada. A black and white catalog listing the artists and titles was printed, sponsored by the Canadian Ministry of Culture and Recreation and by the Photo/Electric Arts Foundation. The artists and scientists represented in the 1981 show included Rebecca Allen, Will Anielewicz, Bill Apgar, Michael Assante, Colette and Jeff Bangert, James Blinn, Loren Carpenter, Ephraim Cohen, David Cox, Joanne Culver, Robert Dewar, Frank Dietrich, David DiFrancisco, Tom Duff, John Dunn, David Em, Herbert Franke, Richard Frankel, Dan Franzblau, Darcy Gerbarg, Copper Giloth, Paul Heckbert, James Hockenhull, Jim Hoffman, KEEN (Fred Gaysek and John Tucker), Scott Kim, Ken Knowlton, Raymond Lauzzana, Ruth Leavitt, Mark Lindquist, Dick Lundin, Ron Mackneil, Robert Mallary, Aaron Marcus, Mike Marshall, Nelson Max, Robert McDermott, Leslie Mezei, Zsuzsa Molnar, Tom Moxon, Duane Palyka, Ronald Resch, John Roy, Laura Scholl, Lillian Schwartz, Alvy Ray Smith, Joan Truckenbrod, Ralph Turner, Stan Vanderbeek, Norman White, Turner Whitted, Lance Williams, Edvard Zajec and Steven D. Zins.


The show is sponsored in part by Advanced Electronics Design, Inc., Elector – the U.S. distributors of Barco Data Displays, and Siggraph/81.

Technical support is being provided by Robin Radaczek of AED and JPL staff members Julian Gomez with the assistance of Eric Levy.

The show’s co-ordinator James Seligman notes that this very special event is made possible through an unprecedented cooperation of artists and corporations.

Exhibition Artworks: