Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet)
Nam June Paik
Nam June Paik
Paik, who was trained as a classical pianist, composed with the electrons that stream across television tubes. He reworked the inner mechanisms of television sets—warping the horizontal and vertical frequencies—to create unique and entirely new screen images. For this work, Paik illuminated just two scan lines and set them at an angle in a minimalist manner. Piene, Paik’s collaborator, completed the jewel-like composition by adding pearls to the television set’s outer casing.
Paik and Joseph Beuys were both in and around Düsseldorf, Germany, in the late 1950s, soaking up experience and information where they could. Over the years, they became friends, and they collaborated on the occasional project. Upon the death of George Maciunas, a founding member of the artist group Fluxus, the two created this piano duet as a tribute to him.
Nam June Paik (American, born Korea. 1932 –2006) and Otto Piene (German, born 1928). Untitled. 1968. Manipulated television set and plastic pearls, 9 x 13 x 10" (22.9 x 33 x 25.4 cm). Gift of The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Greenwich Collection Ltd. Fund, and gift of Margot Ernst. © 2008 Estate of Nam June Paik. Photo: Thomas Griesel
Nam June Paik (American, born Korea. 1932&–2006). Joseph Beuys (German, 1921–1986). Klavierduett: In memoriam George Maciunas. 1982. 33 1/3 LP transferred to CD with album cover. 71:19 min. The Museum of Modern Art Library
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