Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet)
Nam June Paik
In the late 1950s, Piene, a cofounder of the artist group ZERO, created a body of work composed of traces of natural elements—pictures made from the aftereffects of light, fire, and smoke, as exemplified in this untitled drawing. Every month Piene cleared out his Düsseldorf studio to host his Abend Austellungen (evening exhibitions). These open-ended, one-night events revolved around projected light and a mélange of materials, including, for example, perforated paintings that when illuminated created dazzling shadow patterns on the ceiling and walls. Nam June Paik was a frequent visitor. Both artists moved to New York in the mid-1960s and became known for their intermedia explorations. Piene directed the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) for many years.
Otto Piene (German, born 1928). Untitled. 1959. Diazo print, 27 15/16 x 39" (71 x 99.1 cm). Purchased with funds given by Joanne Stern and Purchase Fund. © 2008 Otto Piene.
Otto Piene (German, born 1928). Untitled. 1959. Soot on paper, 20 x 20" (51 x 73 cm). Purchased with funds provided by Sheldon H. Solow. © 2008 Otto Piene.