Collection 1950s–1970s


Nam June Paik, Instant Zen

Nov 14, 2020–Oct 16, 2023


Nam June Paik. 3 F Truck. 1977. Toy truck with paint additions, 12 3/8 x 24 x 8 7/16" (31.5 x 61 x 21.5 cm). The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. © 2020 Nam June Paik. Photo: Robert Gerhardt
  • MoMA, Floor 4, 410 The David Geffen Wing

Nam June Paik worked across a range of mediums, including mail art, film, sculpture, and performance, enthusiastically pushing back against the categories and boundaries of art. His distaste for established conventions was reflected in the humor with which he approached emerging media technology. In his long-standing relationship with Fluxus—an international network of artists interested in promoting a “revolutionary flood and tide in art”—he found a community that shared this attitude and approach.

Many of the works in this gallery explore chance, silence, nothingness, and the beauty of gradual change over time. They attest to the influence of the ideas of John Cage and Eastern philosophy on Paik and his Fluxus peers and embrace unpredictability by inviting audience participation. For other works, Paik modified found objects such as toy trucks or clocks, extending Marcel Duchamp’s early-twentieth-century concept of the readymade: a mass-produced object removed from its intended context and presented as art.

Organized by Christophe Cherix, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints, with Jon Hendricks, Consulting Curator for The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, and Danielle Johnson, former Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints.

36 works online


Installation images

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