FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — A new exhibition at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale travels back to the years from the 1940s to the mid-1970s to explore how avant-garde art, with its bold experimentation and creativity, influenced the look and content of early network TV.
The exhibit is called “Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the birth of American Television” and it’s a first of its kind. It’s truly a riveting exploration of how television in its formative years adopted modernism as a source of inspiration. Maurice Berger curated this eye-opening event.
“This exhibition is really about the early years of television and how young producers, writers, and network executives were in search of inspiration. I mean the medium had no models,” Berger told CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.
Modern art and graphic design inspired television production and promotions including the progressive design campaign of the CBS Television Network. The CBS Eye trademark, which was created in 1951, is one of the best-known and most
highly regarded corporate trademarks and the exhibit showcases the evolution of the Eye.
“It took designers a year of concentrated work to begin to understand how to communicate this idea of a media that was visual from a network, that was only once about radio,” explained Berger.
The exhibit also features more than 260 fine objects, graphic design trinkets and more including
TV clips. Berger showcases clips from “The Twilight Zone,” which began in 1959. The groundbreaking show was created by Rod Serling who was especially attuned to modernism.
“If you just look at the 3 opening credits of the first three seasons, you will see Duchamp’s spirals and Salvador Dali’s melting landscapes,” Berger explained.
Avant-garde artists like Duchamp, Dali and others artists are featured in the exhibit as well.
The birth of television scared many including those in the art world as is depicted in 1950’s magazine covers from Time Magazine.
There’s something slightly surreal if not creepy about them,” Berger explained pointing to a photograph of TV screen filled with just an eye. “That eye that stares out perennially at you.”
Pop art and its sensibilities have been connected to the highly popular Batman action series.
“It’s a comic book character as a TV show being played off a work of modern art,” Berger said.
For younger attendees, this exhibit will educate on the history of television. For those of us not so young, it’s a brand new connection to a time gone by remembered most fondly.
“Television in its greatest form was as artful and as significant as the best works of visual art and the fact they came together at this early, dynamic moment is a pretty extraordinary realization,” Berger explained.
Revolution of the Eye is on view at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale from October 24, 2015 through January 10, 2016.