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Measure of Time

Alan Rath




May 5, 2007; 60 Minutes; Video

Time is of the essence in American art of the past century. Measure of Time showcases the museum's important 20th-century collection along with some significant loans to explore, over time, how artists have worked with temporality and duration. In two galleries of paintings, sculptures, and media (both analog and digital), time and motion are compressed, fragmented, mechanized, sped up, and slowed down to an almost imperceptible pace.


Oakland-based artist Alan Rath is well known for his electronic and kinetic artworks, which transcend a mechanistic view of electronic art by appealing to our most human qualities and foibles. Train of Thought, his intriguing work in Measure of Time, is no exception: through a series of clever simulations, it elicits our complex and empathetic responses. In this program, Rath and Meredith Tromble will include the audience in a wide-ranging conversation addressing cybernetics, kinetics, art, attitudes toward technology, and related measures of time.

Trained in electrical engineering at MIT, and recognized for his pioneering work in the exploration of electronics as an art form, Rath has exhibited his work in solo exhibitions in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and his pieces are held in many public collections including the Walker Art Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Hara Museum in Tokyo.

Artist and writer Meredith Tromble has years of experience in art journalism, in both print and broadcast formats. An associate professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute, she was also co-coordinator of SFAI's Center for Art + Science.