“Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age” at LACMA Opens Feb. 12th

The Sonya Rapoport Legacy Trust is excited to announce that Sonya Rapoport’s artwork will be featured in a major survey exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952 – 1982 will run February 12th – July 2nd, 2023.

Sonya Rapoport, page 2 from Anasazi Series II (detail), 1977. Prismacolor, graphite, and colored typewriter on pre-printed continuous feed computer printout paper. Collection of Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952–1982 explores how the rise of computer technology, together with its emergence in popular consciousness, impacted the making of art in the age of the mainframe.

“International and interdisciplinary in scope, Coded examines the origins of what we now call digital art, featuring artists, writers, musicians, choreographers, and filmmakers working directly with computers as well as those using algorithms and other systems to produce their work. Whether computer-generated or not, the many artworks considered here reflect the simultaneous wonder and alienation that was characteristic of the 1960s and ’70s, along with the utopian and dystopian possibilities of these new machines.

“Today, with digital technology having been fully integrated into our lives, Coded’s examination of the years leading up to the advent of the personal computer is relevant, even imperative, to fully appreciating art and culture in the age of the computer—both then and now.”

Exhibition Statement on LACMA website

The exhibition is curated by Leslie Jones, who has a deep engagement with Rapoport’s artwork, including having published an in-depth biographical article, The Personal is Computable in Art in Print journal (2019).

The computer printout drawing that will appear in the exhibition was recently added to LACMA’s permanent collection: Anasazi Series II (1977) is a beautiful abstract work in colored pencil from a period of Rapoport’s career that marked her first engagement with computers.

Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952-1982, a hardcover exhibition catalog, is available via the LACMA Museum Store.

Featuring several images of Sonya Rapoport’s work, this book explores the history of early computer art and is filled with fascinating histories and revelatory images.

Cover of the "Coded" catalog with colorful images of early computers.

This exhibition has been covered extensively in the media.