Strange Attractors Signs Of Chaos

Exhibition Catalog

The New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1989


Strange Attractors explores the relationship between contemporary art and the emerging science of chaos, which identifies and develops the patterns, structures and systems that define the rhythms of daily human experience. Calling upon the work of twenty-nine artists, including John Cage, Eve Laramee and Christian Marclay, the catalogue traces the history of chaos theory, notes artistic and philosophical milestones and identifies the crucial scientific issues embraced by contemporary art. Gary Indiana, Martin Meisel and exhibition curator Laura Trippi contribute essays and an interview with James Welling. “The experience of the perceiver is like a juggler whose partner is throwing plates at him: first two plates in the air, then four, then six, all going round together. Every addition demands a more complex awareness and a more divided attention until suddenly it all collapses. The sytem crashes in one’s head despite the fact that one never doubts the systematic character of the phenomena. The multiplicity of the elements and the diversity of the recurrences are more than the mind can hold in a comprehensive pattern, and all at once it is experienced as chaos.

-Martin Meisel

Artists: Katherine Loveday Bradshaw, Glenn Branca, Ellen Brooks, John Cage, Tony Cokes, Critical Art Ensemble, Collins and Milazzo, Steve DiBenedetto, Orshi Drozdik, Dana Duff, Laura Emrick, Diana Formisano, Jon Kessler, Eve Andree Laramee, Zoe Leonard, Jill Levine, Steve Miller, Peter Nagy, Joseph Nechvatal, Alastair Noble, David Nyzio, Dan Reynolds, Andres Serrano, David Smith, Jon Tower, Sokhi Wagner, Oliver Wasow, Grace Williams and Litina. Catalogue organized by Alice Yang, Curatorial Coordinator.




New Museum