SIGGRAPH Artworks in the Victoria & Albert Museum

Collection Image



Spring 2020


SIGGRAPH Artworks that are in the Victoria & Albert Museum

Collection Overview:

This selection highlights a range of artworks that have been exhibited at SIGGRAPH in the past and also feature in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s permanent collection.

The V&A’s computational art collection started as long ago as 1969, when the Museum acquired of a set of seven prints published to accompany Cybernetic Serendipity, a landmark exhibition held at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in 1968. The Cybernetic Serendipity prints included works by Charles Csuri, William Fetter and the Computer Technique Group (CTG), among others. Just a handful of computer-generated works were added in the following decades, by artists such as Manfred Mohr, Vera Molnar and James Faure Walker. However, the V&A’s holdings expanded rapidly in the early 2000s, with the acquisition of two major collections, the Patric Prince Collection and the archives of the Computer Arts Society.

Patric Prince chaired the SIGGRAPH Art Show in 1986 and organized the SIGGRAPH Traveling Art Show from 1989-1996. Patric was also a director and founder of the CyberSpace Gallery in West Hollywood. Over the years she built up an impressive personal collection, along with an extensive library and archive. Her collection of some 250 artworks was donated to the American Friends of the V&A in 2005, then transferred to the Museum in 2008. Patric also donated her library and archive directly to the V&A at much the same time.

In parallel, the V&A also acquired the archives of the Computer Arts Society (CAS), which was founded soon after the Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition took place in London. The CAS collection contains a similar number of artworks to the Patric Prince Collection, with very little overlap between the two.

The V&A’s Digital Pioneers exhibition in 2009-10 provided an opportunity to show a wide range of artworks from the Museum’s holdings at that time. More recently, Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computers, held in 2018, was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the original Cybernetic Serendipity show. Many additional works have been added to the Museum’s collection in recent years, as gifts, bequests or purchases. As a result, the V&A now holds some 2,000 examples of computational art, from the 1950s to the present day.

Looking back, it might seem remarkable that so many of the artworks shown at SIGGRAPH exhibitions are now represented in the V&A collection. This selection highlights a maximum of two works per artist, though we may have more. In some cases, the V&A holds the actual work that was previously exhibited at SIGGRAPH. In other cases, the Museum might have another copy of the same print, for example, or perhaps a related work. The selection also includes a few artworks that are quite like the ones exhibited at SIGGRAPH, but not exactly the same. Examples include unique plotter drawings by the same artist from the same period, or similar prints from the same series.

Of course, many other SIGGRAPH exhibiting artists are also represented in the V&A collection, often with quite different artworks.

Collection Artworks: