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Computer-Art Fossils

In 1969, Frederick Hammersley was already playing with CPUs and printers.

01.29.14 11:52 PM ET

"Jelly Centers" was made in 1969 by Frederick Hammersley, one of the first artists to make serious use of computers and their printers. It’s now in a group show at Bortolami gallery in New York. I am just (barely) old enough to remember when computer-generated art was new, and hot, so what strikes me most about Hammersley’s piece is how something that once seemed so clearly to yield a vision of the future now is all about nostalgia for a vanished past. Those feed-holes on the paper’s sides are enough to bring a wistful tear to a programmer’s eye.

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