gel wheels filter gigantic spots in all directions. Sporadically, laser beams, polarized light and polyester films flash of weird color patterns. Said one visitor, as he blinked his way out of the gallery: "It was like being inside a kaleidoscope." 16
"Lights in Orbit" and other survey exhibitions Was sponsored sustained and reinforced these art movements, placing the work in contexts which helped viewers understand these media. Certain museums started to pay attention to light and kinetic sculpture, and an expanded version of "Lights in Orbit," entitled "Lights/Motion/Space," was exhibited later in 1967 at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and at the Milwaukee Art Center. In December 1967, Wise opened his last extensive group show of light sculpture, "Festival of Lights," in which Paik, Serge Boutourline, and Aldo Tambellini exhibited sculptures incorporating television sets.17 In his review of "Festival of Lights" in the New York Times, Hilton Kramer represented one prevalent critical reaction to kinetic sculpture:
In this particular artistic mode It is machines rather than the artists who have artistic identities. In the darkened gallery we see numerous color-television images tracing a great variety of abstract patterns, and there are constructions of many kinds that reflect, manipulate and project light In predictably unpredictable ways. A great deal of invention and ingenuity has clearly been Invested In these works, and as a gallery ensemble they are fun to took at-for a few minutes.18
In many ways, Howard Wise was an anomaly in the 1960s New York art world. He did not promote art with the intention of making money; he had already acquired his fortune. Running a gallery for his personal interest and enjoyment, which he supported in part by taking no personal salary, Wise could be described as a patron who could afford to support work which experimented with new technologies, work which Ignored current aesthetic fashions. Nam June Paik recalls that when he came to New York in the early '60s, he was told that the Howard Wise Gallery "is a very good gallery that never sells." He characterizes the gallery as an exception to the norm: "Howard was different. He was generous." However, Howard Wise Gallery did sell; in fact, it sold Paik's first piece, Participation TV in 1969 to David Bermant, which was the only piece Paik sold for some time thereafter. Wise's best customers were J. Patrick Lannan, a collector from Palm Beach, Fla.; Malcolm Forbes, the owner of Forbes magazine, who has a large underground gallery filled with kinetic and light sculpture at his estate in Far Hills, N.J.;19 and Bermant, an owner of shopping malls who still collects and commissions art using technology. Bermant describes Wise as an eminently fair gallery dealer,20 and recalls that when he first began buying sculpture to exhibit in his shopping centers, the Wise Gallery was the most important source. According to Bermant, Wise's prices were reasonable, charging anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000.
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