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Homage to New York

Jean Tinguely

Homage to New York

Jean Tinguely
  • Date: 1960
  • Style: Kinetic Art, Nouveau Réalisme
  • Genre: performance

Swiss artist Jean Tinguely was best known for his 1960 performance piece entitled Homage to New York. This work involved the self-destruction of a huge sculpture in front of an audience at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In collaboration with other artists/engineers, among them Billy Klüver and Robert Rauschenberg, he produced a self-destroying mechanism that performed for 27 minutes during a public performance for invited guests. In the end, the public browsed the remnants of the machine for souvenirs to take home. The work only partially auto-destructed before the fire department stepped in and put a stop to it all much to the dismay of the crowd.

Pieces of the work were kept as mementos, however the majority of it was thrown away.

This hommage to the energy of a city that keeps rebuilding itself time after time is a wonderful example of the different and sometimes conflicting conceptions of artists and engineers on how machines should work–and as such an early collaborative effort that foreshadowed the events staged by E.A.T.—as well as a document on the 60s with the rise of happening and performance.

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