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Guggenheim International Exhibition 1967
Contributions by Edward J. Fry and Thomas M. Messer
Published in 1967
The Guggenheim International Exhibition (GIE) was established in 1956 and took place every two years. The Fifth GIE was organized by museum director Thomas M. Messer and focused on the medium of sculpture. The exhibition featured contemporary sculpture selected from twenty nations including Colombia, Denmark, Japan, Italy, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the former Yugoslavia. Associate Curator Edward F. Fry, who helped select artists and organize the exhibition, wrote a catalogue introduction describing the method of selection and key issues surrounding the medium. The Guggenheim International Exhibition 1967 traveled from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1967–68. Mirroring the exhibition, the accompanying catalogue is divided into four parts: I. Artists who have died during the 1960s and whose work has significantly affected the current decade; II. Artists born before 1910; III. Artists born between 1910 and 1925; and IV. Artists born since 1925. The catalogue includes color and black-and-white reproductions of works by each artist and biographical notes in addition to an extended bibliography and a list of artist exhibitions.
The era may already be drawing to an irrevocable close in which art is focused upon the creation of unique, tangible objects, to be exhibited and merchandised like other objects. There is already some evidence that a new conception of art is gathering force that will finally emerge to replace the art based in the sensuous and physical qualities of an object. This new art would be only incidentally tangible and serve as witness to the presence of intangible systems. At first it would incorporate various manifestations of energy, including light and movement; but eventually the path followed may be that of cybernetics. At present, however, there are only relatively primitive beginnings in this direction. Attempts to create flexible systems range from the static modular reliefs of Vjeneceslav Richter to the relatively sophisticated efforts of a small but increasing number of cybernetic artists whose work already transcends even the broadest limits of any traditional conception of sculpture, such as is at issue here. The ultimate goal will be to fulfill the Faustian dream of creating life and intelligence itself; at which point the history of sculpture—be it that of prehistoric fertility images, of antique and Renaissance idealism, the organicism of Arp and Moore, or the kinetic art of Rickey and Tinguely—will have been consummated, and the myth of Pygmalion will have become fact.