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MIT Museum explores holography's evolution

The evolution of holography as an artistic medium will be explored in an exhibition opening at the MIT Museum on Saturday, Sept. 20. Unfolding Light: The Evolution of Ten Holographers will feature the work of 10 innovators from the medium's first generation of artists, juxtoposing selections by those innovators from the Museum's permanent collection with recent works by these same artists.

The free public preview on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 2-5pm at the Museum's main exhibition center (Building N52) will include a gallery talk by guest curator Rene Paul Barilleaux, chief curator of the Mississippi Museum of Art and former curator of the Museum of Holography in New York, NY. Mr. Barilleaux developed Unfolding Light as a component of the MIT Museum's ongoing Holography exhibition, which documents the technical evolution of the medium.

The holographers featured in Unfolding Light came to the medium from diverse backgrounds as photographers, sculptors, painters and designers. The 10 artists (Anait Arutunoff Stephens, Margaret Benyon, Rudie Berkhout, Harriet Casdin-Silver, Marie Andree Cossette, Melissa Crenshaw, Setsuko Ishii, John Kaufman, Sam Moree and Dan Schweitzer) share a pioneering spirit, Mr. Barilleaux said, and are vital contributors to the ongoing development of the art form, each having created a highly personal vocabulary of ideas and images that can be manifested only through holography.

In addition to new works by the artists, Unfolding Light will include pieces from the MIT Museum's permanent holography collection, the world's largest. The Museum acquired the collection from the former Museum of Holography in New York in 1993. When it closes on February 22, the exhibition will begin a tour of several national venues beginning with the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL in August 1998.

Holography is a process for recording images in three dimensions using a laser as a light source. While it has numerous industrial and commercial applications ranging from nondestructive testing to advertising and credit card security, artists have discovered that holography also has much creative potential. Invented in the late 1940s, holography was more fully developed during the 1960s, at which time artists began to work in the medium and exhibit their work. Today, artists all over the world work in holography and are continually extending its imaging abilities.

Unfolding Light is funded by a grant from the Shearwater Foundation. For further information, call the exhibition hotline at x3-4444.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 17, 1997.

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