Charlotte Moorman, Nam June Paik, Selected Images of a Performance of Takehisa Kosugi's "Chamber Music", Asolo, June 1974, 1981, Silkscreen on clothbound folder, print on paper, 84.5 × 56 × 1 cm, Edition of 75 plus X AP
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
1 / 7
Silkscreened clothbound portfolio folder containing a colophon, an introduction, and six photographs documenting the artist’s performance printed on paper.
  • Silkscreen on clothbound folder, print on paper
  • 84.5 × 56 × 1 cm
    (33 ¼ × 22 × ⅜ inches)
  • Inquire
  • Charlotte Moorman was an American cellist and performance artist—one of the most relevant figures of the New York avant-garde. Moorman began studying cello at an early age, specializing under the teachings of musician Horace Britt. She then enrolled at the Juilliard School in New York, beginning her professional career as a classical cellist with the American Symphony Orchestra. Drawn to experimentation in the field of music, Moorman’s talent led her to collaborate with artists such as Yoko Ono, Wolf Vostell, Shigeko Kubota, Mieko Shiomi, Carolee Schneemann, and, most frequently, Nam June Paik, considered the founder of video art. Moorman and Paik began collaborating after meeting at the 1964 edition of the New York AvantGarde Festival (1963–80), which Moorman had founded and yearly organized. The festival featured performances, experimental music, compositions, and many of the most remarkable performances by artists associated with Fluxus and Intermedia. Moorman regarded her body as a “living sculpture,” using her cello as a powerful extension. During the infamous interpretation of Nam June Paik’s Opera Sextronique in New York in 1967, she was arrested due to her partial nudity and convicted of obscenity, earning the moniker of “Topless Cellist” by the press. Among the first rare editions curated by Francesco Conz and published by Editions Pari & Dispari, the portfolio Retrospective 1964–1974 (1975) brought together photos, unique works, and documents attesting to Moorman’s performance and the subsequent trial for “acts of pornography.” Paik created some of his best-known pieces for Moorman, including TV Bra for Living Sculpture (1969) and TV Cello (1971). Together, they re-enacted Takehisa Kosugi’s “Chamber Music,” to which the homonymous portfolio published by Edizioni Conz in 1981 is dedicated. The friendship between Conz and Moorman extended into a lasting collaboration centered not only on the creation of multiples but also on considerable unique works now housed at the Archivio Conz. Despite her diagnosis of breast cancer in 1970, Moorman continued to perform. Monumental was her performance Sky Kiss, presented in 1982 as part of the Sky Art Conference in Austria at the invitation of Otto Piene. Charlotte Moorman’s extensive archive is now being studied by several institutions, including the Northwestern University Library. Here, a major retrospective took place in 2016, followed by another comprehensive exhibition in the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in 2017.
  • Nam June Paik was a Korean-born artist whose research was intrinsically connected to the technological potentials of video and television as emblems of advancing media culture and global language. Fleeing to Japan due to the Korean War, Paik graduated in aesthetics from the University of Tokyo in 1956. He then turned to music composition by participating in the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt and becoming acquainted with Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage. In the early 1960s, while Germany was in a great cultural buzz, Paik met Joseph Beuys and Wolf Vostell, as well as especially George Maciunas, through whom he became significantly involved with Fluxus activities. From the fundamental influence of Cage in aleatory, open-ended compositions to the manipulation of audiotapes, Paik shifted in an unprecedented direction by presenting for the first time installations involving altered television sets at Galerie Parnass in Wuppertal in 1963. After settling in New York in 1964, he developed increasingly complex artistic modalities using advanced portable video cameras and video manipulations. He collaborated with the cellist Charlotte Moorman; for her and with her, Paik created his most notorious and transgressive performances, such as Opera Sextronique (1967) and TV Bra for Living Sculpture (1969). From his collaboration with the engineer Shuya Abe, Paik developed a unique color video synthesizer to combine and operate moving images from different sources, creating some of his most famous installations, such as TV Garden (1973) and TV Buddha (1974). Paik also redefined broadcast television through satellite transmissions, as in Good Morning, Mr. Orwell, which aired live on New Year’s Eve 1984 in America, France, and South Korea, featuring Cage, Salvador Dalí, Laurie Anderson, Merce Cunningham, and Allen Ginsberg. Paik’s career abounds with significant commissions and awards, such as the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy (1998) and the Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the International Sculpture Center in Hamilton, New Jersey (2001). Major retrospectives of Paik’s work have been held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1989), the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul (1992), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2000). His works have been included in international exhibitions such as the Whitney Biennial, documenta, and the Biennale di Venezia. Paik’s archive is now preserved at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

Artworks (20)