November 1998
Nam June Paik, TV Cello  1971

  Nam June Paik
American, born 1932
TV Cello  1971

video tubes, TV chassis, plexiglass boxes, electronics, wiring, wood base, fan, stool, color photograph
Collection Walker Art Center
T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1992
Formerly the Collection of Otto Piene and Elizabeth Goldring, Massachusetts

In the 1960s video was a brand new technology, and American artist Nam June Paik (pronounced "pake," like "cake") was the first to use it to make art. Known as the "father of video art," Paik inspires many artists with his use of electronics. For TV Cello he stacked used television sets into the shape of a cello, then wired them together and added strings to make a musical instrument. Paik collaborated with cellist-performance artist Charlotte Moorman, who actually played the TV Cello. For the video Paik edited together all kinds of images to create a dizzying pattern of horizontal and vertical flashes and spiraling loops.

© 1998 Walker Art Center

The Artwork of the Month is part of the Walker Art Center's "New Definitions/New Audiences" initiative. This museum-wide project to engage visitors in a reexamination of 20th-century art is made possible by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.