Software (exhibition)

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Show curated by an artist and critic Jack Burnham for the Jewish Museum in Brooklyn, New York City, on 16 September - 8 November 1970, and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., on 16 December 1970 - 14 February 1971. The show put together computers and conceptual artists, linking them through the idea of software as a process or a program to be carried out by a machine or, why not, by the audience based on "instruction lines" formulated by the artist.

Participating artists: Vito Acconci, David Antin, Architecture Group Machine M.I.T., John Baldessari, Robert Barry, Linda Berris, Donald Burgy, Paul Conly, Agnes Denes, Robert Duncan Enzmann, Carl Fernbach-Flarsheim, John Godyear, Hans Haacke, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, Nam June Paik, Alex Razdow, Sonia Sheridan, Evander D. Schley, Theodosius Victoria, Laurence Weiner.


  • Jack Burnham, "Notes on Art and Information Processing", in Software - Information Technology: Its New Meaning for Art, catalogue, 1970, pp 10-14.
  • Dore Ashton, "Software Everywhere: Jewish Museum, NY, exhibition", Studio International, Vol. 180 (November 1970), pp 200-202.
  • Bitite Vinklers, "Art and Information: 'Software' at the Jewish Museum", Arts Magazine, Vol. 45, No. 1 (September 1970), p 46.
  • Robert Mallory, "Notes on Jack Burnham's Concepts of a Software Exhibition", Leonardo, Volume 3, Number 2 (1970), pp 189-190.
  • Jack Burnham, "Comments on Mallary's Note", Leonardo, Volume 3, Number 2 (April 1970), pp 265-266. A response to Robert Mallory's review of the Software show, in the same issue.
  • Jack Burnham, "Duchamp's Bride Stripped Bare: The Meaning of the Large Glass", Arts Magazine, March-May 1972. Large Glass (1915-22) served as an architectural model for the installation of the Software exhibition.
  • Jack Burnham, "Art and Technology: The Panacea That Failed", in The Myths of Information, edited by Kathleen Woodward, Coda Press, 1980.
  • Edward A. Shanken, "The House That Jack Built: Jack Burnham's Concept of Software as a Metaphor for Art". Originally published in the Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Vol. 6, No. 10 (November, 1998). Reprinted in Reframing Consciousness: Art, Mind and Technology, edited by Roy Ascott (Exeter, England: Intellect Books, 1999).
  • Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Nick Montfort, "From Software - Information Technology: Its New Meaning for Art ", in The New Media Reader (2003).
  • Lutz Dammbeck, a synopsis of the "Software" show, the planning behind it and the works it contained, 2003. (German) [1]
  • Vincent Bonin, comments on and description of the catalog of the Software show, Daniel Langlois Foundation, 2004. (French, English)


Art exhibitions and events

Second Spring Exhibition of OBMOKhU (Moscow, 1920-21), Congress of International Progressive Artists (Düsseldorf, 1922), Congress of the Constructivists and Dadaists (Weimar, 1922), First Russian Art Exhibition (Berlin, 1922), New Art Exhibition (Vilnius, 1923), Zenit Exhibition (Belgrade, 1924), Contimporanul Exhibition (Bucharest, 1924), Machine-Age Exposition (New York, 1927), a.r. International Collection of Modern Art (Łódź, 1931), New Tendencies (Zagreb, 1961-73), The Responsive Eye (New York, 1965), 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering (New York, 1966), Cybernetic Serendipity (London, 1968), Live In Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form (Bern, 1969), Information (New York, 1970), Software - Information Technology: Its New Meaning for Art (New York, 1970), Documenta 5 (Kassel, 1972), Pictures (New York, 1977), Biennial of Dissent (Venice, 1977), Les Immatériaux (Paris, 1985), Magiciens de la Terre (Paris, 1989), Hybrid Workspace (Kassel, 1997)