Joseph Nechvatal

(Chicago, Illinois, 1951 - )

Spartans Mesmerized by Facts


Graphite on paper

11 1/16 x 13 7/8 in. (28.2 x 35.3 cm)

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts an


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Nechvatal creates a dense field of seemingly statically-charged images—congested patterns of human and animal forms, vegetation and figures. In this frenetic network of lines, bodies emerge from the chaos only to recede back into it. Nechvatal’s heavy use of graphite suggests a landscape submerged in industrial residue. The artist embraces concerns about everything from pollution to international politics, advertising and nuclear war. Ever interested in systems, by the late 1980s, Nechvatal had embraced technology as a means to make art. Today he designs programs to create computer-assisted paintings and animations. “In the mid-1980s,” he states, “I could already observe the coming rise of electronic media . . . as the controlling, organizing force of social power.”


title, signature, artist stamp and date on back in ink