Vera Molnár, Pioneer of Computer Art #ArtTuesday #Computers #Art

Vera Molnár, a Hungarian-born artist who was a pioneer of computer art, has passed away at 99. Experimenting with algorithms, she began to employ the principles of computation in her work even before she gained access to an actual computer.

Her computer-aided paintings and drawings, which drew inspiration from geometric works by Piet Mondrian and Paul Klee, were eventually exhibited in major museums like the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

She took her first step into the silicon age in 1968, when she got access to a computer at a university research laboratory in Paris. In the days when computers were generally reserved for scientific or military applications, it took a combination of gumption and ’60s idealism for an artist to attempt to gain access to a machine that was “very complicated and expensive,” she once said, adding, “They were selling calculation time in seconds.”

Making art on Apollo-era computers was anything but intuitive. Ms. Molnár had to learn early computer languages like Basic and Fortran and enter her data with punch cards, and she had to wait several days for the results, which were transferred to paper with a plotter printer.

Ms. Molnár acquired her first personal computer in 1980, allowing her to “work as I wanted and when I wanted. It was great to go to bed at night and hear the computer and the plotter working by themselves in the workshop.”

You can read more on Wikipedia and an article in the New York Times.

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