Two Holes of Water—3 part of 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering, a series of innovative dance, music, and theatre performances initiated by the original E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology) program.
“Robert Whitman (born 1935 in New York City) is an American artist best known for his seminal theater pieces of the early 1960s combining visual and sound images, actors, film, slides, and evocative props in environments of his own making. Since the late 1960s he has worked with new technologies, and his most recent work incorporates cellphones. Whitman studied literature at Rutgers University from 1953 to 1957 and art history at Columbia University in 1958. He is represented by The Pace Gallery in New York. He was a member of the group of visual artists – Allan Kaprow, Red Grooms, Jim Dine, and Claes Oldenburg – who in the early 1960s presented theater pieces on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. Whitman has presented more than 40 theater pieces in the United States and abroad, including American Moon, E.G. and Mouth at the Rueben Gallery. Night Time Sky was his contribution to the First New York Theater Rally in New York in 1965; Prune Flat was first presented at the Cinematheque in New York in 1965 and has been performed numerous times since. In 1966, Whitman was one of the 10 New York artists who worked with Billy Klüver and more than 30 engineers and scientists from Bell Telephone Laboratories to create works that incorporated new technology for 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering, a series of performance artworks presented October 13–23 in 1966 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. For this piece, Two Holes of Water- 3, Whitman used seven automobiles on the floor of the Armory, from which were projected film, over-the-air television programs, and closed-circuit television projections of live performances and actions, including images from one of the first fiber-optic miniature video cameras. A retrospective, Robert Whitman: Theater Works, 1960–1976 held in 1976 sponsored by the Dia Art Foundation and presented six earlier works and the premiere of Light Touch. … He has collaborated with engineers on installations and works that incorporate new technology: laser sculptures, including Solid Red Line, in which a red line draws itself around the walls of a room and then erases itself; Pon, a sound-activated metallized PET film mirror installation shown at The Jewish Museum in New York in 1969. His long collaboration with optics scientist John Forkner began with a mirror, light and sound installation for the Art and Technology exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1971. …”
UbuWeb: Robert Whitman (Video), UbuWeb: Window (Audio), UbuWeb: Cell Phone Performance (Audio)
DIA: Robert Whitman
Excerpt from interview with Robert Whitman by Alessandra Nicifero, 2014 (Audio)
Robert Whitman: 61 – Pace Gallery