Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon at San Jose Museum of Art

Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon

“Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon” is an exhibition at San Jose Museum of Art running through October 19th that features robot themed art from more than 20 artists.

Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon examines the development of robot iconography in fine art over the past 50 years. In 1920, the term robot was coined from a Czech word robota, which means tedious labor. Since then, the image and the idea of a robot have evolved remarkably from an awkward, mechanical creature to a sophisticated android with artificial intelligence and the potential for human-like consciousness. As robotic technology catches up with the wild imagination of science fiction novels, movies, and animation, dreams and fears anticipated in these stories may also become reality. Artists included in the exhibition have responded to the technological innovation with optimism, pessimism, and humor, presenting work that ultimately explores our ambivalent attitudes towards robots.

Here’s my good friend JoAnne Northrup, senior curator of the San Jose Museum of Art, giving an introduction to the Robots exhibition.

This Thursday, May 15th robotics researcher Daniel Wilson will be giving a talk as part of the Creative Minds Speaker Series about his book “How to Survive a Robot Uprising”. Tickets for the event are available online.

painting: “What We Ought Not, We Do” (2006) by Eric Joyner

Scott Beale
Scott Beale

Scott Beale founded Laughing Squid in 1995 in San Francisco and is currently based in New York City. When not running the blog, Scott can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.