Casey Reas: METAVASARELY and An Empty Room

In conjunction with the exhibition Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952–1982, LACMA's Art + Technology Lab presents a two-part digital work by Casey Reas: a simulation of and homage to Victor Vasarely's unrealized proposal for LACMA's Art and Technology Program (1967–1971). Envisioned during a period in which Vasarely was interested in cybernetics and permutation, the proposal defined a machine composed of lights arranged in a grid that would generate millions of different visual patterns related to his paintings. Estimated to cost $2,000,000 USD to fabricate at the time, the project was deemed prohibitively expensive and was left unrealized. Commissioned by LACMA, Reas's response is presented in two parts. METAVASARELY, the first component, explores and simulates Vasarely's proposed machine, while the second, An Empty Room, consists of a software art homage to Vasarely, beginning with his ideas of a "binary plastic language" and continuing into unknown territory.



An Empty Room
April 9–July 2, 2023
BCAM, Level 2 (on-site)

Casey Reas, Work-in-progress image from An Empty Room. Courtesy of the artist
Casey Reas, Work-in-progress image from An Empty Room. Courtesy of the artist.


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About the Artist

Reas's software, prints, and installations have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Asia. His work ranges from small works on paper to urban-scale installations, and he balances solo work in the studio with collaborations with architects and musicians. Reas's work is in a range of private and public collections, including the Centre Georges Pompidou and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Reas is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Media Arts and Sciences and a bachelor's degree from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. With Ben Fry, Reas initiated Processing in 2001; Processing is an open-source programming language and environment for the visual arts.

Art + Tech Lab Archive