Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | February 21, 2009

To Infinity and Beyond: Mathematics in Contemporary Art

I learned about this exhibition at Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY, April 19, 2008 – June 22, 2008, only as a result of my search for more Mel Brochner musings on Pythagoras (my quest was inspired by his unintentionally outrageous Meditation on the Theorem of Pythagoras. His later work is an attempt of mathematical redemption.


Mel Bochner, Theorem of Pythagoras. 1997.

Mel Bochner, Theorem of Pythagoras. 1997.


Our era is driven by the possibilities inherent in reducing countless observations to one mathematical formula and of generating seemingly random phenomena from a set of precise rules.  The geometry of the universe has been summarized in E=mc2, the Book of Life has been translated into the four-letter code of DNA, and machines computing with two digits have discerned patterns in the world of science and in everyday life.  Yet despite its central position in the modern intellectual landscape, mathematics has often mystified the  non-specialist because its secrets are written in a foreign language of mathematical symbols.

The intent of To Infinity and Beyond is to describe the ideas that drive mathematics—numbers, geometry, pattern, and so on—and to demonstrate how artists have expressed these topics.  The exhibition will include an international selection of art inspired by mathematics, and the exhibition scripting will illuminate the sources of the work as found in symbols, formulas and graphs.  Approximating a pictorial visualization of abstract concepts, To Infinity and Beyond will reveal the profound impact that these diagrams and patterns have had on the artists who create today’s visual environment, and demonstrate that mathematics—because of its abstractness—is the international language of exact thought. 

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