Charles Csuri: Art & Research in Three Acts
The experimental work of Charles Csuri (1922–2022) undoubtedly shaped the world of computer art, prompting Smithsonian Magazine to dub him “the father of digital art and computer animation.” Csuri was the founder of the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) at The Ohio State University and co-founder of Cranston/Csuri Productions (CCP), giving rise to groundbreaking innovations in animation.
Charles Csuri: Art & Research in Three Acts will present a memorial exhibition at Hopkins Hall Gallery—hosted by Ohio State’s Urban Arts Space—that brings the public into an experience of Csuri’s life as both an artist and researcher. Highlights from the collection include previously unseen works from 1967–2022, the full version of the 1967 film Hummingbird as one of the earliest examples of computer animation, and Random War, which used a random number generator to underscore the indiscriminate impact of war.
The project involves over a dozen collaborators across disciplines at Ohio State and within the Columbus community. In addition, the exhibition aims to spark conversations around the hot-button topics of AI art and the role of machines in the art-making process. Free public programming will include a virtual author talk from James Bridle; an on-campus visit from artist Tega Brain; an AI art workshop; a community block party with VR/AR technology; and an interdisciplinary debate about the pros and cons of AI.
Janice Glowski, Director of The Frank Museum of Art & Galleries at Otterbein University and curator of the upcoming exhibition, has curated Csuri’s work since 1999 and knew the artist personally. “Professor Csuri was a true polymath who worked for more than twenty years as an accomplished painter before spearheading the digital art movement at Ohio State,” Glowski shares. “He was kind, determined, and infinitely curious—an artist-researcher who established diverse collaborations with scientists, engineers, mathematicians, educators, programmers, and international curators who remediated some of his most iconic artworks. Charles Csuri: Art & Research in Three Acts explores Csuri’s work at Ohio State and his history as a creative and a catalyst for innovation.”
Act I of the exhibition will be on view at Hopkins Hall Gallery from August 28–September 22 and will explore the “Artist as Interrupter.” Csuri walked out of the Ohio State Department of Art in 1964 to meet with faculty in mathematics, computer science, and engineering. In doing so, he interrupted the university’s siloed, disciplinary spaces. Act II, “Artist as Principal Investigator,” will share Csuri’s film and animation projects funded by the National Science Foundation and developed with the Computer Graphics Research Group (CGRG; later ACCAD), on view from October 2–20. Act III will center on the “Artist Returns to the Studio,” showing the “artist’s toolkit” Csuri created for making computer art during a time in which there were no software programs for that purpose, and his resulting creative work. The final act will run from October 30–November 17.
Urban Arts Space invites the public to celebrate the life and work of Chuck Csuri during this free exhibition. For the full list of events and dates, visit uas.osu.edu/charles-csuri.