Harold Cohen: AARON

Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street
This exhibition traces the evolution of Harold Cohen’s AARON, the earliest artificial intelligence (AI) program for artmaking. Leaving behind his practice as an established painter in London, Cohen (1928–2016) conceived the software in the late 1960s... more
This exhibition traces the evolution of Harold Cohen’s AARON, the earliest artificial intelligence (AI) program for artmaking. Leaving behind his practice as an established painter in London, Cohen (1928–2016) conceived the software in the late 1960s at the University of California, San Diego, and named it AARON in the early 1970s. The title alludes to the biblical figure anointed as speaker for his brother Moses, and questions how artistic creation is often glorified as a form of communication with the divine. Cohen understood his work with AARON to be a collaboration, and he devoted his life to exploring the potential of artificial intelligence to translate an artist’s knowledge and process into code.Over the decades the AARON software has created images meant to be executed by drawing and painting devices, as well as visuals for display on monitors or as projections. To generate AARON’s output, Cohen built his own plotters and painting machines, which interpret commands from a computer to make line drawings on paper with automated pens and add color with brushes. Drawn from the Whitney’s collection, this exhibition not only features AARON works, but also highlights the software ... more
This exhibition traces the evolution of Harold Cohen’s AARON, the earliest artificial intelligence (AI) program for artmaking. Leaving behind his practice as an established painter in London, Cohen (1928–2016) conceived the software in the late 1960s at the University of California, San Diego, and named it AARON in the early 1970s. The title alludes to the biblical figure anointed as speaker for his brother Moses, and questions how artistic creation is often glorified as a form of communication with the divine. Cohen understood his work with AARON to be a collaboration, and he devoted his life to exploring the potential of artificial intelligence to translate an artist’s knowledge and process into code.

Over the decades the AARON software has created images meant to be executed by drawing and painting devices, as well as visuals for display on monitors or as projections. To generate AARON’s output, Cohen built his own plotters and painting machines, which interpret commands from a computer to make line drawings on paper with automated pens and add color with brushes. Drawn from the Whitney’s collection, this exhibition not only features AARON works, but also highlights the software as the central creative force behind them through screen-based versions of the program and drawings made by plotters operating live in the gallery.

As artificial intelligence tools for image creation have entered the mainstream with text prompt–driven software such as DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion, Harold Cohen: AARON provides important historical perspective. It also offers deeper explorations of ideas about creativity, authorship, and collaboration in the context of AI.


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Harold Cohen: AARON

Fri, April 12
10:30AM
$
Members: Free
Adults: $30
Seniors/Students: $24
Under 18: Free

Notes: Pay-what-you-wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays, 7–9:30 pm. They may not be purchased in advance.
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Sat, April 13
10:30AM
$
Members: Free
Adults: $30
Seniors/Students: $24
Under 18: Free

Notes: Pay-what-you-wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays, 7–9:30 pm. They may not be purchased in advance.
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Sun, April 14
10:30AM
$
Members: Free
Adults: $30
Seniors/Students: $24
Under 18: Free

Notes: Pay-what-you-wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays, 7–9:30 pm. They may not be purchased in advance.
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Mon, April 15
10:30AM
$
Members: Free
Adults: $30
Seniors/Students: $24
Under 18: Free

Notes: Pay-what-you-wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays, 7–9:30 pm. They may not be purchased in advance.
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Tue, April 16
10:30AM
$
Members: Free
Adults: $30
Seniors/Students: $24
Under 18: Free

Notes: Pay-what-you-wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays, 7–9:30 pm. They may not be purchased in advance.
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Wed, April 17
10:30AM
$
Members: Free
Adults: $30
Seniors/Students: $24
Under 18: Free

Notes: Pay-what-you-wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays, 7–9:30 pm. They may not be purchased in advance.
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Thu, April 18
10:30AM
$
Members: Free
Adults: $30
Seniors/Students: $24
Under 18: Free

Notes: Pay-what-you-wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays, 7–9:30 pm. They may not be purchased in advance.
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Fri, April 19
10:30AM
$
Members: Free
Adults: $30
Seniors/Students: $24
Under 18: Free

Notes: Pay-what-you-wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays, 7–9:30 pm. They may not be purchased in advance.
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Sat, April 20
10:30AM
$
Members: Free
Adults: $30
Seniors/Students: $24
Under 18: Free

Notes: Pay-what-you-wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays, 7–9:30 pm. They may not be purchased in advance.
Get Tickets
Sun, April 21
10:30AM
$
Members: Free
Adults: $30
Seniors/Students: $24
Under 18: Free

Notes: Pay-what-you-wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays, 7–9:30 pm. They may not be purchased in advance.
Get Tickets
Mon, April 22
10:30AM
$
Members: Free
Adults: $30
Seniors/Students: $24
Under 18: Free

Notes: Pay-what-you-wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays, 7–9:30 pm. They may not be purchased in advance.
Get Tickets
Occurs 27 more times through May 19

Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 570-3600
Website

Schedule

Apr 12, Fri 10:30AM - 6:00PM
Apr 13, Sat 10:30AM - 6:00PM
Apr 14, Sun 10:30AM - 6:00PM
Apr 15, Mon 10:30AM - 6:00PM
See complete schedule

Admission From

Free

Category

Arts

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