Electric Op

Buffalo AKG Art Museum / Musée d'arts de Nantes
Jacob Gaboury, Lindsay Caplan, Tina Rivers Ryan, Zsofi Valyi-Nagy
Electric Op

Electric Op

In association with the Buffalo AKG Art Museum and Musée d'arts de Nantes

Forthcoming September 2024

An English/French bilingual volume that traces the enduring legacy of geometric abstraction through the last six decades of electronic art and culture.

One of the most popular artistic styles of the 20th century, Op art transformed European geometric abstraction into a global phenomenon in the mid-1960s. Its disorienting patterns and illusions, rendered with machine-like precision, became icons of the futuristic Space Age. As the 1960s faded, Op became a short-lived fad, dismissed by art historians and critics as visual kitsch. However, over the last 15 years, many museums have reintroduced Op to audiences who enthusiastically embrace it as a reflection of contemporary life. Emerging at precisely the same time as mainstream video technologies and the modern digital computer, Op helped shape the aesthetics of electronic media, becoming the first artistic movement of the Information Age.

Featuring plates of 123 artworks by 88 international artists and collectives from the 1960s to the present (including Victor Vasarely, Vera Molnar, Lillian Schwartz, JODI, Ryoji Ikeda and Cory Arcangel), Electric Op offers a scholarly re-evaluation of the legacy of abstraction and the surprisingly intertwined histories of contemporary and digital art. It is also a blockbuster of dazzling works that appeal to all ages, including iconic masterpieces alongside rarely-seen gems. Outstanding works from the collections of the Buffalo AKG Art Museum and the Musée d’arts de Nantes are supplemented with key loans from other major museums, private collections and artists.


Tina Rivers Ryan is a curator at the Buffalo AKG Art Museum
Lindsay Caplan is assistant professor of History of Art and Architecture at Brown University
Zsofi Valyi-Nagy is an artist and postdoctoral scholar in residence at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
Jacob Gaboury is an associate professor of Film & Media at the University of California, Berkeley


Foreword by Janne Sirén, Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director, Buffalo AKG Art Museum and Sophie Lévy, Director-Curator, Musée d’arts de Nantes
Electric Op by Tina Rivers Ryan
Mixed Metaphors: Op Art and the Science of Perception by Lindsay Caplan
Toward a Science of Art: Visual Research in Europe by Zsofi Valyi-Nagy
Grids and Vectors: The Aesthetics of the Digital by Jacob Gaboury