Past Exhibitions
Art House Santa Fe & Orange Door Chicago

Exhibitions at Art House in Santa Fe and Orange Door in Chicago change annually. Information about past exhibitions is available below.

Digital Artifacts
November 30, 2018 – October 26, 2019

Sabrina Gschwandtner, Expanding/Receding Squares, 2014, 16mm polyester film and polyester thread on Lightbox

Art House

The thematic installation Digital Artifacts brings together the work of five internationally renowned artists to consider contemporary digital culture in a wholly new way—from the perspective of future archaeologists uncovering its remnants. Featuring new and recent acquisitions from the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation, the exhibition emphasizes the material aspects of technology in a field that increasingly prioritizes simulated experiences in immaterial spaces, as in online communities or multi-player video games. Bucking the trend toward rapid acceleration that structures most exhibitions of its kind, Digital Artifacts pauses to ask why technology defines our future, and what we can learn by looking to our past.

Artists Michal Rovner, Casey Reas, Guillermo Galindo, Josh Tonsfeldt, and Sabrina Gschwandtner imagine our present moment as that past, adapting the conventions of collecting, preservation, documentation, and display more often associated with natural history museums than high tech.

Red Ladder (Backstage) by Iván Navarro
November 30, 2018 – October 26, 2019

Iván Navarro, Red Ladder (Backstage), 2005, fluorescent lights, red color sleeves, metal fixtures, and electric energy

Art House

Iván Navarro grew up in Chile under the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet (1973–1989). He reflects, “I never traveled outside Chile during that period. We lived with the feeling of fear every day because it was a violent situation… The power went down every other day around nine o’clock at night until five the next morning in order to keep people in their houses and under control… The everyday reality was getting ready for the night—food, candles, water. Because when the power went out, the water went off. We knew every other night was going to be like that.”

Navarro relocated to New York in 1997 where he has consistently used electronic light as an expressive and inspiring material, such as Red Ladder (Backstage), which evokes a fictional portal for escape to an alternate reality.

Message from our planet
Summer 2018 – Summer 2019

Daniel Canogar, Rise / Times Square, July 2014, 2015, high resolution screen display, generative animation, computer

Orange Door

An art collection is like a time capsule—we collect objects in order to protect the past while imagining how they serve the future. To future generations, the art and artifacts of our era will represent the turns of our existence, survival and mastery. The works on view in Message from Our Planet use the abstract languages of geometry, light and code to convey their messages, demonstrating a human desire to communicate deeply yet be understood universally. These works have been brought together for their vivid worldviews.

Message from Our Planet is organized like an interstellar time capsule, inspired by NASA’s Golden Record (an LP curated with human achievements like math and Mozart) beamed to outer space on Voyager I in 1977. Will others be inspired by our achievements and model themselves on our masterpieces like the Romans did the ancient Greeks? Will there be a museum dedicated to the Information Age? How will our messages be received?

Artists included: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, John Gerrard, Christian Marclay, Siebren Versteeg, Daniel Canogar, Manfred Mohr, Jenny Holzer, R. Luke DuBois, Guillermo Galindo, Peter Sarkisian, Kenneth Knowlton, Leon Harmon, and Sarah Frost.

Abstract in the Digital Era and The Algorists
Summer 2018 – Summer 2019

Victor Vasarely, Photon B, 1966, tempera on wood board
Orange Door

The artists in Abstract Art in the Digital Era looked to emerging digital technologies to pioneer new types of abstract art. Many first worked with conventional art materials and later discovered creative coding to introduce new methods of precision, automation, and experimentation into their practices.

Artists included: Victor Vasarely, Frederick Hammersley, June Harwood, Leo Villareal, and Lee Mullican.

The Algorists features a room dedicated to a group of artists who code their own software to produce computer-assisted drawings. They began working at the dawn of modern computing in the 1960s. In 1995 Jean-Pierre Hébert adapted the mathematical term and wrote the Algorist manifesto, as code, to identify a broader artistic community. An algorithm is a set of mathematical instructions that can be carried out by a computer, especially when they are complex beyond human capability. Artist Roman Verostko calls this a “recipe” for creating art. Although algorithmic procedures have been used creatively for centuries, from basket and textile weaving to Islamic mosaic and music notation, the computer provided tools and techniques more precise than traditional hand-made methods.

Artists included: Peter Beyls, Jean-Pierre Hébert, Desmond Paul Henry, Manfred Mohr, Vera Molnar, Frieder Nake, Roman Verostko, Harold Cohen, and Mark Wilson.

Eye Contact: Portraits in the Global Age
August 10, 2018 – August 13, 2019

Daniel Rozin, Selfish Gene Mirror, 2015, custom software, webcam, computer, and monitor

Art House

Eye Contact: Portraits in the Global Age brings together works from the Thoma Foundation’s diverse collections of Spanish Colonial painting and Digital Art for the first time. Eye Contact considers portraiture as a sociological art in which the notion of personhood is subjected to the vicissitudes of globalism. While portraits are commissioned and created to commemorate individual identity, they are repositories—at times unwittingly—of the sociopolitical forces around them: world trade, colonialism, or advances in technology. The three artworks on view span more than two centuries, from 1776 to 2015, and include Robert Wilson’s video portrait of Lady Gaga in the guise of early 19th century French aristocrat Caroline Riviere, styled in accordance with the famous painting of Riviere by Jean Auguste Dominque Ingres; Andrés Solano’s Portrait of Ana Josepha de Castañeda y de la Requere from 1776; and Daniel Rozin’s Selfish Gene Mirror, in which viewers temporarily become the subject via a small camera and Rozin’s customized “Darwinian” algorithm.

June 15, 2018 – May 25, 2019

TRANSFER Download, installation from the Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco, 2016

Art House

TRANSFER Download opened Summer 2018 at Art House in concert with the Santa Fe’s Currents New Media and Futurition Festivals. The exhibition features new digital artworks by fifteen international artists showcased in an interactive display chamber called a hyperspace. Visitors can select artworks to view from a menu within an immersive projection area.

TRANSFER Download brings together the latest generation of artists engaging with powerful technologies of 3D animation software, gaming engines, and algorithmic simulation, including Lorna Mills, Lu Yang, Carla Gannis, AES+F, Claudia Hart, LaTurbo Avedon, Theo Triantafyllidis, Alex McLeod, Rollin Leonard, Sabrina Ratté, Rick Silva and Nicolas Sassoon, Snow Yunxue Fu, Phillip David Stearns, Harvey Moon, and Daniel Temkin.

Second skin
September 22, 2017 – September 20, 2018

Leo Villareal, Particle Field, 2017, Generative software animation on three OLED monitors

Orange Door

Second Skin proposes that an artwork’s surface is an interface (to use a digital metaphor) or a membrane (to use a biological one) created to express a shared, social identity. Bringing together artworks in a range of media from 1970 through 2017, including costumes, flags, paint on canvas and digital illusions, Second Skin shows how virtual selfhood is communicated and manifest in material, real time and place.

Artists included: Matilde Pérez, Harold Cohen, Elias Sime, Nick Cave, Jon Rafman, John Gerrard, Jim Campbell, Kenneth Young, Daniel Canogar, and Guillermo Galindo.


Color games
September 22, 2017 – September 20, 2018

Karl Benjamin, #7, 1994, Oil on canvas

Orange Door

Color Games features six artworks with color palettes generated by random processes—including computer algorithms, user participation, and the element of chance—across six decades of hard-edge, kinetic and digital art. The use of chance as a creative strategy liberates artists from the formal rules of art and generates serendipitous art encounters. Color Games includes paintings by California Hard-Edge artist Karl Benjamin, Op artist John Goodyear, Victor Vasarely—who allowed collectors to choose his sculpture’s design with a do-it-yourself sticker package—and digital artists Jason Salavon and Leo Villareal.

Artists included: Carl Benjamin, Jason Salavon, Leo Villareal, Victor Vasarely, and John Goodyear.


CYBERBODIES & Code as form
October 20, 2017 – October 12, 2018

Lynn Hershman Leeson, Deep Contact, 1984-1989, Interactive touchscreen installation

Art House

Cyberbodies explores the ways in which emerging technologies extend, distort, and disrupt how bodies—especially women’s—are viewed as objects of desire in digital culture. The technologies include interactive videodisc and touchscreen, a pre-internet Minitel system, and customized generative software. On view are works by Ken Knowlton and Leon Harmon (Experiments in Art and Technology), Lynn Hershman Leeson, and Eduardo Kac.

Code as Form is a presentation of visual, optical, and abstract art generated from biometric data, acoustic signals, music and Morse Code, revealing data itself to be a wellspring of artistic forms. Works by Guillermo Galindo, video art pioneers Beryl Korot and Steina Vasulka, Brigitte Kowanz, Vera Molnar, and Laura Splan are included.


September 15, 2016 – September 8, 2017

Frank Stella (1936 – ), Jablonow II, 1971, acrylic and felt on shaped canvas.

Orange Door

Shadow and Space brings together painting and sculpture in which artists use unconventional materials to find new forms. Inspired by the Light & Space movement of Southern California in the 1960s, the exhibition dovetails on that genre’s innovative use of lighting effects for the purpose of producing optically sensitive content. For the artists in this exhibition, atmospheric phenomena such as ambient light, shadow, translucent plastic, reflected color, as well as industrial materials like nails and moving parts, were used to evolve the expressive range of abstraction.

The exhibition features a fluorescent installation by Robert Irwin, shaped canvas paintings by Frank Stella and Manfred Mohr, a sculptural work by Anne Truitt, and a fluorescent sculpture created by Dan Flavin.

Artists included: Peter Alexander, John Goodyear, Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, Manfred Mohr, Frank Stella, Luis Tomasello, Anne Truitt, and Günther Uecker.

September 15, 2016 – September 8, 2017

Eduardo Kac, Tesão, 1986/2016, software animation on vintage Minitel terminal. © Eduardo Kac.

Orange Door

This micro-exhibition of six contemporary digital artworks reveals what happens to obsolete, aging or antiquated communications technologies after artists resuscitate them. The artworks propose that creative interventions in mass media such as the internet, film, television and music recordings can emulate the power structures of mass-media communications, but also their ephemerality.

Artists included: Guillermo Galindo, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Eduardo Kac, Matthew Kluber, Jon Rafman, and Jason Salavon.


Mouse in the Machine: Nature in the Age of Digital Art
June 10, 2016 – May 31, 2017

Marina Zurkow, Mesocosm (Wink, TX), 2012, real-time computer program

Art House

Mouse in the Machine: Nature in the Age of Digital Art features 15 digital and software-based artworks by 12 artists from the Thoma art collection to examine the intersection of technology and nature. Using customized software and code, the artworks simulate lifelike biological and ecological systems to emulate the passage of time, seasons and lifecycles.

The exhibition features a video art aquarium by Nam June Paik, realtime generative computer animations by John Gerrard and Marina Zurkow, an interactive augmented reality conveyor belt by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and drawings produced by the world’s first and most successful artificially intelligent painting machine, created by Harold Cohen.

Artists included: Alan Rath, Bruce Nauman, Daniel Canogar, Daniel Rozin, Harold Cohen, James Nares, Jim Campbell, John Gerrard, Marina Zurkow, Nam June Paik, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and Stephen Wilkes.


Luminous Flux 2.0: New + Historic Works from the Digital Art Frontier
July 24, 2015 – April 30, 2016

Sabrina Gschwandtner, Camouflage II, 2015. Courtesy of Shoshana Wayne Gallery. Photographer: Tom Powel.

Art House

LUMINOUS FLUX 2.0: New + Historic Works from the Digital Art Frontier is the second iteration, and a refresh, of the original exhibition at Art House, an exhibition space in Santa Fe, New Mexico, dedicated to sharing works from the Thoma Foundation collections. The exhibition features technological artworks from the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation collection spanning over fifty years of the digital art genre, including computer, light-based and electronic artworks from pioneering experimenters and contemporary innovators, such as a film quilt by Sabrina Gschwandtner, an internet-based painting automaton by Siebren Versteeg, and Leo Villareal’s animated LED sequence. Luminous Flux 2.0 is curated by Jason Foumberg, Thoma Foundation curator.

With the digital boom. artists immediately grasped the potential of electronic media, often before it became commercially available. They applied cutting-edge computer engineering and software coding skills, such as algorithms, circuits, digital video, Internet search engines and interactive biometrics, in order to create visual expressions.

The earliest works in the exhibition, drawings from the 1960s by Desmond Paul Henry, made use of a pre-digital analog computer. The artistic impulse to collaborate with machines continued through the 1970s with Jean-Pierre Hébert’s precisely coded algorithmic drawings, and into the present as digital media becomes more ubiquitous and complex. A special focus of this exhibition is how artists create images and visual experiences in the digital age. As many of these artworks heighten or alter perception using new technologies such as LEDs, custom-built circuits, and the virtual world within the computer screen, it can be said that artists invent new ways of seeing.

The title and concept of Luminous Flux comes from physics; it is the measure of light energy, or brilliance, perceived by the human eye from a light source. The exhibition adapts this term in order to highlight the interactive experience of engaging optically stimulating artworks. In other words, the artwork is complete when a viewer experiences.

Artists included: Alan Rath, Anne Morgan Spalter, Björn Schülke, Craig Dorety, Jean-Pierre Hébert, Jim Campbell, John F Simon Jr, Leo Villareal, Manfred Mohr, Paul Desmond Henry, Peter Sarkisian, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Sabrina Gschwandtner, and Siebren Versteeg.



Luminous Flux
September 24, 2014 – March 21, 2016

Jim Campbell, Home Movies, Pause, 2014. Courtesy of Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery.

Art House

Luminous Flux, the inaugural exhibition at Art House in Santa Fe, NM, features innovative computer, digital, interactive, video and electroluminescent art from the Thoma Foundation collection, including stimulating works by Leo Villareal, Jim Campbell, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Manfred Mohr, Anne Morgan Spalter, John F. Simon, Jr., Daniel Canogar, Sarah Frost, Teo González, Howard Mehring, Paul Reed, Jason Salavon, Peter Sarkisian, Björn Schülke, Federico Solmi and Roman Verostko.

Over the past 30 years, Carl and Marilynn Thoma have built a diverse collection dedicated to several major art movements, one being contemporary artists who embrace emerging technologies. The Thomas believe that electronic and digital art reflect the essence and progress of contemporary culture. Luminous Flux showcases significant artworks from computer and light art pioneers, as well as their optically radiant precursors in abstract painting from the 1960s. The evolution of algorithm-based visual art, from Op Art through today’s creative expressions of software, is a story not often told in art history. Notable in this exhibition are the artists who have mastered the craft of computer art, its circuitry, and coding, as an extension of the rule-based painting systems that dominated geometric art in the twentieth century.

Artworks chosen from the Foundation’s collection shed light on topics such as color perception, the abstraction of the human body via digital media, the computerization of drawing practices and the occasional anxiety induced by rapidly changing technology. In sum, the exhibition is intended to inspire viewers to think about life in the digital era.