John F. Simon Jr.American (Louisiana, 1963)
Color Panel v1.0
Simon is an artist who is interested in progression and seriality, and he often writes special software to set his ideas in motion. Color Panel v1.0 is part of a series of works that began with Every Icon, a 1997 program configured to run on any computer platform, from PCs to handheld devices. Over time (the program's cycle literally takes billions of years to complete), Every Icon's software performs all possible combinations of pixels within a given field.
The completion cycle of Color Panel v1.0 is much shorter by comparison: a mere 70 years. This is, of course, a very long time in light of the nearly immediate obsolescence of most computer equipment. Simon takes a humorous yet critical stance toward the prevailing "upgrade culture," wryly acknowledging that his "software systems are usually designed to outlast their hardware." Running his program on components salvaged from a long-outdated laptop, the artist transforms an everyday interface for working and processing data into a space for aesthetic contemplation.
Color Panel v1.0 is among the first pieces of software acquired for SFMOMA's collection. As such, it poses a number of questions regarding the nature of the work of art. In this way Simon takes his place among a lineage of artists who have valued the artistic gesture over the resulting object, from Sol LeWitt to Yoko Ono to Lawrence Weiner.