Devorah Sperber

An unusual digital artist.

Mention of the Stein show at SF’s MOMA prompts me to add that a far more interesting show, with insights into Stein’s collecting, writing, sponsorship of artists and friendships with photographer, is to be seen at SF’s Contemporary Jewish Museum.

The size of the show is far more manageable than the overblown offering at MOMA and you come away with a better understanding of the woman and her work. While her writing is pure, undiluted crap, we owe her a debt of thanks for sponsoring so many struggling artists and photographers.

The fact that Stein continues to inspire contemporary artists is seen in the last of the five rooms of the CJM show and one of the pieces on display there is quite startling.

Detail View: “After Picasso,” 2006, by Devorah Sperber, 5,024 spools of thread, stainless steel ball chain
and hanging apparatus, clear acrylic viewing sphere, metal stand (104″-122″ h x 100” w x 60”- 72″d)

Sperver has done nothing less than recreate, on a large scale, Picasso’s famous 1906 portrait of Gertrude Stein. Her choice of pixels is ….5,024 spools of thread! Viewed though the small magnifying glass some feet in front of the spools, the compressed and right-way-round image of Stein is a perfect reproduction of Picasso’s masterpiece.

It’s easy for me to say that anyone could do this. Simply create a look-up table for the colors of each pixel on your computer then order $30,000 worth of spools of thread. Tell your nine year old to assemble it according to your table and there you have it. All you need add is a $5 magnifying lens. And just imagine the image taking to life as your child gradually assembles it!

Simple to say because I didn’t think of it and neither did you. This is a different kind of digital imaging.

You can visit Devorah Sperber’s web site here.