new-york

View of “Brion Gysin: Dream Machine,” 2010, New Museum, New York. From left: Untitled, 1973–79; That I Am I, 1961; untitled, 1973–79. Photo: Naho Kubota.

Brion Gysin

New Museum

View of “Brion Gysin: Dream Machine,” 2010, New Museum, New York. From left: Untitled, 1973–79; That I Am I, 1961; untitled, 1973–79. Photo: Naho Kubota.

IN 1962, AT THE GALLERIA Trastevere di Topazia Alliata in Rome, Brion Gysin covered a wall with paintings and filled the space with manipulated, tape-recorded sound poetry. Neither paintings nor poetry could be contemplated serenely, however, for—in addition to permuting the canvases’ arrangement each day—Gysin bathed the room in the vision-inducing light effects of a Dreamachine, the rotating flicker device he created with Ian Sommerville in 1960 and patented in 1961. The goal, explained Gysin, was to produce “A Chapel of Extreme Experience.” Although the New Museum in New York chose not to re-create Gysin’s optimal exhibition when it organized the artist’s first US retrospective, “Brion Gysin: Dream Machine,” which closed on October 3, all the elements of that ideal show, and more, could be found there.

The exhibition made short work of Gysin’s early years, dispatching

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