Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872) personifies the artist-intellectual-business person who can help accelerate change. Morse did very well with commissioned portrait paintings gaining renown but the entrepreneur in him wanted to create works of an educational value that the public would pay to see. Just 34 years after the passage of the United States Constitution, Morse painted a monumental historical work, The House of Representatives. Intended as a painting to be publicly displayed for profit on a `road-tour,' but as a popular diversion it was a financial failure. His historical painting had about as much appeal for the general audience of the 1820s as "educational TV" had for the Middle Americans of the 1960s. While portrait painting remained his livelihood, by the 1830s Morse began experiments with electricity. Borrowing liberally from the real scientists of his day, he had a prototype telegraph to show by 1837.
During a trip to Europe to garner support for his new invention, Samuel Morse met Jacques Louis Mandé Daguerre, a kindred spirit in both art and in technological exploration. His fascination with Daguerre's new imaging technology encouraged him to open a studio in New York upon his return in 1839. His studio did not do well but Morse had influence during this early history of the medium in America. He may have introduced Matthew Brady among others to photography. However, Morse had a greater degree of success in 1844 with the first public demonstration of his electric telegraph sending messages between Baltimore. In 1994 we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the precursor of the "information superhighway."
Reality? Introduction Revolution Satellites Spirit of Invention Nation Building Priesthood and Sisterhood TV Community Old Art, New Look New Art, New Ontology 10_holtzer_shaw.html Interactive Installations Interactive Publishing Art and the Net Truth?