COHEN, Harold

 Harold Cohen  British 1928-2016

Harold Cohen, painter born in London in 1928. After serving in RAF he studied at Slade School of Art, 1948-52. After which he spent six months in Italy on an Abbey minor Travelling Scholarship. Upon his return and after two years of teaching at Camberwell School of Art, Cohen opened a small furniture workshop, 1955. In 1951 he had his first solo exhibition in Oxford, followed by three London shows with Gimpel Fils. During the ‘sixties he represented Great Britain in the Venice Biennale, Documenta 3, the Paris Biennale, the Carnegie International and many other important international shows. He exhibited regularly at the Robert Fraser Gallery in London and the Alan Stone Gallery in New York. He has continued to design furniture and textiles. His work is in the Arts Council collection and the Tate Gallery.

However, after moving to San Diego, Cohen became interested in computer programming and particularly in the field of artificial intelligence. On the basis of his early research he was invited, in 1971, to spend two years at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of Stanford University as a Guest Scholar. Much of his work since that time has been concerned with building a machine-based simulation of the cognitive processes underlying the human act of drawing. The resulting ongoing program, AARON, has by now been seen producing original “freehand” drawings in museums and science centers in the US, Europe and Japan: the Los Angeles County Museum, Documenta-6, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Brooklyn Museum, the Tate Gallery in London and the IBM Gallery in New York among others. He has also exhibited in a number of science centers, including the Ontario Science Center, Pittsburgh’s Buhl Center, the Science Museum in Boston and the California Museum of Science and Technology. He has a permanent exhibit in the Computer Museum in Boston, and he represented the US in the Japan World Fair in Tsukuba in 1985.

His published writings include “What is an Image?” (Conference Proceedings, IJCAI 1979), “The First Artificial Intelligence Coloring Book,” “Off the Shelf,” (The Visual Computer, 1986), “Can Computers Make Art?” (proceedings, NICOGRAPH-85), “How to Draw Three People in a Botanical Garden,” (proceedings, AAAI-88), “The Further Exploits of AARON, Painter,” (Stanford Humanities Review, 1997) and a piece for children in MUSE Magazine, 1998.

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