Pamela Lee’s book considers the ways in which the cold war think tank, with its ideas of systems theory and operational research, introduced models of interdisciplinary thinking consistent with the emergence of visual culture. The book will show how the networked and collaborative models of research associated with systems discourse paved the way for a new approach to the image, one that could variously treat works of art and Rorschach tests alike as radically intelligible visual phenomena. Her study will examine relationships between nuclear strategists and art historians, as in the strange connection between the early RAND analyst Albert Wohlstetter and the art historian Meyer Schapiro, as well as the aesthetics and design of managerial culture and their curatorial afterlife as new media art as demonstrated by Cybesyn, Stafford Beer’s program of management cybernetics and its recent reconstruction as a work of installation art.

Pamela Lee is professor of art history at Stanford University, where she has taught the history, theory, and criticism of art since 1997. She is the author of two books, both published by MIT Press: Chronophobia: On Time in the Art of the 1960s and Object to be Destroyed: The Work of Gordon Matta-Clark. Lee’s writing has appeared in a number of journals and magazines, including ArtforumParkettRes: Anthropology and AestheticsOctober, and Texte zur Kunst.