(1928 ― 2016)
Harold Cohen was a British artist whose innovations at the forefront of technology changed the face of computer art. Unfolding where art and artificial intelligence intersect, Cohen's artistic practice was punctuated by his famed invention of AARON, a computer programme designed to create art independently. Cohen's work attracted global attention and was exhibited at major institutions such as Tate London and SFMOMA.
Having graduated from Slade School of Fine Art, Cohen's first solo exhibition was held at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford in 1951. Further solo shows followed, including at Whitechapel Gallery in 1965. Cohen represented the UK at the 1966 Venice Biennale, Documenta III, the Paris Biennale, and the Carnegie International.
Cohen relocated to the United States as a visiting lecturer at the University of California, San Diego, in 1968. Cohen remained at UC San Diego (UCSD) for almost three decades, as professor, chairman of the Visual Arts Department and eventually in 1992, director of the Centre for Research in Computing and the Arts. During this time Cohen began work on AARON, a venture to which he would devote the next five decades, instigating new areas of study and pioneering generative art.
After his retirement from UCSD, he continued to work on AARON and produce new artwork in his studio in Encinitas, California. In 2014, Cohen received the ACM SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art.