Harold Cohen 1928-2016


(1928  2016)


Harold Cohen was a British-born artist who famously created AARON, a computer program designed to produce art autonomously. His artistic practice developed in the intersection of artificial intelligence and abstraction and made a large contribution to the evolution of computer art. Cohen’s work attracted attention worldwide, leading to exhibitions at major institutions including Tate London, SFMOMA and many more.


Having graduated from Slade School of Fine Art, he had his first solo show at Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in 1951 and a solo exhibition in Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1965. Cohen represented the UK at the Venice Biennale, Documenta III, the Paris Biennale, the Carnegie International and more.


Cohen moved to the United States as a visiting lecturer at the University of California, San Diego in 1968. He stayed at UC San Diego as a professor for nearly three decades, part of the time as chairman of the Visual Arts Department. He was appointed director of the Centre for Research in Computing and the Arts at UC San Diego in 1992.


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 award.