Fellow Awards Virtual Event

Breaking Boundaries

Celebrating Creativity with Computer Art Pioneer Lillian F. Schwartz

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Event Details

Born in 1927 as the youngest of 13 children, Lillian Schwartz overcame economic hardship and bigotry, creating art however she could. She sculpted with bread dough, colored on walls, and drew in the dirt with a stick. 

Schwartz burst into the New York artworld in 1968 with the appearance of her multimedia, interactive sculpture Proxima Centauri in the now famous Museum of Modern Art exhibition, The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age.  

Immediately afterward, she began a decades-long residency at Bell Labs the legendary research and development center. During her long and prolific career, Schwartz created a remarkable series of art films incorporating the emergent technology of computer animation, and often scored with fresh developments in computer music. 

Her work has been exhibited by MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney, and many other museums, and her archive is now preserved at the Henry Ford Museum. 

Schwartz Joins Other Pioneers 

For pioneering work at the intersection of art and computing, on December 9, 2021, Schwartz will be inducted as a CHM 2021 Fellow. Hers is an inspiring story of creativity and innovation, courage and perseverance. She joins other visionaries such as NASA mathematician and "hidden figure" Katherine Johnson, World Wide Web creator Tim Berners Lee, and software pioneer Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. 

Here's What You’ll Experience  

  • Learn about the dynamic interplay between computing and art in the work of Schwartz and artists today. 
  • See selections from her groundbreaking computer art films depicting human experiences from sports to the nature of change. 
  • Hear tributes from technology and art experts. 
  • Meet a contemporary artist using cutting-edge machine learning to explore what it means to be human in the age of AI.   


5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. PT 

5 p.m. PT
Fellow Award Program with hosts Dan'l Lewin and Andy Cunningham 

  • Tributes by computer art experts, including Zabet Patterson, professor of contemporary art and computational media and Barbara Londonleading curator and expert of video and media art.  
  • New video stories highlighting Schwartz’s creative contributions to technology and art as well as her courage and persistence to overcome her outsider status because of her class, gender, ethnicity, religion, and disability. 
  • Selections from Schwartz’s groundbreaking computer art films, through a gracious loan from The Henry Ford. 
  • Perspectives and examples of technology and art by media artist in the aesthetics of machine intelligence Refik Anadol and the VP of graphics research at NVIDIA Research David Luebke. 

5:50 p.m. PT
Fellow Award Presentation 

  • Award presentation by Ken Thompson, Schwartz’s Bell Labs colleague and legendary programmer and cocreator of Unix, C, Plan 9, and Go 

6 p.m. PT

  • Award acceptance video from Schwartz. 
  • Audience participation.
  • Closing remarks by Dan'l Lewin, and a selection from Schwartz's film, "Metamorphosis." 

Virtual Venue 

Once you register you'll receive a confirmation email with a link to the virtual venue. You will need to create an account to join in. Once there, you’ll be able to view the event, see social interactions from the night, and learn how our headline sponsor, Accenture, is powering the future.  

2021 CHM Fellow Awards

The CHM 2021 Fellow Awards marks the Museum’s first-ever virtual Fellow Awards. This is the last of our four-part series that explores the story and impact of each honoree and the present and future of tech for humanity. 

Learn more about this year's honorees and the 2021 Fellow Awards.


CHM offers several levels of individual and corporate sponsorships that include access to backstage events with our Fellows, options to host pre-and post-event lounges, and opportunities to share a written testimonial about a Fellow on our virtual platform. For more information about becoming a CHM Fellow Awards sponsor, please contact Michelle Mertz

Headline Sponsor 

Education Sponsors 

Dec 09, 2021
5:00 pm

Add to Calendar 12/09/2021 5:00 pm America/Los_Angeles Breaking Boundaries Celebrating Creativity with Computer Art Pioneer Lillian F. Schwartz Virtual Event

Virtual Event



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