Jasia Reichardt

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Jasia Reichardt
BornJanina Chaykin
1933 (age 89–90)
Warsaw, Poland
Occupationart critic, curator, teacher and writer
Notable worksCybernetic serendipity: the computer and the arts, director of the Themerson Archive

Jasia Reichardt (born 1933) is a British art critic, curator, art gallery director, teacher and prolific writer, specialist in the emergence of computer art. In 1968 she was curator of the landmark Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts. She is generally known for her work on experimental art. After the deaths of Franciszka and Stefan Themerson she catalogued their archive[1] and looks after their legacy.

Her own self-description reads: Jasia Reichardt writes, lectures and organises events about subjects which deal with the relationship of art to other areas of human activity such as architecture, science, technology. She was assistant director of the ICA, director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery, and tutor at the AA. She has written books on art, computers, robots and the future.


Jasia Reichardt was born to Maryla and Seweryn Chaykin in Warsaw, Poland, in 1933. Her mother was an illustrator and pianist and her father an architect and engineer. An assimilated middle-class Jewish family, they were overwhelmed by the German invasion of Poland in 1939 and were incarcerated among the capital's Jewish population in the Warsaw Ghetto. Jasia survived there for a while with her mother and grandmother who tried to shield her from the unfolding horror. In 1942 she was smuggled out, but both her parents were murdered in the Holocaust. She was subsequently hidden under an assumed identity by a series of Poles, spending time in a convent, until she was able to join her mother's sister, Franciszka Themerson, and her husband, Stefan Themerson, in London in 1946. She attended Dartington Hall school.[2] and then went to study production at the Old Vic Theatre School in London.[3]


In the 1950s she was assistant editor of Art News and Review, for which she wrote numerous reviews, as well as exhibition introductions for various galleries of contemporary art. In the early 1960s she was the general editor of the "Art in Progress" series published by Methuen. She organised various exhibitions of new art, and in 1963 – 1971 was assistant director of the ICA[4]

In 1968, she organised the ground-breaking Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition, and edited the special issue of Studio International, which replaced the catalogue.[5][6] The same year, she curated Fluorescent Chrysanthemum, an exhibition of contemporary experimental Japanese art.[7][8][6] Other exhibitions followed, including Play Orbit of objects to play with by British artists.

From 1974 to 1976 Reichardt was director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery.[4] Between 1989 and 1998 she was one of the directors of Artec biennale in Nagoya. In 1998 she curated Electronically Yours, an exhibition of electronic portraiture at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. Apart from writing and organising exhibitions, she broadcast on the arts programme, "Critics’ Forum" for the BBC, 1965 – 1977. She collaborated with artists and continued to focus on the intersection of the arts and science on which she wrote a monthly column in the New Scientist. After 1990, she collaborated on various projects with Nick Wadley, until his death in 2017. She has taught at the Architectural Association and other colleges. After 1988, she organised the archive of Franciszka and Stefan Themerson; the 3 volume catalogue of the archive was published in 2020 and distributed by MIT.[9]

She served on numerous committees; belonged to a number of professional organisations, gave lectures at conferences, and received several distinctions.

Personal life[edit]

Jasia Reichardt was married first to Tony Richards (later Reichardt), art dealer and collector, and secondly to art historian and artist Nick Wadley.[10]

Exhibitions organised by JR[edit]

in London unless otherwise indicated

  • Image in Progress (first exhibition of Pop Art in London), Grabowski Gallery, 1962
  • The Inner Image (between painting and sculpture), Grabowski Gallery, 1964
  • Art in Britain 1930-40 (A tribute to Sir Herbert Read), Marlborough Fine Art and New London Gallery, 1965
  • Between Poetry and Painting, ICA, 1965
  • London Under Forty, Galleria Milano, Milan, 1966
  • Essays in Narrative, Zwemmer Gallery, London, 1966
  • Ventures, (experimental works in three dimensions), Arts Council touring exhibition, 1967
  • Cybernetic Serendipity, ICA, 1968, also in Washington and San Francisco
  • Fluorescent Chrysanthemum (new Japanese art, music and films), ICA, 1968–69, and Vancouver
  • Play Orbit (playthings by artists), ICA, 1969–70
  • Ten Sitting Rooms (created by artists), ICA, 1970
  • Time, Words and the Camera (photoworks by British artists), Künstlerhaus, Graz, 1976–77
  • Electronically Yours, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 1988
  • Yolanda Sonnabend, House of Memory, Galeria Stara, Lublin, 2001
  • Nearly Human, Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art II, Gdańsk, 2015
  • Nick in Europe, 12 Star Gallery, London, 2018
  • Nick in Gdańsk, Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art II, Gdańsk, 2019
  • Fluorescent Chrysanthemum Remembered, Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art I, Gdańsk, 2019


Articles in regular magazine series:

Books written by:

  • Victor Pasmore. Art in Progress series. London: Methuen & Co 1962. ASIN: B0000CLE70
  • Yaacov Agam. Art in Progress series. London: Methuen. 1966. ASIN: B0006BSCLM
  • The Computer in Art. London: Studio Vista. 1971
  • Robots: Fact, Fiction, and Prediction. Thames & Hudson. 1978 ISBN 978-0500271230
  • Magdalena Abakanowicz. New York: Abbeville Press. 1982. ISBN 0896593231.
  • Fifteen Journeys from Warsaw to London. London: Dalkey Archive Press. 2012. ISBN 9781564787200

Books edited by:

  • Series of 13 monographs on living artists 'Art in Progress', Methuen, 1962–66
  • Hausmann, Raoul and Schwitters, Kurt; ed. Jasia Reichardt. PIN, Gaberbocchus Press (1962); Anabas-Verlag, Giessen. 1986
  • Cybernetics, art, and ideas. Studio Vista. 1971
  • Stefan Themerson - Collected Poems, Gaberbocchus Press/Uitgeverij De Harmonie, Amsterdam, 1997
  • Stefan Themerson – Wiersze Wybrane 1939 – 1945, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego, Katowice, 2004
  • Kurt Schwitters: Three Stories, Tate Publishing, 2010
  • Unposted Letters [of] Franciszka and Stefan Themerson, Gaberbocchus & De Harmonie, Amsterdam, 2013
  • The Themerson Archive Catalogue, MIT, 2020

Books contributed to:

  • "Multiples" in The Year’s Art, Penguin Books, 1974
  • "Op Art" in Concepts of Modern Art, Penguin Books, 1974
  • "Art and Cybernetics" in Le Temps et la Cybernetique, Micromégas, 1975
  • "After Malraux" in 360 degrees around Katsuhiro Yamaguchi, Rikuyo-sha Publishing Inc., 1981
  • "Die Paradoxe mechanijsche Lebens" in Wunschmaschine Welterfindung, Springer, Vienna, 1966
  • "In the beginning", White Heat Cold Logic, MIT, 2009
  • "A meeting with Borges", with Borges, My Work in Prose, Obscure Publications, 2010
  • "Borges", with Borges, My life in Books, Obscure Publications, 2010

Texts in exhibition catalogues include:

Journals and magazines contributed to: AA files, Ambit, Architectural Review, Art Monthly, Art International, Art News, Arte Oggi, Arts, Arts Review, Artscribe, Arts Review, Billedkunst, Bonhams magazine, The British Journal of Aesthetics, Cambridge Opinion, Cimaise, Connoisseur, The Creative Holography Index, Domus, Eye, Image Roche, The Independent, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Konteksty, Das Kunstwerk, Kwartalnik Literacki, Leonardo, Marmo, Metro, Museumjournaal, Opus, Pagina, Pa`renthesis, Penrose Annual, Pix 1, Progressive Architecture, Quadrum, The Royal Academy Magazine, RSA Journal, Skira Annuel, Studio International, Sunday Times, Typographica, L'Uomo e l'Arte, Vytvarne Umeni, Zodiac, and others

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Themerson Archive Catalogue, 3-vol. Set: Three Volumes (Vol I, Letters and Documents; vol II, the Themersons, vol III, Gaberbocchus). MIT Press. 3 November 2020. ISBN 9781916247413.
  2. ^ Paskett, Zoe (9 March 2017). "Persecution and survival: One family, three cities, six years of war". Ham & High. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  3. ^ Reichardt, Jasia (1974). "Twenty years of symbiosis between art and science". Art and Science. 24 (1): 41.
  4. ^ a b Jasia Reichardt archive of concrete and sound poetry, 1959-1977. Getty Research Institute. Accessed January 2014.
  5. ^ Manovich, Lev (2002). "Ten Key Texts on Digital Art: 1970-2000". Leonardo. 35 (5): 567–569+571–575. doi:10.1162/002409402320774385. S2CID 57566892.Charlie Gere, ‘Minicomputer Experimentalism in the United Kingdom from the 1950s to 1980’ in Hannah Higgins, & Douglas Kahn (Eds.). Mainframe experimentalism: Early digital computing in the experimental arts. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press (2012), p. 119
  6. ^ a b Jasia Reichardt (ed) (November 1968). Cybernetic Serendipity, the computer and the arts. Studio International Special Issue 905.London, Studio International
  7. ^ https://archive.ica.art/bulletin/fluorescent-chrysanthemum-revisited 2016.
  8. ^ ‘Minicomputer Experimentalism in the United Kingdom from the 1950s to 1980’ in Hannah Higgins, & Douglas Kahn (Eds.). Mainframe experimentalism: Early digital computing in the experimental arts. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press (2012), p. 119
  9. ^ "15 Journeys from Warsaw to London - Jasia Reichardt's memoir". polishculture.org.uk. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  10. ^ Reichardt, Jasia (29 November 2017). "Nick Wadley obituary". The Guardian.