Sculpture Group Symbolizing World’s Communication in the Atomic Age

Media - 1979.107A-D - SAAM-1979.107_1 - 63220
Copied Harry Bertoia, Sculpture Group Symbolizing World's Communication in the Atomic Age, 1959, brazed and welded brass and bronze, 142 14231 1481 in. (361.4587.4205.8 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Zenith Corporation, 1979.107A-D

Artwork Details

Sculpture Group Symbolizing World’s Communication in the Atomic Age
Not on view
142 14231 1481 in. (361.4587.4205.8 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of the Zenith Corporation
Mediums Description
brazed and welded brass and bronze
  • Nonrepresentational
  • Abstract
  • Allegory — arts and sciences — technology
  • Allegory — element — energy
  • Allegory — life — Atomic Age
Object Number

Artwork Description

Harry Bertoia's sculptural installation reflects the optimism of the 1950s, when the economy boomed and broadcast television was transforming American culture. The largest cluster of the sculpture symbolizes the world transmitting light to the smaller forms that represent sight, sound, and electronic control, each of which also emits luminous impulses. Bertoia explained that "we live in a time dominated by...invisible forces....these [are] elements of the atomic and electronic age that I am trying to give sculptural shape and form." Bertoia's vision of global communications is a reality today, as satellites constantly receive and transmit signals for broadcast, cell phone, and computer communications.