Paul Kos

Paul Kos, one of the founders of San Francisco Bay Area conceptualism, has challenged conventions of art media and subject matter in his work since the 1970s. In particular he is interested in new possibilities for artistic treatments of time, space and cultural systems. The kinetic properties of natural materials like fire and ice were the subject of much of Kos’ early works. In Sound of Ice Melting (1970), eight live boom microphones connected to an amplifier were set up to record the sound of two large blocks of ice melting. Although the piece is silent, Kos worked with Richard

Beggs, a professional sound engineer, to establish credibility An absurdist proposition that can be understood in Buddhist terms, Kos’s installation premiered in Sound Sculpture As at the Museum of Conceptual Art (MOCA) in San Francisco, one of the first sound exhibitions anywhere. Kos shared with Arte Povera artists—working at the same time in Italyan interest in process-oriented sculptural works made up of unconventional, often organic, materials. He observed that many of his peers in Northern California, including Terry Fox, “liked to use objects and materials for their indigenous characteristics . . . the use of ice as a temporary object or gravity and sand falling.” This more personal and local approach was in contrast to that of artists on the East Coast, “who, more aware of what was timely, directed their works toward the art world.”