When San Jose Museum of Art senior curator JoAnne Northrup saw her first robot, she was a bit underwhelmed. Northrup was at a party hosted by friends in Silicon Valley who had invented a robot that handles silicon disks.
"I was so excited imagining what it would look like and it looked like a metal box," Northrup explains in a video introduction to the exhibition "Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon."
"I was kind of disappointed. That lead me to start thinking about why we have an image in our minds of what a robot looks like and how different that is from actual robots that are found in everyday life."
After ruminating on this experience, Northrup decided to curate an exhibit that explores robot iconography in fine art over the past 50 years. That show, which features depictions of robots in sculpture, video and paintings, was organized by the San Jose Museum of Art and will open at Boise Art Museum on Saturday, Feb. 6, and run through May 16.