Bridget Riley, Current, 1964. The Museum of Modern Art, Philip Johnson Fund, 1964

10. Current

ArtistBridget Riley
MediumSynthetic emulsion on board
Dimensions5838 × 5878 in. (148.1 × 149.3 cm)
CollectionThe Museum of Modern Art, Philip Johnson Fund, 1964

Undulating lines repeat rhythmically across the picture plane of this work to form a fluctuating, flickering surface that appears to hover in space. As Riley explained, “I try to organise a field of visual energy which accumulates until it reaches maximum tension.” In 1965, Current was exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art’s pioneering exhibition The Responsive Eye and was prominently featured on its catalogue cover. Curator William Seitz, describing the effect of the painting, wrote, “The eyes seem to be bombarded with pure energy.” After the MoMA show, the reception of Riley’s work in the United States helped establish her international reputation.