<em>Painting by Numbers</em>, 2011. Three-channel synchronized video projection, site-specific architectural installation 8:21 minutes (silent). © Charles Atlas; Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.
Painting by Numbers, 2011. Three-channel synchronized video projection, site-specific architectural installation 8:21 minutes (silent). © Charles Atlas; Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.

Charles Atlas

Painting by Numbers

In a career spanning more than four decades long, Charles Atlas’s innovative approach has consistently pushed the boundaries of technology and moving imagery. His ability to continually innovate while maintaining a personal and distinctive artistic practice has not only garnered widespread acclaim and admiration within art and performance communities, but has significantly shaped the landscape of contemporary visual arts and performance. Atlas is acclaimed for his groundbreaking work producing pioneering videos and films, and for his vital collaborations with esteemed visual artists and choreographers. He has worked with influential figures including Marina Abramovič, Leigh Bowery, Lady Bunny, Michael Clark, Merce Cunningham, Mika Tajima / New Humans, and Yvonne Rainer, among others. 

Charles Atlas: Painting by Numbers is the artist’s inventive riff on the popular hobbyist painting kits. In Atlas’s dynamic animation, flows of numbers suggest galaxies of connections that exceed the canvas, time, and space. Originally created in 2011 as a three-channel synchronized video projection, Painting by Numbers has been reimagined for its presentation on CAM’s façade as a part of the museum’s ongoing Street Views series. Painting by Numbers will be projected daily at CAM, from dusk to midnight.

Charles Atlas: Painting by Numbers is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Dean Daderko, Ferring Foundation Chief Curator.


Charles Atlas. Photo: Lori E. Seid.

Charles Atlas (b. 1949, St. Louis, MO) has lived and worked in New York City since the early 1970s. In October 2024, the ICA Boston will open the first U.S. museum survey devoted to Atlas’s work; the presentation will run through March 2025 and is accompanied by a major new publication. Recent solo exhibitions include The Mathematics of Consciousness, a 100-foot long video installation commissioned by Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY, and supported by a grant from the VIA Art Fund (2022); Charles Atlas: Ominous, Glamorous, Momentous, Ridiculous, Fondazione ICA Milano, Italy (2021); and Charles Atlas: The past is here, the futures are coming and The Kitchen Follies, The Kitchen, New York (2018). Atlas’s work is included in the permanent collections of major institutions worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich; and De Hallen Haarlem, The Netherlands. In 2024, The Getty Research Institute acquired the archive of Charles Atlas.

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