Artwork+Text Essay Wall Posts Antennas

Antennae #01 Morgan O’Hara

Morgan O’Hara, morning MACAU, 2002, Foto by Frank Lei
Morgan O’Hara, hands-Macau, 2004



Morgan O’Hara’s art research, culturally contextualized in the practice of drawing as a fundamental human endeavor is continuous with the time-honored practice of drawing from life and builds on the historical continuum of the field. This practice requires presence, connection, direct observation and LIVE TRANSMISSION. Through this work, the artist transcends arbitrary “oppositions” between abstract and figurative art, between purely gestural expression and documentary intent, resulting in narrative work which is not figurative.

LIVE TRANSMISSIONS render visible normally invisible or fleeting movement patterns through seismograph-like drawing done in real time. Trajectories inherent in human activity are carefully observed and drawn simultaneously with both hands. Following closely the intensity of each segment of an activity, the direction of the line as well as the quality of its intensity is transmitted. As a person makes a gentle movement, a delicate line is drawn. If the action tracked is forceful or violent, simultaneously a vigorous line is made.

The method developed requires close observation and actual drawing in real time with multiple razor-sharp pencils and both hands. Simultaneous to an action taking place, O’Hara draws methodically with multiple razor-sharp pencils and both hands, condensing movement into accumulations of graphite line which combine the controlled refinement of classical drawing with the sensuality of spontaneous gesture. Time-space coordinates for each drawing are recorded with precision, contextualizing each activity in a specific continuum and geographic place.

This work is done as far as possible without “thinking.” The dialectic between observer and participant, control versus relaxed participation coalesce to form the conceptual base for LIVE TRANSMISSIONS. Scale and physical limitations are determined by real-life expediency. In 2024 there exist approximately 4000 LIVE TRANSMISSION drawings done both privately and publicly on five continents. LIVE TRANSMISSIONS communicate beyond the specificity of language.

ankou-Aomori-fish-market, 2003, Photo by Tadasu Matsumoto
Octopus, Aomori Fishmarket, 2003, Photo by Tadasu Matsumoto



Morgan O’Hara

life-based conceptual art, performative drawing. (b. Los Angeles 1941.) Raised in an international community in post-war Japan. Lived in Europe for 25 years (Paris, Berlin, Italy), returned to New York in 2010 and back to Venice, Italy in 2019. Direct and minimal aspects of Japanese aesthetic practices have had a strong influence on her work. She currently lives in Venice and works extensively internationally. O’Hara met John Cage as a 20 year old art student in 1961 and his thinking and music afforded a half-century of inspiration. She attempts to work live in the present, tracking the movement of the hands of people as they engage in life activities. Movement is her main subject and she tracks the trajectory of live movement – in real time – with pencils – drawing simultaneously with both hands.
Represented in permanent collections: The British Museum, Metropolitan Museum, National Gallery, Hammer Museum, Kupferstichkabinett Berlin, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile, et al. Represented by Mitchell Algus Gallery in New York, Brigitte March International Contemporary in Stuttgart, Germany, galleria le vite in Milano, Italy.
O’Hara has drawn / performed LIVE TRANSMISSIONs on five continents, since 1989 participating in international performance art festivals in Asia, Europe and the US. She has received grants from the Gottleib Foundation, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The Lee Krasner Award for Lifetime Achievement, Milton and Sally Avery Award, Fessenden Foundation fellowship.
O’Hara teaches master classes in drawing based on fundamental scribbles.
Lives and works internationally.
Her new website is an overview, an archival perspective on 60+ years of work, completed in December 2020.




LIVE TRANSMISSION: movement of the hands of NAM JUNE PAIK while performing Claire de Lune on the piano and then beating the piano with strings of plastic pearls. Anthology Art Archive, New York, 1994
LIVE TRANSMISSION: movement o the hands of PIERRE BOULEZ while onducting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra on his 75th birthday, New York City, 2000
LIVE TRANSMISSION movement of the hands of MEGAN MOORHOUSE and dripping water during a papermaking process, Dieu Donne Papermill, New York, 2004
LIVE TRANSMISSION: movement of the hands of JOHN TILBURY, SANDERS AND EDWARDS while performing at the Cafe Oto in London, 2014
LIVE TRANSMISSION: movement of the hands of panelists during a drawing conference at the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin, 2023