The most successful early-20th-century artist of colored light in the United States was undoubtedly Thomas Wilfred (1889–1968). In the 1920s, his “Lumia” compositions were praised by art critics and performed throughout the U.S. After initially embracing a musical analogy to explain Lumia, in the early 1930s he shifted to an analogy based on painting. In pursuit of this new context, Wilfred sought to legitimize Lumia through a relationship with the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His career is emblematic of the difficulties inherent in the creation of art using technology early in the 20th century, years before the postmodern embrace of pluralism.

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