© Stefan Fuhrer
© Stefan Fuhrer
MARCH 6, 2023 – MAY 15, 2023, daily from 10am – 6pm
Austrian Cultural Forum New York
11 East 52nd Street, New York
The Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY) is pleased to present the exhibition Hedy Lamarr: Actress. Inventor. Viennese., curated by Dr. Danielle Spera and designed by Stefan Fuhrer.
The installation pays homage to the famous Austro-American actress Hedy Lamarr by specifically stressing her groundbreaking achievements as an inventor. It was only years after her famous screen career had ended that Lamarr achieved recognition for pioneering the technology that would become the basis for today’s WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth communication systems.
The opening of the exhibition at the ACFNY coincides with the 67th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York, reflecting its main theme: Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
About Hedy Lamarr
Born in Vienna in 1914 as Hedwig Kiesler, Hedy Lamarr was a woman of many facets and interests. After starting to act in movies in Austria and Germany as a teenager, she eventually became one of the most famous movie stars of the Hollywood Golden Age. Though the press often celebrated Lamarr as the most beautiful woman of her time, a femme fatale, wife (who was married six times), and mother of three children, it did not acknowledge her accomplishments as a serious inventor. In fact, Lamarr did not receive recognition for her secret communication system that utilized frequency hopping until late in life. Co-developed with her friend George Antheil during WWII as a means to aid in the fight against the National Socialists, this invention eventually paved the way for the creation of contemporary technologies, such as Bluetooth, GPS and WiFi. Throughout her life, Lamarr yearned for the city of her birth, which she had left at the young age of 23. After her passing in Florida in 2000 and according to her wishes, some of her ashes were spread in Vienna’s Wienerwald. In 2014, the remainder were buried in a Grave of Honor at the city’s Zentralfriedhof.
What to expect:
The exhibition will feature professional and private photographs of Hedy Lamarr, which were taken throughout her life. In addition, personal letters and documents, drawings, ephemera and even a dirndl from her personal collection will be on display. To highlight Lamarr’s achievements as an inventor, her legendary torpedo defense drawings, which are considered the precursors of today’s Bluetooth technology, as well as various awards will be integrated into the elaborate installation. A varied program of lectures, musical performances and film screenings accompanies the exhibition.
Special thanks to Anthony Loder for keeping his mother’s legacy alive.
Dr. Danielle Spera is an Austrian museum expert, curator, journalist, author and executive director of Culture. Media. Judaism. She is a member of the board of the Leopold Museum and Vicepresident of ICOM Austria, where she was acting as president from 2013 to 2019. From 1992 to 2002 she taught TV journalism at the University of Vienna. She is a board member of the Nitsch Foundation, a member of the program advisory board of arte, ORFIII, as well as of the Sigmund Freud Society. In addition, she publishes the quarterly Jewish magazine NU.
From 2010 to 2022, Danielle Spera was director of the Jewish Museum Vienna. Prior to that she was a reporter, correspondent, and anchorwoman at Austrian TV ORF (1978 – 2010). From 2013 to 2018 she served as a member of the University Council of the Medical University of Innsbruck. Spera is decorated with the Austrian Cross of Merit for Science and the Arts and the Golden Honorary Medal of the City of Vienna. Twice she received the Romy TV prize.
Spera published several books, including 100x Judaism Austria, Le Chaim, Hermann Nitsch. Life and Work, Jewish Museums between Yesterday and Today, Jewish Geniuses – Warhol’s Jews, Arik Brauer. All of my Arts, and Little Vienna in Shanghai.