If You Think ‘Breaking Bad’ Is Edgy, You Obviously Haven’t Seen Nam June Paik’s ‘Magnet TV’

When Nam June Paik broke into television in the early 1960s, he didn’t have the most propitious background. His training was as an avant-garde composer, with a reputation for assaulting audiences. Network television, on the other hand, was the ultimate populist medium, where Bonanza and The Beverly Hillbillies competed for ratings. So Paik didn’t even attempt to woo studio executives. Instead he bought some old TV sets and literally broke into their casing. Hacking the electronics, he put the TVs on display, their pictures more distorted than Surrealist paintings.