Meet Chi-Tien Lui, the Television Repair Man Preserving MoMA's Vintage Electronic Art

With the price of electronics getting lower and lower each year, we have evolved into a replace-over-repair culture when it comes to things like televisions and stereos. Once commonplace around New York City, many of the old electronics repair shops have closed down. So if you are a museum tasked with preserving and displaying vintage electronics, how do you repair something when it inevitably breaks? In this profile video from Great Big Story, meet Chi-Tien Lui, the vintage electronics repairman in Lower Manhattan who is the go-to guy for the MoMA, Whitney, Smithsonian, and other museums who display electronic art.

Chi-Tien Lui is an electrical engineer and technician whose craft has evolved to the realm of high art. Born in China, he trained as a technician in Taiwan before moving to the U.S. and setting up his own shop in downtown Manhattan in 1968. During this time, televisions began to evolve and video became an important part of the experimental art scene, especially for big players like Andy Warhol and John Lennon. But, over time, wear and tear and years sitting in museums can cause machinery to fail, which means the potential of losing priceless art forever. That’s where Chi-Tien Lui comes in. He’s become the go-to guy for institutions like the Smithsonian and MoMA to preserve these legendary electronics.

Matt Coneybeare

Matt Coneybeare

Editor in Chief

Matt enjoys exploring the City's with his partner and son. He is an avid marathon runner, and spends most of his time eating, running, and working on cool stuff.

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