The Smithsonian American Art Museum has assembled a serious collection of video and time-based artwork that examines the history as well as latest developments in the art of the moving image. A newly installed permanent collection gallery dedicated to media arts, located on the museum’s third floor, extends the range of contemporary art on display and allows for the presentation of the full range of media art practices.
Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image takes stock of the cutting-edge tools and materials used by video artists during the past forty years. The current installation features key artworks from the history of video art as well as a new generation of artists on the cutting edge of new media art practices. The works on display range from Nam June Paik’s early, innovative experiments with video to Cory Arcangel’s reworking of Nintendo games and obsolete computer systems. The nine artworks on view are: Cory Arcangel, Video Painting (2008); Jim Campbell, Grand Central Station #2 (2009) and Reconstruction #7 (2006); Peter Campus, Three Transitions (1973); Kota Ezawa, LYAM 3D (2008); Svetlana and Igor Kopystiansky, Yellow Sound (2005); Nam June Paik, 9/23/69: Experiments with David Atwood (1969); Bill Viola, Surrender (2001); and Marina Zurkow, Elixir II (2009). John G. Hanhardt, senior curator for media arts, selected the works. The majority of the featured artworks are recent acquisitions, with five entering the museum’s collection in 2010. The works by Viola and Campbell’s Reconstruction #7 are on loan.
Dedicating a permanent collection gallery to time-based art is an important new aspect of the media arts initiative at the museum, which includes acquisitions, exhibitions, educational programs, and archival research resources related to film, video, and the media arts. In 2009, the museum acquired the complete estate archive of visionary artist Nam June Paik. Hanhardt, the leading expert on Paik and his global influence, is organizing the archive and the museum’s Nam June Paik Media Arts Center. Research into the archive will be the basis for a series of publications of Paik’s writings, exhibitions, and a catalogue raisonné. Nam June Paik: Art and Process, the first in a series of exhibitions, is scheduled to open in December 2012.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum
3rd Floor North