Media Arts Initiative

Media Arts Initiative

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Bill Viola, The Fall into Paradise, 2005. Single-channel video installation, high-definition, color, sound; 9:58 minutes,
dimensions variable. © 2005, Bill Viola.*

July 11, 2013

Media Arts Initiative

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Eighth and F Streets N.W.
Washington, D.C.
Hours: Daily 11:30am–7pm

The Smithsonian American Art Museum announces enhancements to its ongoing focus in the media arts. Its Film and Media Arts Initiative encompasses a major art collection initiative, development of research resources, and ambitious exhibitions and programming. Recent additions to the permanent collection include John Baldessari’s Six Colorful Inside Jobs (1977); Takeshi Murata’s Monster Movie (2005); Bill Viola’s The Fall into Paradise (2005); and the major collaborative video and sound installation Cloud Music (1974–79) by David Behrman, Bob Diamond, and Robert Watts. Cloud Music, currently on view in the museum’s Lincoln Gallery, converts the movement of clouds and changing light into an original score that transports the natural environment into the gallery for a new and immersive audio-visual experience. The result is electronic “music” that fills the space with subtly shifting harmonics. John G. Hanhardt, senior curator of film and media arts and the leading expert on Paik and his global influence, is leading this initiative with Michael Mansfield, associate curator of film and media arts.

The Nam June Paik Archive, consisting of research material, documentation, correspondence, sculptural robots, and video and television technology from the artist’s estate, is a core part of the initiative. The exhibition Nam June Paik: Global Visionary, which closes on August 11, draws on the Nam June Paik Archive to show the artist’s extraordinary range of accomplishment and ideas. The museum will celebrate Paik’s birthday on July 20 with a talk by digital video artist Takeshi Murata, who will share how Paik’s work inspired his own career.

Last Chance to See Nam June Paik: Global Visionary
Now through August 11, 2013
Nam June Paik: Global Visionary offers an unprecedented view into the artist’s creative method through major artworks from public and private collections in America and Europe, as well as material from the Nam June Paik Archive. The archive, along with several significant works by Paik on permanent public view, has established the museum as the international center for the study of Paik’s achievements.

The exhibition includes 67 artworks and more than 140 items from the archive. Several rare artworks are featured, including Random Access (Schallplattenschaschlik) (1963; 1979) from the Vehbi Koç Foundation, TV Garden (1974; 2000) from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Buddha Complex (1981–1985) from the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, and Paik’s rarely seen installation Moon Projection with E Moon and Birds (1996) from the Paik Estate. Three exceptional artworks from the museum’s collection are included in the exhibition: Zen for TV (1963; 1976), Megatron/Matrix (1995), and Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii (1995). The exhibition catalogue, written by Hanhardt, is co-published by the museum and D Giles Limited.

Nam June Paik: Global Visionary is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins; Barney A. Ebsworth; Marilou and Ken Hakuta; Maureen and Gene Kim; Korea Foundation; Wendy and Jerry H. Labowitz; Paula and Peter Lunder; Share Fund of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region; The Starec Trust; Roselyne Chroman Swig; and the Barbara & Howard Wise Endowment for the Arts.

Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image
On View Now
Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image, the third in a series of installations, features artworks that survey the complexities of space and time both structurally and conceptually. The four featured works are John Baldessari, Six Colorful Inside Jobs (1977); Bruce Nauman, Walk with Contrapposto (1968); Charlemagne Palestine, Running Outburst (1975); and Bill Viola, The Fall into Paradise (2005). Single-channel videotapes are presented alongside files that have been transferred to digital formats and projected in the gallery. Pioneering video art and recent digital media installations are represented, illustrating the multiple-media technologies that artists have engaged with since the 1960s.

Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image is generously supported by the James F. Dicke Family Endowment.

*Bill Viola, The Fall into Paradise, 2005. Single-channel video installation, high-definition, color, sound; 9:58 minutes, dimensions variable. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment. © 2005, Bill Viola.

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July 11, 2013

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