artists & participants
To observers of cultural phenomena, the dawn of the 21st century may not necessarily be the best or worst of times. But it could be among the most culturally confused and conflicted eras to emerge in recent history, considering society’s mass-fascination with reality TV programs and Web cams, on the one hand; and, on the other, its ever-present obsession with security, fueled by global fears of terrorism.
These dichotomies are revealed and examined in a timely new exhibition, “Balance and Power: Performance and Surveillance in Video Art,” which opened October 22 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Krannert Art Museum. In addition to the main exhibition at the museum, a corresponding, satellite installation also is on view at the campus’s Thomas M. Siebel Center. Both shows run through December 31.
“This exhibition examines both the pioneer days of video art and current practices in an attempt to understand the complex relationship between intentional acting for the camera and our involuntary relinquishing of privacy to the cameras of power systems that have an interest in the movement of citizens,” said guest curator Michael Rush. “In the earliest days of video art in the mid-1960s, artists engaged the question of when surveillance becomes performance and vice versa. This issue remains central to the work of many video artists today,” said Rush, a writer, curator, and widely published critic. Formerly the director of the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, he was recently named Director of The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University.
The exhibition references and features work by a diverse group of artists, from early video pioneers such as Andy Warhol, Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman to emerging practitioners such as Jill Magid and Tim Hyde.
Other participating artists are Antenna, Sophie Calle and Gregory Shephard, Jim Campbell, Peter Campus, Jordan Crandall, Shelley Eshkar and Paul Kaiser, Harun Farocki, Subodh Gupta, Kevin Hamilton, Tiffany Holmes, Kristin Lucas, Steve Mann, Jenny Marketou, Jonas Mekas, Muntadas and Marshall Reese, Martha Rosler, Julia Scher, and Kiki Seror.
Included in the exhibition are large-scale installations, single-channel tapes, and several works being seen for the first time.
Kathleen Harleman, the director of the Krannert Art Museum, described the collective body of work as “brilliant, beguiling, mesmerizing and disturbing.” She said that the subject matter – balance and power, performance and surveillance – is of great concern to many people, particularly now. “Michael Rush is helping us – in his own words – ‘to spotlight the uneasy alliance between posing and surveillance, performing and being spied upon’ and to confront what it means to ‘aestheticize’ these issues.”
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Balance and Power: Performance and Surveillance in Video Art
Kurator Michael Rush
mit Andy Warhol, Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman, Jill Magid, Tim Hyde, Antenna , Sophie Calle, Gregory Shephard, Jim Campbell, Peter Campus, Jordan Crandall, Shelley Eshkar, Paul Kaiser, Harun Farocki, Subodh Gupta, Kevin Hamilton, Tiffany Holmes, Kristin Lucas, Steve Mann, Jenny Marketou, Jonas Mekas, Antoni Muntadas, Marshall Reese, Martha Rosler, Julia Scher, Kiki Seror