artists & participants

press release

Since the 1960s, artists have utilized video to pursue creative ends unattainable in other mediums, such as painting and sculpture. Today video is one of the most important artistic outlets and is a vital part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection. The videos showcased here, Desert Blizzard and Jaipur Kites, were purchased in 2000 and 2002, respectively. Although their subject matter differs, both works explore the idea of ephemeral images, making us more aware of details that might ordinarily be ignored or overlooked.

Desert Blizzard records a skywriting performance orchestrated by Gary Simmons, an artist best known for his chalkboard drawings and sculptures. Simmons often uses themes of erasure and disappearance to metaphorically explore questions of African American identity. In Desert Blizzard, the sky becomes a mammoth blackboard for slowly fading drawings, creating hauntingly beautiful images through which the artist continues his exploration of erasure and identity.

Jaipur Kites was filmed during the annual kite festival celebrated in Jaipur and other cities in India. During the three-day event, kites with short tails and simple wire architecture dominate the city sky. Creating a complex choreography, the kites spin, dip, tumble, and drift. Orozco, who has often found his inspiration within everyday situations, has captured the unexpected, making simple toys into delicate ephemeral objects of beauty and intrigue.


Flying High: Selections from the Permanent Collection
Kurator: Melissa Kerr

Gary Simmons - Desert Blizzard

Gabriel Orozco - Jaipur Kites