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Art Basel Miami Beach: Art Video Lounge
Andy Warhol, Pia Zadora, 1983, Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen on canvas, 40x40 inches (Courtesy Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York).

MIAMI BEACH, FL.- American curator Michael Rush has been entrusted with planning this year's «Art Video Lounge». He has put to-gether three programs: «Surrender to Illusion: Video in a Time of War», «Aesthetic Field: No Appropriation: Directors Direct/Performers Perform», and «In Brevitas Formositas: Short and Beautiful», featuring two dozen works by seventeen internationally known artists. The pieces have been se-lected to offer a broad survey of contemporary trends in video art. Projected onto a specially designed installation, the pieces offer visitors a brand new experience of viewing videos. In tribute to the late Nam June Paik, who died last January, videos by the father of video art will also be shown every day. The «Art Video Lounge» is open daily (December 6 to December 10) from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Art Basel Miami Beach has appointed Michael Rush as the new curator of the «Art Video Lounge» platform of the international art show. Rush, Director of the Rose Art Museum, Waltham, is the former director of the Palm Beach ICA. The versatile American has made a name for himself as an author, art critic (The New York Times, Art in America, Newsweek), video artist, and curator of diverse important exhibitions on video art (VIDEO JAM, Brooklyn!). He also curated the exhibition «Indeterminate States: Video in the Ella Fontanals Cisneros Collection» in Miami in 2005.

Video art emerged at a cultural moment in the 1960s marked by riots in the US and worldwide demonstrations of students and anti-war activists. It was also a time when artistic experimentation was heralding the collapse of the walls separating disciplines: dance, film, painting, sculpture, performance were yielding multimedia artworks that today are commonplace. As we celebrate the strong emergence of video as an international art phenomenon (video artists from the far reaches of the former Soviet Union, China, Africa, and throughout Latin America are regularly being seen at international exhibitions), we pause to both mourn and honor video's pioneering artist and Miami resident, Nam June Paik, who died earlier this year. Artis-tic genius is defined, in part, by an inexplicable intuition about the zeitgeist that produces an art that changes forever the way we see the world. Paik, touched by the experimental wizardry of Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage, knew that the techno-box we call the television was itself radically altering the calculus of daily life; and rather than let it control him, he decided to do-minate it: first as a material for sculpture, soon after as a means of prophecy, using hundreds of monitors and thousands of images to mirror the televised, advertised, digitized world that now engulfs us.

The works chosen for this year's video lounge reflect the singularity of moving-image art. Though references to historically older practices such as painting and sculpture may exist, the works cannot be viewed solely in comparison to these other media. They are essentially, and necessarily, art of the moving image. Moving-image art, as represented primarily by cinema, achieved a high level of sophistication almost from the start. Abel Gance's 1927 film «Napoleon» was, remarkably, a three-screen projection conceived well in advance of the multi-surface projections now favored by so many artists.

The «Art Video Lounge» presents two dozen works of video art by seventeen artists in a specially designed «installation» consisting of nine free-floating projection screens which will offer individual space for each video at specified times. The installation will have three parts with three screens each. Viewers are free to move among the various screens, pausing where they find works of particular interest.

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