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Exchange and Evolution: Worldwide Video Long Beach 1974-1999
Ko Nakajima (Japanese, b. 1941), Mt. Fuji (Hiran), 1984. Single‐channel color video with sound, 45 min. Dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist.

LONG BEACH, CA.- Exchange and Evolution, a retrospective selection of the significant international video works and artists who were part of the historic video art program at the Long Beach Museum of Art, is on view at the Museum through February 12, 2012. The exhibition is the result of research into the numerous cultural exchanges, and the subsequent evolution of ideas made possible by the Museum’s media art center. For 25 years, this media art center provided consistent support for artists worldwide. Exchange and Evolution establishes LBMA as a key influence on the growth and development of video as an art form. The exhibition features both single-channel video and installations by artists from eighteen different countries, whose work provides an overview of the history of video art and its expressive abilities. Works from the early 1970s that provide a perspective on the potential of the then experimental medium are shown along with more technologically developed works from the end of the twentieth century.

A program that encompassed a wide range of video concerns, the LBMA played a key role in building the theoretical integrity of the new art form. Artists frequently premiered innovative “alternative” television technology to Museum audiences in the galleries and on cable television programs produced by LBMA Video. The works included in Exchange and Evolution include technical experimentation, performance, personal histories, feminist and political perspectives, documentary and experimental narrative, as well as international perspectives on contemporary art and culture.

Twelve installations have been recreated in the Museum’s galleries, and include the complete eight channels of Between the Frames by Antoni Muntadas (Spain) which was initiated in Long Beach with Museum docents in 1983; My Life by Ko Nakajima (Japan) first shown at the Museum in 1978; Frozen Images by Sanja Iveković (Croatia) which was exhibited in 1994 during an ArtsLink residency; and AFRO (is just a hair style): Notes on a Journey Through the African Diaspora by Thomas Allen Harris (USA), commissioned by the LBMA in 1999. Also included in the exhibition is the early Portapak production of Inca I and II by Juan Downey (Chile) created as part of his “Video Trans-America” series from 1976; the sound/video collaboration Two Channel Music Tape: Spring/Fall by Nam June Paik (Korea) and Paul Garrin (USA), 1986; and Airspirits by Klaus vom Bruch (Germany) which compared American politics and Hollywood film production and was produced in Long Beach during a residency in 1981.

Eighteen single channel videotapes are being featured in a rotating weekly program that includes a selection of video classics shown at the LBMA including The West by Steina (Iceland); Meta Mayan by Edin Vélez (Puerto Rico); City of Angels by Marina Abramović (Serbia) and Ulay (Germany); and The Secret Life of Cornelia Lumsen: A Remarkable Truth by Vera Frenkel (Canada/Czech Republic) which premiered at the LBMA in 1980.

The international works are accompanied by visionary works by American artists who worked and traveled widely and brought valuable cross-cultural insights to Long Beach audiences in new and extraordinary narratives, such as Hatsu Yume: First Dream by Bill Viola (working in Japan), Solstice d’Hiver by Gary Hill (produced by French television) and the performance video Doors by Nan Hoover (American working in Netherlands and Germany).

Exchange and Evolution, co-curated by Berlin-based Kathy Rae Huffman and Los Angeles-based artist Nancy Buchanan, will also include four video Screening Events that present thematic programs: “Evolution” (October 13), “Exchange” (November 17), both in Long Beach and two events at REDCAT, “Proto-Ethnography” (October 24) and “Music + Video” (February 7, 2012). An Evening with Marcel Odenbach will be presented at LACE in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles.

Long Beach Museum of Art | Exchange and Evolution |  |

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