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Jim Campbell receives his first solo museum exhibition in New York at the Museum of the Moving Image
Jim Campbell (American, b. 1956). Memory/Recollection, 1990. Video camera, five CRTs, PC computer, custom electronics Loan courtesy of Jim Campbell & Société des Arts Technologiques. Photo courtesy of Jim Campbell.

ASTORIA, NY.- Museum of the Moving Image presents the first solo museum exhibition in New York of the work of Jim Campbell (b. 1956), the San Francisco-based artist best known for his evocative low resolution works. An innovator in the use of technology, Campbell integrates and manipulates computers and custom electronics into visually arresting artworks. The survey exhibition, Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception, features more than 20 works that span Campbell’s 30-year career. It includes early experimental film, interactive artworks, low resolution videos, large-scale sculptural installations, and the premiere of a new work, Self Portrait of Jim Campbell (with Disturbances) (2014). Among the highlights is the rarely shown Last Day in the Beginning of March (2003), which features 26 suspended light bulbs and a soundscape that evokes the last day in the life of the artist’s brother. The exhibition will be on view through June 15.

Among Campbell’s celebrated works are his experiments in low resolution imagery using LED lights. The exhibition Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception features several of these works, including Home Movies, 1040-1, (2008), a large-scale grid of LEDs, which project Campbell’s own home movies, as shadowy digital images on the wall, and two pieces from his Motion and Rest series (2002), which depict the movement of a disabled person across a low resolution screen of LED lights, a presentation that renders the personal characteristics of the subject into an abstraction.

Campbell’s low resolution works expanded into three dimensions with the Exploded View series (2010–2011), in which moving images—depicting birds, runners, and commuters—break out along a z-axis. From most perspectives, the work appears as a random array of blinking lights. But from a privileged vantage point, the subject shifts into focus: figures barely decipherable by the eye but strangely comprehensible to the mind. Exploded View (Commuters) (2011), a work previously shown by the Museum, is included in this exhibition.

The exhibition also includes significant early works: In Shadow for Heisenberg (1993–1994), a statue of a Buddha ensconced in a glass cube becomes obscured: the closer a viewer comes to the piece, the more the glass fogs, and the shadow of the Buddha becomes clearer. Another early work in the exhibition is Color by Number (1998–1999): two four-by-four feet screens become dynamic color fields, with colors generated by the movement of a pixel over a digital image out of direct sight in a booth behind each large screen.

Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception is organized by guest curator Steve Dietz, Founder, President, and Artistic Director of, and editor of Campbell’s retrospective catalog Jim Campbell: Material Light (2010, Hatje Cantz).

“Like Rembrandt, Jim is a master with light, a portraitist for this age,” commented Dietz. “Jim’s work is fascinating for the rigor of his process, using his sophisticated
technological facility to restlessly explore a series of problems that are grounded in the physiology of perception but which ultimately escape into a rhythmic world of wonder.”

Jim Campbell is renowned as an innovator in the use of technology in art, making custom computer chips and related electronics for most of his works. He was born in
1956 in Chicago, Illinois, and received degrees in both electrical engineering and
mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978. As an engineer
he holds more than a dozen patents in the field of video image processing. His work
has been shown internationally and throughout North America. His work is included in
the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; The Museum of Modern Art;
the Metropolitan Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA);
the Los Angeles County Museum of Art among others. SFMOMA honored Campbell
with the 2012 Bay Area Treasure Award for lifetime achievement in October.

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