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MoMA’s Biggest Video Art Survey in Years Is a Winner



Let’s start with a sad fact: the last time New York’s Museum of Modern Art staged a sizable survey of video art was in 1995, nearly three decades ago. Better late than never to remedy that, however, and right now, the museum’s spacious sixth floor is filled with moving images in that medium—roughly 35 hours’ worth, to be exact. That’s not even counting works whose durations are not listed on the show’s checklist.

The exhibition, titled “Signals: How Video Transformed the World,” offers more footage than anyone could ever absorb in a single visit. Individual pieces in the show only seem to reinforce the idea that this is indeed the point.

There’s Dara Birnbaum’s Tiananmen Square: Break-In Transmission (1990), an installation featuring four armatures hung from the ceiling, each with a screen attached that plays videotaped images of Chinese students protesting governmental oppression. A surveillance switcher cycles out their feeds on a fifth screen in the center, making it so that a partial view of all this footage is the only possible experience here.

Not far away, there’s Ming Wong’s Windows on the World (Part 2), a 2014 installation composed of 24 screens’ worth of material dealing with the history of science fiction in China. Some monitors display footage of fictional Chinese astronauts boarding rockets; others offer news broadcasts about space travel; still others contain text about recent forays into the genre by Cixin Liu, Jia Zhangke, and more. Arranged in a style that recalls displays once used to sell TVs before the era of flatscreens, these monitors demand darting eyes and probing brains, but they never allow viewers to take it all in at once.


An armature with a small screen wired to it. The screen shows a partly distressed image of protestors inset in another picture that is too abstract to make out.

Dara Birnbaum, Tiananmen Square: Break-In Transmission, 1990.©2022 Dara Birnbaum/Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

No one is expected to watch every single second in “Signals,” a show that rewards fast-paced sampling rather than prolonged, contemplative viewing, and if anything, this is to the show’s credit. Curators Stuart Comer and Michelle Kuo have organized a thrilling experience, one that gets to the heart of what video art is all about: the sense that we need no longer be passive viewers who are force-fed a one-way stream of information.

“Signals” can’t really be called a history of video art. The show, Comer and Kuo write in its catalogue, is “not a survey but a lens, reframing and revealing a history of massive shifts in society up to the present day.” That frees them from having to contend with some classics of the medium and to lure in some unexpected artists.

Notably absent from the show are a number of video art pioneers who appeared in Barbara London’s 1983 survey at MoMA, such as Bill Viola, Gary Hill, Joan Jonas, and Vito Acconci. It would be all too easy to quibble with those omissions, as well as ones of other giants that rose in the intervening years, from Stan Douglas to Hito Steyerl. But doing so would be pointless, since the lineage presented in “Signals” is deliberately idiosyncratic and, in some ways, even more exciting than a traditional canon. (The purview is also limited by what’s in MoMA’s collection—almost everything in the show comes from its holdings.)

A gallery hung with rows of monitors and filled with projections.

Installation view of “Signals: How Video Transformed the World,” 2023, at Museum of Modern Art, New York.Photo Robert Gerhardt

The curators seem most interested in video as tool for protest, one that could achieve just as much as a leaflet or a soapbox. Indeed, throughout this show, artists turn their cameras on upheaval, partly in an effort to document political actions and partly to transmit calls for change through screens around the world.

One section is devoted to collectives who welcomed video technology as a means of consciousness-raising. Not Channel Zero, a group of African American artists, toted around their camera at protests held across the US, offering a less polished and more nuanced view of matters than you’d find on the nightly news. Not Channel Zero Goes to War (1992) tackles leftist anger over the Gulf War. At one point, with a camera pushed close to her face, a Black woman attending a demonstration says, “There’s a lot of things we can do peacefully instead of fighting over one white man’s ego!” Producing video art, it would seem, is but one of those activities.

The low-budget look of Not Channel Zero’s work is a feature, not a bug—it differentiates this video from what’s beamed through the airwaves. Many other artists in the show have utilized that look too, with Artur Zmijewski bringing his camera to Israeli uprisings decrying intervention in the Gaza Strip and Tiffany Sia wielding an iPhone to document recent protests in Hong Kong. There’s an immediacy to it all that can’t be found in a CNN report.

A video still shot from a balcony in a large space filled with protestors, some of whom have unfurled banners. The still is surrounded by black.

Tiffany Sia, Never Rest / Unrest (still), 2020.©2022 Tiffany Sia/Museum of Modern Art

Video has made it impossible to separate what’s happening at home from what’s taking place abroad, these artists suggest. That much is made literal in Emily Jacir’s Ramallah/New York (2004–05), in which quotidian-seeming images filmed in the West Bank and Manhattan—bland offices, buzzy bars—are placed side by side. In a tiny gesture of video-based magic, more than 5,000 miles of space is collapsed by way of two monitors set inches apart.

Since video can circulate live images in a way film cannot, artists have enlisted it to bring together people distanced by geography. In a touching proto-Zoom gesture, Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz used video to link a department store in Los Angeles with Lincoln Center in New York. The results, recorded in the 1980 video Hole in Space, show smiling people jumping for joy at the realization that they can now wave at strangers across the country.

Some artists have eyed the ease of enacting gestures like Galloway and Rabinowitz’s with suspicion. Julia Scher’s Information America (1995), featuring several cameras that film viewers and play back their images on a group of mounted screens, aims to underscore how surveillance can’t exist without video technology. It succeeds in making its point, albeit ham-fistedly. More successful is Song Dong’s lo-fi Broken Mirror (1999), in which a camera is pointed at pieces of glass that capture confused passersby on the street. Those mirrors are then smashed with a hammer, revealing structures you’d never imagine behind them.

If “Signals” has one pratfall, it’s a problem that plagues almost every video show ever curated: sound bleed. You can hear the shards shattering in Broken Mirror all the way across the room as you stare at a Martine Syms installation. In the next gallery over, a Philip Glass score ends up accompanying more than just a Nam June Paik video, even managing to infiltrate the walls of a domed Stan VanderBeek installation whose ceiling is covered in overlapping projections.

To mitigate the aural crowding, MoMA is supplying headsets that play the videos’ soundtracks when held up to a QR code. These do little to help when there are few partitions and lots of noise. The few works cordoned off in black-box spaces—like a can’t-miss Chto Delat video installation called The Excluded. In a Moment of Danger (2014), in which the Russian collective’s members huff and puff and wax poetics about resistance while moving around balletically—fare somewhat better, but only marginally so.

Then again, some videos in the show explicitly comment on this barrage of sound and image, and even embrace it. Nil Yalter’s striking Tower of Babel (Immigrants), 1974–77/2016, features at its core a ring of outward-facing monitors displaying interviews with Turkish immigrants in France. The mélange of Turkish and French being spoken, only some of which is subtitled, is meant to simulate a community whose individuals cannot be pulled apart from each other. Consider that a metaphor for how the videos in this show ought to function.

A video installation featuring 24 screens, some of which show images of astronauts and others featuring text.

Ming Wong, Windows on the World (Part 2), 2014.©2022 Ming Wong/Museum of Modern Art

The last couple galleries of “Signals” are the most interesting ones, since they present relatively new additions to video history that argue against some of the medium’s long-established core tenets. If Not Channel Zero used video to advocate for visibility, Sandra Mujinga, a young artist born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and now based in Berlin and Oslo, relies upon the medium to move her performers toward states that cannot be perceived. The performer in her hypnotic 2021 video Pervasive Light, Mariama Ndure, appears to disappear, thanks to an array of digital effects that cloak her image in darkness while a thumping score by NaEE RoBErts plays.

A gallery with a large screen in one corner showing a person in a white cube space. Their body has been scrubbed out by digital effects, leaving only their hair.

Recent works by Sondra Perry (seen here) and others in “Signals” react to some of the core tenets of video art.Photo Robert Gerhardt

New Red Order’s Culture Capture: Crimes Against Reality (2020) provides what may be considered the show’s big finale. Projected at a scale typically reserved for blockbusters played in multiplexes, the work focuses on two sculptures featuring representations of Native Americans—one is the monument to Theodore Roosevelt that once stood outside the American Natural History Museum in New York—that become jelly-like flesh via CGI. As one of the melted-down statues expands and contracts in a glass case, you are reminded of just how far video has come since the days when live-streaming across the country seemed revolutionary.

Exiting the show, visitors encounter a group of banks where a looping playlist of videos is on view. There is simply too much to see here, and it’s difficult to know exactly when a desired tape is going to play. The good news is that MoMA has uploaded most of these works to a dedicated channel on its website, where they will be reabsorbed into the flow of moving imagery uploaded to the internet daily. That’s as fitting a temporary home for these works as I can imagine.

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Is This The Actual Cover-Art For ‘The Winds Of Winter’? – Forbes



I’ve penned many an article and blog post about the long, long wait between books in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song Of Ice And Fire upon which the HBO hit show Game Of Thrones was based. Mostly, when I post these it’s some kind of grappling with disappointment, some attempt to give up the ghost and move on from what used to be my favorite fantasy series of all time.

After all, the world has changed since A Dance With Dragons released back in 2011. I’ve changed, too. Maybe I should be able to move on now, nearly twelve years later. I wish I could.

Today, however, I come to you with that terrible, wonderful poisoned chalice: Hope. Winter may be coming at last, and just in time for spring. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a “chalice half-empty” kind of guy when it comes to Martin’s novels. I love his writing—just not the pace of his prose.


But now we have this possible cover art for The Winds Of Winter and while it might not be the official cover art for the book it also might be. The artist, Ertaç Altınöz, released the below image a few days ago on Instagram and Art Station and it’s possible this is more than just fan-art. This is, after all, the same artist who did the cover art for The Rise Of The Dragon, the new illustrated book set in Martin’s fictional realm of Westeros.

I reviewed that book not too long ago, and it really does have a bunch of lovely art.

That lovely artwork on the cover of Belarion the Black Dread? That’s by Ertaç Altınöz. So when he posted this cover of The Winds Of Winter, I stopped and took note:

When a follower on Instagram asked the artist if this was the official cover, since he’s worked with Martin before, Altınöz replied “I have my moments David, so who knows, my friend?”

That’s what we call ‘playing coy’ and could mean a lot of things. It doesn’t rule out the possibility that this is, indeed, the long-awaited Winds Of Winter cover. Then again, it’s far from a sure thing.

Let’s pretend it’s the real deal for a moment. If it is, that could also mean that we’re getting an official announcement of some kind—perhaps even a release date!—in the not-so-distant future. In the artist’s other Instagram posts, he typically notes when something is a fan poster or fan-art and he doesn’t do that here. Then again, when he posts the official artwork, it usually is accompanied with some kind of publisher copyright—and this, I’m afraid, has none.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m thinking it, too. This is probably nothing, signifying nothing, a bit of fan-art from an artist as hopeful as the rest of us that Martin will finish the damn book and we can all wait another decade for the last one (to probably never come out). I’m not bitter, you’re bitter.

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Imaginary Friends: Barcelona art show aims to connect with our inner child – The Guardian



Nine leading contemporary artists have come together to create an interactive exhibition in Barcelona for kids – and anyone in touch with their inner child.

“Before the pandemic we had the idea of mounting an exhibition of contemporary art for people of all ages, something that children could relate to but also so that older people could relive the experience of being a child and participate as if they were children,” said Martina Millà, who jointly curated the show at the Fundació Joan Miró with Patrick Ronse, the artistic director of the Be-Part contemporary art platform in Belgium.

Millà added: “There’s much in this exhibition that’s therapeutic, above all a return to a pre-pandemic spirit after we’ve all suffered so much.”

Tails Tell Tales, an installation by Afra Eisma.

The show, titled Imaginary Friends, brings together installations from nine contemporary artists, several of whom are known to Ronse from his involvement in the 2018 Play festival of contemporary art.

Outside, at the entrance to the exhibition, visitors are invited to sit on Jeppe Hein’s beguilingly convoluted bench, conceived as a riposte to the hostile architecture of street furniture, such as benches designed so that homeless people cannot sleep on them.

One of the most striking installations is We Are the Baby Gang, a collection of colourful, feathered polar bears created by Paola Pivi, an Italian artist who lives in Alaska, which Millà says is designed to make us consider the anthropomorphic way we look at animals.

Pipilotti Rist’s oversized sofa

The creatures are very tactile but this part of the show is not interactive, leaving one small and disappointed boy to go into a screaming meltdown when he was told off for touching the exhibit.

That aside, the gallery is filled with the babble of excited children and the British artist Martin Creed’s Half the Air in a Given Space gives them plenty of opportunity to let off steam.

Creed has filled a room almost to the ceiling with large orange balloons, creating an immediate feeling of disorientation and claustrophobia accompanied by an irresistible impulse to burst out laughing.

Perhaps the most engaging work in the show is the Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist’s oversized sofa and armchair. Sitting on the enormous sofa, with your feet barely reaching the edge of the seat, never mind the floor, is an Alice in Wonderland moment that provokes a powerful physical memory of childhood.

“These works are a way of inventing a parallel life,” said Millà. “It’s like having an imaginary friend, and also a means of escape.”

Imaginary Friends is at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona until 2 July

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Inspired by a Lifetime exhibition showcases art by nonagenarians –



A local artist is capturing the beauty in sunset years by teaching seniors how to paint. Their work has made the walls of a local gallery. 

“I thought I’d be dead before I got famous. Thank God that’s not the case,” jokes 92-year-old Keith Sumner, one of the many seniors whose original art is displayed at the exhibit titled Inspired by a Lifetime at Stonebridge Art Gallery.

A resident of Leacock Retirement Lodge in Orillia, he is one of the students taking lessons with Lisa Harpell, an Elmvale-based artist who has been teaching art classes to seniors in retirement homes in the region. 


The work of about 40 senior artists ranging in age from 81 to 101 years old from seven retirement communities is on display at the Wasaga Beach gallery until March 27. The show includes work done by residents from Waterside Retirement Lodge (Wasaga Beach), Chartwell Whispering Pines (Barrie), Aspira Waterford Retirement Residents (Barrie), Allandale Station (Barrie), Lavita Barrington Retirement Lodge (Barrie), Bayfield House (Penetanguishene), and Leacock Retirement Lodge (Orillia).

The exhibition also includes Harpell’s paintings and sculptures. 

True to its title, each painting displayed for Inspired by a Lifetime has an impactful story to tell.

Verna Stovold, who suffers from macular degeneration, was one of Lisa Harpell’s students whose work is part of the Inspired by a Lifetime exhibit now on at Stonebridge Art Gallery. Contributed photo by Lisa Harpell

Verna Stovold, who lives with macular degeneration, is one of the many seniors attending the classes.

“Verna paints beautifully because her body remembers how to paint background, middle ground and foreground,” said her teacher, Harpell. “She tells us the paint that she wants and she dabs her brush and goes right ahead and paints. She asks me all the time if it’s okay if she comes to class … I say, ‘Verna, you’re the one that’s inspiring everyone else.’ Because I am holding up [her] paintings and everybody goes ‘wow.’” 

Stovold has two large paintings and ten studies included in the exhibition.

The process of training seniors to paint has been extremely gratifying for Harpell. 

“It is deeply satisfying to the soul. It brings me to tears all the time,” she said. “Because I know that what they created is worth showing. And it needs to be brought to the community not only for their sake, but for the community to realize that anyone can do this. Creativity is something that gives us hope. And that is something that is necessary in this world right now.” 

In her early days, Georgian College, Barrie, grad worked with the late Canadian artist, William Ronald. 

“He really did bring out the kid in me. He was such a kid himself. And that [thought] is what I really try to pass on, not only his legacy. I also find that the child in every one of my students wants to just play with paint and get their hands dirty. And have some fun and laughs,” says the mother of four. 

Alysanne Dever, lifestyle and programs manager at Chartwell Whispering Pines Retirement Residence, said the exhibition and art classes have brought a wave of positivity for the artists, their family, and their caretakers. 

“This is the first time that I have ever seen or heard of an art gallery showing for seniors with no prior experience,” says Dever, noting the opening day reception crowd packed the gallery. “Really, that’s what it’s all about! The residents were so proud that people were complimenting and wanting to learn about what inspired them to paint specific photos. One of our residents actually sold an art piece as well and she was so thrilled!”

Dever is a strong proponent of the benefits of art therapy, and says it provides residents with a creative outlet to express what might otherwise stay bottled up. 

The talented group of senior artists at Chartwell Allandale Station Retirement Residence. Contributed photo by Lisa Harpell

“This allows them to escape from reality, even for a little bit as they immerse themselves in their art piece in that moment,” says Dever. “Art therapy encourages seniors to use their creativity and gives them a sense of control and independence, which are essential qualities as you age.”

Not every brush stroke is smooth, and not every day was wrinkle-free for Harpell while she taught lessons in retirement homes. From outbreaks and whiteouts to loss of confidence, the behind-the-scenes training and coordination to make the exhibit happen meant clearing several hurdles. 

And yet, Harpell says, it is during the most trying circumstances that intuitive art therapy has a larger role to play, especially among the community’s vulnerable ones. Art has played such a role in Sumner’s life, after he picked up the brush in his 90s. 

“Painting puts you in a different mindset. Takes you away from everyday things,” says Sumner. “My perception of things has changed. The sky is different every day… and it intrigues me. I am observing things more critically, in more detail…and painting has encouraged that.” 

The exhibit is supported by the Wasaga Society for the Arts, in part because it helps accomplish the society’s mandate of making art accessible. 

The society’s interim president, Steve Wallace, said the group aims to introduce the community to all kinds of art, and to promote diversity and inclusion for artists and patrons. 

The Inspired by a Lifetime exhibition runs at the Stonebridge Art Gallery until March 27 on Thursdays and Saturdays and on Monday, March 27 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Lisa Harpell at the Christopher Cutts Gallery in Toronto where she attended an event honoring her late mentor Canadian artist William Ronald. Contributed photo by Antoine Adeux

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