Events > Book Launch

13 Mar. 2020

Video/Art, the First Fifty Years Launch

Barbara London
Peggy Gale

Video/Art, the First Fifty Years by Barbara London, ft. Barbara London in conversation with Peggy Gale! London, the curator who founded MoMA’s video program, recounts the artists and events that defined the medium’s first 50 years.

Doors 7pm
Discussion 7:30pm

Since the introduction of portable consumer electronics nearly a half century ago, artists throughout the world have adapted their latest technologies to art-making. In this book, curator Barbara London traces the history of video art as it transformed into the broader field of media art – from analog to digital, small TV monitors to wall-scale projections, and clunky hardware to user-friendly software. In doing so, she reveals how video evolved from fringe status to be seen as one of the foremost art forms of today.

Barbara London is a New York-based curator and writer, who founded the video-media exhibition and collection programs at The Museum of Modern Art, where she worked between 1973 and 2013. Her current projects include the book Video Art/The First Fifty Years (Phaidon: 2020), and the exhibition “Seeing Sound” (Independent Curators International, 2020-2024.)

London’s writing has appeared in numerous catalogs and publications, including ArtForum, Yishu, Leonardo, Art Asia Pacific, Art in America, and Modern Painter. London organized one-person shows with such media mavericks as Laurie Anderson, Peter Campus, Teiji Furuhashi, Gary Hill, Joan Jonas, Shigeko Kubota, Nam June Paik, Song Dong, Steina Vasulka, Bill Viola, and Zhang Peili. Her thematic exhibitions at MoMA included Soundings: A Contemporary Score (2013); Looking at Music (2009); Video Spaces (1995); Music Video: the Industry and Its Fringes (1985); and Video from Tokyo to Fukui and Kyoto (1979). She was the first to integrate the Internet as part of curatorial practice, with Stir-fry (1994); Internyet (1998); and (1999.)

London teaches in the Sound Art Department, Columbia University, and previously taught in the Graduate Art Department, Yale, 2014-2019. Her honors include: Getty Research Institute scholar, 2016; the Courage Award, Eyebeam, 2016; Gertrude Contemporary Residency, Melbourne, 2012; Dora Maar House Residency, Menerbes, 2010; a CEC Artslink award in Poland, 2003; a Japanese government Bunkacho Fellowship, 1992-93; and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1988-89.

Peggy Gale has published extensively on time-based works by contemporary artists in numerous magazines and exhibition catalogues, the first being “Videoscape” at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1974. Having edited three anthologies in Art Metropole’s “By Artists” series, she prepared “Video re/View: The (best) Source for Critical Writings on Canadian Artists’ Video” with Lisa Steele in 1996, and among many other titles was editor of “Artists Talk 1969-1977”, from The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax (2004). A selection of essays on the role of narrative in artists’ video, “Videotexts”, was published in 1995 by Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

A long-time independent curator, she was co-curator for “Archival Dialogues: Reading the Black Star Collection”, inaugurating the Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto, 2012) and most recently, was co-curator for the Biennale de Montréal 2014, titled “L’avenir (looking forward)”, at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and elsewhere.

She received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2006.

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