Nam June Paik

Nam June Paik’s “Electronic Superhighway”

Rediscovering Paik: A Chat With Smithsonian Curator John G. Hanhardt
Posted by John Anderson on Mar. 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Given the recent opening of an exhibition of Nam June Paik’s work at the National Gallery of Art, as well as the long-term commitment to media art the Smithsonian American Art Museum has made its Watch This! exhibition, I thought now would be a good time to talk with SAAM’s senior curator for media arts, John G. Hanhardt, about the Nam June Paik archives. SAAM acquired the archives in 2009 and plans to dedicate an exhibition to them next year. We discussed the institution’s commitment to Paik and the history of the moving image, the difficulties of presenting media art, and the upcoming show.

Washington City Paper: Since a personal relationship often springs from a professional relationship, how well did you know Paik?

John Hanhardt: I knew him very well from the early 1970s, and I was privileged to be engaged in his work and to include his work in numerous exhibitions. I traveled with him to Germany where he introduced me to many of his colleagues and friends. I would visit him and his wife, Shigeko [Kubota], in his loft and studio. We were in active personal communication and spent time together. After his stroke I visited him very shortly thereafter in the hospital, and flew down to Miami, frequently, to see him. I spent time with him regularly until the end. A lot of our conversations were about projects, because he was always working on things: whether it was developing a satellite television project, or a video tape, or a sculpture. Some of those projects were discussed because I was involved in them as a curator and some of those things we discussed were because he wanted me to know about them.

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Art That Has to Sleep in the Garage

Art That Has to Sleep in the Garage
Published: June 26, 2005
New York Times

San Francisco

Video art by Doug Aitken in Norman and Norah Stone’s garage. (Ethan Kaplan for The New York Times)

ONE day last month, Pam Kramlich tried to serve lunch to two guests, but the artwork kept interrupting. A gentle rain tapped the windows of her stone house atop one of the city’s best hills. The antique table was set with salads prepared by the housekeeper, and the video art simply wouldn’t shut up.

On one screen, the artists Gilbert and George, filmed in crude 1972 video, sipped cocktails while classical music played and a voice intoned over and over, “Gordon’s makes us drunk.” To the right was a 1969 piece by Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, in which Ms. Holt schlepped the camera through a field of reeds, the soundtrack booming with her stomping and puffing, while Mr. Smithson gave her barely audible directions.

piece by Bill Viola. (Ethan Kaplan for The New York Times)

Mrs. Kramlich, a slender 62-year-old with a serene smile, and her gruff venture-capitalist husband, Dick, 71, own what may be the single largest private collection of art that uses electronic sound or moving images. This is known as video art, or media art, or time-based art, and the Kramlichs share their labyrinthine California Tudor home with it. Screens flash from a snarl of tubing atop the dark-stained oak staircase. Slides scroll above the fluffy duvet on the guest bed. A boy’s face flickers on a movie screen in the otherwise muted calm of the cream-colored master bedroom.

When all the art is activated, the house hums, thrums, squeaks and squawks, gibbers, moans and shouts. In fact, the effect is so overwhelming that the Kramlichs are more or less forced to leave most of their expensive, impeccably chosen collection turned off most of the time. But when the pieces are on, as they were during lunch, Mrs. Kramlich says she savors the cacophony. “I enjoy having these works on,” she said. “This is fun. It’s playtime.”

Norman and Norah Stone with Matthew Barney’s video art from their collection. (Ethan Kaplan for The New York Times)

As eccentric as the Kramlichs’ domestic situation may seem today, 10 years ago it would have been a downright oddity. Back then, video art was an outlier, a market that collectors barely touched. But now, video art is widely bought and exhibited by collectors and museums alike, and there are those who say flat screens may soon be as common on household walls as picture frames.

“Video is where still photography was in the 1970’s,” said Bruce Jenkins, a dean at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. “There used to be a hesitance to purchasing photos. Now photography is the rage.”

Yet, as the first generation of video collectors is discovering, video remains a confounding, ornery medium – especially when it’s placed between the silver-framed vacation snapshots and the door that leads to the laundry room. Most artworks sit, mute and distinguished, on a mantel or behind a couch. Video pieces demand attention, and they never blend into the background the way even the most monumental Rothko or vibrantly colored Stella can.

“They remind me of my Jack Russell terriers,” said Norman Stone, another avid collector. “You can’t ignore them.”

THE first odd thing about collecting video art is this: the medium came into being partly because artists wanted to make work that couldn’t be collected. It was born in 1965 when Sony introduced the first portable video camera, attracting artists like Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, Joan Jonas and Vito Acconci. “The dream we had was art that couldn’t be sold, but broadcast on television,” the video artist Bill Viola said in a recent phone interview.

A work by Dara Birnbaum, also from the Kramlichs’ collection. (Ethan Kaplan for The New York Times)

By the 1980’s, however, dealers and artists were turning video into a commodity. Now prices range from a few thousand dollars to six figures. Though collectors aren’t talking money, the Kramlichs’ curator allows that the couple have spent “millions” amassing some 250 pieces.

The pair, who married in 1981 after just seven weeks of courtship, began collecting art when they discovered they had nothing in common. In consultation with curators from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and their adviser, Thea Westreich, they chose to amass video art, because it fit in with Mr. Kramlich’s interest in technology, the museum needed patrons in this area, and there was little competition from other collectors.

At first Mrs. Kramlich assumed that video art would be easy to deal with. “You just pop the tape into the recorder and play it,” she said.

Soon she discovered that it wasn’t quite that simple. Buy a painting, and you get the painting sent to you in a crate. When the Kramlichs buy a video installation, say one of Bill Viola’s – they own several – they are typically buying one of an edition of anywhere from 3 to 10. They’ll receive a master copy of the piece, in digital Beta or the highest-fidelity format available; a DVD home-viewing copy; the equipment needed to show the piece; and an archival box that includes setup instructions, blueprints and a signed certificate of authenticity…….

remainder of article and more images here

Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson’s Photo Alchemy

Day to Day, January 16, 2006 · Gregory Crewdson doesn’t so much take pictures as make them. Some critics say the photographer and artist is reinventing the genre by using film techniques to stage pictures.

Crewdson’s carefully constructed tableaus generate more questions than answers:


• A man sits in a garage, the door gaping open to a dark and rainy sky. A car is parked haphazardly in the rain, its headlights focused on the man. He is surrounded by lawn turf, rolls and mounds of it. Half-buried in the turf is a rake. His face is weary, a little sad, maybe even disconsolate.

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Nussenzweig v. DiCorcia

Erno Nussenzweig (1922- ) in a portrait by Philip-Lorca diCorcia (1953- )

Nussenzweig v. DiCorcia is a New York County, New York Supreme Court case allowing the display, publication and sale (at least in limited editions) of “street photographs” without the consent of the subjects of those photographs.

The photograph at issue was taken by diCorcia on the streets of Times Square in Manhattan. DiCorcia attached an elaborate system of strobe lights to construction scaffolding, and aimed them and his camera toward a fixed point on the sidewalk. From 20 feet away, he operated the camera’s shutter and the lights, collecting images of passers-by – including Nussenzweig – without their knowledge. Nussenzweig’s photograph was exhibited at the Pace/MacGill Gallery from September 6, 2001 through October 13, 2001, and published in a book entitled Heads, co-published by Pace/MacGill. DiCorcia created ten original edition prints of the photograph, and no more will ever be printed. The entire edition was sold for $US 20,000-30,000 each.

The Lawsuit

In 2005, Nussenzweig learned of the photograph and filed a lawsuit, claiming that diCorcia and Pace/MacGill had violated his privacy rights under New York law. Specifically, he claimed that their conduct violated Sections 50 and 51 of New York’s Civil Rights Law, which prohibits the use of a person’s likeness, without consent, “for advertising or for purposes of trade.” Pointing to the fact that diCorcia and Pace/MacGill sold and published the photograph of Nussenzweig for a profit, Nussenzweig argued that such uses constituted “purposes of trade.”

DiCorcia and Pace/MacGill argued that the uses at issue were means of artistic expression, and thus were protected speech under the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and analogous provisions of New York’s Constitution. They also argued that Nussenzweig’s lawsuit was barred by the applicable statute of limitations, as it was filed more than one year after the photograph was first placed on display and for sale.

In a decision dated February 8, 2006, the trial court ruled in favor of diCorcia and Pace/MacGill, and dismissed Nussenzweig’s lawsuit. It ruled that the defendants’ uses of Nussenzweig’s likeness were not “commercial,” but rather were forms of artistic expression protected by the 1st Amendment. Accordingly, the court held that Nussenzweig could not block the publication, display or sale of the photograph containing his likeness, and that he was entitled to no money from the photographer, the gallery or the book publisher. The court also dismissed the lawsuit as untimely, holding that Nussenzweig had only one year to file suit after the picture was first “published.”

In March 2007, the dismissal was affirmed by New York’s First Appellate Division. All five justices of the appellate court agreed that Nussenzweig’s complaint was barred by the statute of limitations. Two of the justices wrote a separate opinion expressly upholding the trial court’s decision on constitutional grounds, as well.

Nussenzweig has been given leave to appeal the case to New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. Argument before the Court of Appeals is currently scheduled for October 2007.

source: wikipedia

Diane Arbus (1923-1971)


Double Exposure
A Moment With Diane Arbus Created A Lasting Impression
By David Segal
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 12, 2005; Page C01

NEW YORK They remember none of it. Not the lady with the camera, arranging them by a wall at the Knights of Columbus hall in their home town of Roselle, N.J. Not the chocolate cake they had just finished, which is very faintly visible in the picture at the creases of their lips. The Wade sisters, as they were known before they each married, recall nothing about the day they gazed into the lens of Diane Arbus and became part of American photographic history. Unless you count the dresses.

“We still have them,” says Colleen.

“Our mother made them,” says Cathleen. “They look black in the photograph but they’re actually green.”


They were 7 years old in 1967, when Arbus found the girls at a Christmas party for local twins and triplets. Nobody is quite sure how Arbus heard about the gathering, but a few parents obliged when she asked their children to pose. Which is how the Wade sisters wound up on a sidewalk, standing close enough to seem joined at the shoulder, their expression a kind of spectral blank.

The remainder of the article can be found here:

Picturing the Crisis

Like the post-Katrina streets of New Orleans, the refrigerator has become a ubiquitous symbol within the larger crisis.

One of the ways we remember an economic crisis is through images. Think of the Great Depression, told through the black-and-white portraits of men in bread lines, or wearing placards that beg for work; of a Wall Street suit hocking his car to pay for food; of Hoovervilles.

We remember the oil crisis of the 1970s—technically two crises—not through dry statistics but through scenes of cars and trucks, and sometimes people, stuck in a line that snakes off a gas station’s lot and down the street, choking a city block. And with each sharp drop in the Dow, there’s the ubiquitous portrait of a stockbroker guffawing at the ticker, his hands half-covering his face in disbelief.

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The Copyright Dilemma

Copyright practices have become a front-burner issue as more creative works are posted on the Web. While the online environment provides an efficient and expedient way to market all kinds of work, once it is posted there is little protection against intellectual property theft. The following begins a series of articles describing some movements aimed at finding solutions to current copyright practices that can no longer effectively meet the needs of the accelerated evolution of the contents on the world wide web.

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Martin Klimas

The New York Times Magazine food issue had plenty of fun this weekend; Looks like photo editor Kathy Ryan gave photographer Martin Klimas a 22-caliber rifle and told him to embrace his anger. He decimated an ear of corn, an apple and a pumpkin so thoroughly that the editors could not decide on a favorite.

Thus, the press run was trisected, and three covers ran. It was apparently random which one you got. My household was lucky enough this weekend to pick up two copies of the Times. So we got apple and corn. Corn was totally awesomer. source