PRINT April 2007


David Joselit

THE FIELD OF ART HISTORY registered a seismic shift in the late 1990s, when crops of grad students began to designate “video art” as a topic for their oral exams, or even to write their dissertations on the formerly bereft genre. The appeal of the subject was clearly driven by a new historical fact: Digital convergence was bringing about the end of magnetic-tape video art as such, even while projected digital video was becoming the ubiquitous medium of choice in the circuitry of global exhibitions. A similar transformation is taking place today within the broader landscape of communications technology, as network television and Hollywood cinema confront such new platforms as broadband websites and iPods—part of a greater migration of all media into increasingly personalized, portable formats. The latter development raises questions for artists and art historians alike, as the very

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