previews

Cambridge, MA

“Before Projection: Video Sculpture 1974–1995”

MIT List Visual Arts Center
20 Ames Street E15
February 8 - April 15

Curated by Henriette Huldisch

In our current age of portable microscreens and flat-screen TVs, it is hard to recall the stubborn materiality of the midcentury television set. Yet before large-screen projection became enshrined in museum and gallery spaces, a generation of Conceptual artists seeking alternatives to both experimental cinema and Minimalist sculpture seized on the availability of inexpensive consumer video technology as a new frontier. These artists did not explore television exclusively as a window onto an ideological world but as a three-dimensional object that might be moved from the domestic space of the living room and reimagined as a sculptural form. Including the monitor-based work of a dozen international artists, MIT’s upcoming exhibition recovers a crucial period of experimentation in the evolution of this media art while highlighting the important role women played in the movement. Pioneering works by Shigeko Kubota, Nam June Paik, Dara Birnbaum, Takahiko Iimura, Adrian Piper, Mary Lucier, and others interrogate and reenvision the relationships between bodies and technology, gender and gesture, and the society of the spectacle and its spectators.