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Stan VanDerBeek, Movie Mural, 1968/2011, mixed media. Installation view, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA, 2011.

Stan VanDerBeek

Stan VanDerBeek, Movie Mural, 1968/2011, mixed media. Installation view, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA, 2011.

STAN VANDERBEEK remains best known for the experimental films he made during the 1950s and ’60s, which placed him at the forefront of avant-garde cinema. This first retrospective exhibition of VanDerBeek’s work, co-curated by João Ribas and Bill Arning, offers the chance to more broadly consider his visionary engagement with the postwar communications revolution. Indeed, seeing this much of his work together makes it seem both utterly contemporary and oddly quaint. VanDerBeek’s use of multiscreen projection and his transformation of the white cube of the modernist gallery into the black box that dominates so many large-scale exhibitions today mark him as a harbinger of art’s current obsession with moving images. But the many formats he used—including 16-mm film, slides, broadcast television, fax machines, and mainframe computers—are outmoded in the age of new media,

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