"Video/Art: The First Fifty Years" by Barbara London. Image courtesy of Phaidon Press.
“Few guides are more qualified to lead readers through the rapid rise of the once renegade art form, which is now so ubiquitous that screens and paintings share walls in museums,” writes New Yorker editor and contributor Andrea K. Scott about Barbara London’s new publication Video/Art: The First 50 Years. London’s legacy and commitment to video art make this text crucial for tracing the rise of video art and digital media in contemporary art. Spending over forty years as MoMA’s pioneering video and media curator, London is responsible for founding MoMA’s expansive video and sound art collection. Her commitment to New York’s experimental downtown scene made her a crucial pioneering force among the likenesses of artists such as Nam June Paik, Joan Jonas, Shigeko Kubota, Lynda Benglis, and Tony Oursler, many of whom her colleagues and friends.
In her review, Scott writes: “What makes her book such a fun read is that it’s not exactly the comprehensive survey its title implies. Instead, it’s as much memoir as exegesis, an idiosyncratic front-line report from a deeply informed, intrepid, and passionate pioneer who is still in the trenches. (London now teaches graduate students at Yale, and her exhibition on sound art is about to commence a five-year tour.) Even her curatorial path was unconventional: the native New Yorker was pursuing a graduate degree in Islamic art when she traded the classroom for downtown haunts, like Max’s Kansas City, which was the Cedar Tavern of the electronic avant-garde—or ‘scenester intermedia mavericks,’ in London’s words.” To read more, click here.
Barbara London is the curator of Seeing Sound, an immersive exhibition that explores the recent trajectory of sound as a dynamic branch of contemporary art practice. The exhibition is the culmination of years of research by London, a pioneer in the field of video and new media, who now teaches in the Sound Art Department, Columbia University. It was developed with support from Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T., giving access to the latest in sonic technology and providing venues with experimental advances for the presentation of sound works. For more information about Seeing Sound, click here.