Video Transformations

  • Charles Atlas, Parafango, 1984. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Zbigniew Rybczynski, Diana D, 1984. Courtesy of the artist and CBS Records.

  • John Sanborn, A Gentleman's Honor, 1983. Courtesy of the artist.

  • David Byrne, Once in a Lifetime, 1981. Courtesy of the artist and Overland Productions.

  • Julia Heyward, Dragging the Bottom, 1982-83. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Bill Viola, Reverse Television - Portraits of Viewers, 1983-84. Courtesy of the artist.

Curated by Lois Bianchi

Video has emerged as a significant contemporary art form in its own right and as an adjunct to the artistic techniques of other fields. Video Transformations presents current video works that reinterpret the performing and visual arts, showing how video artists have dealt with the limitations and challenges posed by the medium, and how they have transformed other arts to video. Many of the works are collaborative creations of the video maker and artists in other fields. In some instances, most particularly in the ultimately non-collaborative area of visual art, the video maker is the artist. The exhibition is divided into four programs, each about 90 minutes in length and each providing a sampling of art transformations. The video makers represented come from all parts of the United States, and include men and women of a variety of backgrounds and points of view.


The successful transformation of other art forms to video must take into account the specific properties of the medium. In the best works created today, video artists accept the limitations and exploit the advantages of video. Thus, while the reality of the small screen eliminates panoramic stage pictures and limits the amount of activity that can be portrayed at any single moment, it also offers an intimacy and immediacy far beyond what any live or filmed performance can provide. That same intimacy provides considerable opportunity to experiment with content: works that pose difficult questions or present mysterious happenings are often less daunting to an audience when seen on a small scale.


In Video Transformations, we see how technology is used by the artist to enhance the expression of traditional art forms. We also see that technology has encouraged the growth of video art as a separate form. But if this new art form is to fulfill its potential, the video artist must be more than technically proficient. He or she must posses a vision or idea which will expand the viewer’s perception of life, as have other artists’ visions for centuries. If video art is to be of lasting value, a video aesthetic must be cultivated.


—Excerpt from foreword to the exhibition catalogue by Lois Bianchi, 1986


Accompanying this exhibition is the catalogue “Video Transformations” edited by Lois Bianchi. Please click here or visit our shop for more information.



Lois Bianchi

Lois Bianchi was a founding member and board member of New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT), as well as an active participant in the Archive Committee and the Women’s Film Preservation Fund. She began her career with NET, the forerunner to WNET and Channel Thirteen, where she produced documentaries among other filmic formats.

After a stint as a producer for CBS on The American Parade series, Lois supported the work of playwright/director Robert Wilson, producing his work both on television and in the theatre. Returning to public television, she created Metroline, the public affairs series, as well as New Television, a series for experimental video. She won numerous awards for her work, including an Emmy for Hizonnor!, a docudrama about Fiorello LaGuardia, former Mayor of New York City. Bianchi held teaching positions at NYU, the Columbia School of Journalism, San Diego University, Syracuse University, and Queens College. 

In 2000, Bianchi received a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship to the University of Zagreb, Croatia, where she produced a half-hour documentary broadcast on television in both Croatia and the United States.


touring schedule

Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA, United States
April 5, 1987 - April 19, 1987

Bass Museum of Art
Miami Beach, FL, United States
March 31, 1987 - April 11, 1987

Oklahoma Art Center
Oklahoma City, OK, United States
March 15, 1987 - March 29, 1987

Modin Fine Arts Center, University of Richmond
Richmond, VA, United States
March 9, 1987 - March 23, 1987

Goldie Paley Gallery, Moore College of Art
Philadelphia, PA, United States
January 26, 1987 - February 9, 1987

Alberta College of Art Gallery
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
November 27, 1986 - December 11, 1986

Ohio State University Gallery of Fine Art
Columbus, OH, United States
November 5, 1986 - November 25, 1986

Tyler Art Gallery
Oswego, NY, United States
October 20, 1986 - October 31, 1986

Visual Studies Workshop
Rochester, NY, United States
September 19, 1986 - October 3, 1986

Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, NC, United States
September 15, 1986 - October 3, 1986

Video Free America
San Francisco, CA, United States
August 25, 1986 - September 6, 1986

Closely Watched Films
Doylestown, PA, United States
May 4, 1986 - May 10, 1986

Stevenson Union Gallery, Southern Oregon State College
Ashland, OR, United States
April 30, 1986 - May 14, 1986

Hillwood Art Gallery, C.W. Post University
Greenvale, NY, United States
April 12, 1986 - April 26, 1986

deSaisset Museum, University of Santa Clara
Santa Clara, CA, United States
February 28, 1986 - March 14, 1986

Grand Rapids Art Museum
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
February 17, 1986 - March 2, 1986

Ball State University Gallery
Muncie, IN, United States
January 26, 1986 - February 9, 1986

University of Arizona Museum of Art
Tucson, AZ, United States
January 20, 1986 - February 2, 1986

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