National Academy of Design, New York

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National Academicians

peter campus: locks eddy, 2018

Elizabeth King with Richard Kizu-Blair: What Happened,1991/2008

Mary Lucier: Summer, or Grief, 1998/2018

Christian Marclay: Telephones, 1995

Shahzia Sikander: The Last Post, 2010

Carrie Mae Weems: Italian Dreams, 2006

Into the Horizon

New Media Works by National Academicians

The National Academy of Design has a simple yet powerful mission: “to promote American art and architecture through exhibition and instruction.” Founded in 1825 by a group of forward-thinking artists and architects who believed themselves to be the best agents for the advancement of the field, the NAD is an honor society of America’s top artists and architects—the National Academicians. Becoming a National Academician is a lifetime honor and one that cannot be applied for or solicited. New members are elected annually, totaling over 2,300 since our founding.

National Academicians serve as ambassadors for the arts in America. They show work in the Academy’s exhibitions, foster the next generation through educational programs, and, in keeping with an almost 200-year-old tradition, contribute a work to the collection. The NAD permanent collection of nearly 8,000 works—unlike any other in the United States, shaped by the National Academicians themselves—represents one of the nation’s most significant and unique holdings of American art and architecture.

The National Academy of Design is pleased to present new media works by six of our esteemed members. By offering a glimpse into the collection alongside works by mid-career and emerging VOLTA artists, the NAD aims to further showcase the importance of mentorship, influence, and artist education.

Frances Barth, NA & Rebecca Cleman In Conversation

THURSDAY, MARCH 7

THE VOLTA SALON

4 pm – National Academy of Design: Frances Barth, NA and Rebecca Cleman (Electronic Arts Intermix’s Director of Distribution)

 

Born in the Bronx, having received her advanced degrees from Hunter College, CUNY, Frances Barth (NA 2011) has been working and showing her painting in New York and internationally since the 1960s. Her painting is represented in numerous public, corporate, and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Albright Knox Museum. While an art student, Barth also studied modern dance and began performing with Yvonne Rainer at Lincoln Center and the Billy Rose Theater in 1968-9, and with Joan Jonas in dance and video in 1970. During the last 15 years, she has created two animations, two documentaries, and a short b&w film set in 1947 after the Japanese internment. Her films have shown in the US, Canada, Europe, and South America and won awards. Barth’s new documentary, The Audition, will premiere in Paris in April 2019. In 2017, she published her first graphic novel, Ginger Smith and Billy Gee, with settings derived from her paintings. Her awards include two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, an Adolphe and Esther Gottlieb Individual Support Grant, two American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase awards, the Anonymous Was a Woman grant and a Pollock-Krasner grant. She is Director Emeritus of the Mt. Royal School of Art, the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. For more information please see: francesbarth.com/resume.php.

Rebecca Cleman is the Director of Distribution of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), a leading nonprofit resource that has fostered the creation, exhibition, distribution and preservation of media art since 1971. In 2018, with Alex Klein, she co-curated Broadcasting: EAI at ICA, an exhibition exploring the networked context of video art and its connection to television. She has programmed and curated numerous projects exploring media art history, including Amnesia for Andrea Rosen Gallery, in collaboration with Josh Kline (2010); VHS: The Exhibition for Franklin Street Works in Stamford, Connecticut (2012); and Attack of the Packs! for Metrograph theater (2017). She has introduced screenings at Anthology Film Archives, Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn, Lightbox Film Center Philadelphia, and the Museum of Art and Design, among many other venues. She has published essays on video art and cinema in INDEX journal, BOMB magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, the Moving Image Source, and Metrograph’s Edition, among others, and is a regular contributor to Screen Slate. She has organized a number of public programs for EAI, most recently events with Kalup Linzy, Trevor Shimizu, and Mendi + Keith Obadike, and a series focused on Merce Cunningham’s dances for camera. In the Spring of 2019, she will program a series of infrastructure disaster films for Anthology Film Archives. 

Talk Description: This conversation between National Acaemician Frances Barth and Rebecca Cleman will use the vibrant context of the 1960s as a departure point to consider the cross-pollination of the visual arts with performance, expanded cinema, and media art. Barth, a painter who participated in performances with Yvonne Rainer and Joan Jonas, will talk about her experience of the exciting exchange of ideas at this time, bringing together the influence of such figures as Maya Deren, Agnes Varda, Marguerite Duras, Jonas Mekas, peter campus, and the Judson Dance Theater collective. Cleman will frame their dialog with the unique perspective she has gained working with videos and films dating from the 1960s to now, and will talk about the legacy of that catalytic period, which also launched Electronic Arts Intermix, where she currently serves as the Director of Distribution.

Elizabeth King (NA 2017) with Richard Kizu-Blair
What Happened
1991, Remastered for HD video, 2008, single-channel video, no audio, 8 min.; National Academy of Design, New York.

Elizabeth King, NA & Mike Belzer In Conversation

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

THE VOLTA SALON

4 pm – National Academy of Design: Elizabeth King, NA and Mike Belzer

 

Elizabeth King (NA 2017) combines figurative sculpture with stop-motion animation in works that blur the boundary between actual and virtual object. Her most recent solo show, Radical Small, was on view at MASS MoCA from February, 2017, through January, 2018. She opened that show with a one-week live stop-motion film shoot performed in front of viewers, working with Seattle-based animator Mike Belzer. The film set and finished animation were on view for the remainder of the exhibition. Influenced by the history of the puppet, the automaton, and literature’s legends in which the artificial figure comes to life, King's work touches on the mind/body riddle, the anatomy of emotion, the human/machine interface, and the direct gaze in an increasingly mediated world. A 2002 Guggenheim Fellow, her work is in permanent collections of the Hirshhorn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Hood Museum at Dartmouth, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is represented by Danese/Corey in New York. Double Take, a documentary film on her work by Olympia Stone, was released in 2018 and shown on PBS stations nationwide. She taught at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Sculpture and Extended Media from 1985 to 2015. For more see: thesizesofthings.com.

Mike Belzer is an internationally-known animator whose work can be seen in the films The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and others. He works across genres: experimental shorts, commercial spots, series television, feature-length films, and games. Trained in stop-motion, he is equally skilled in computer animation, and currently animates for computer games as well as for the emerging world of VR. He got his start in stop-motion with Art Clokey, creator of the TV series Gumby, and from there moved to Colossal Pictures in San Francisco as the staff animator. Working on both experimental projects (MTV's Liquid Television) and commercial spots (the iconic Pillsbury Doughboy), he honed his craft, capturing character and gestural style, “acting through a puppet, one frame at a time.” He went on to become a core animator for Tim Burton and Henry Selick on the Oscar-nominated film The Nightmare Before Christmas (1994 for Best Visual Effects). With the rise of the computer in the film and special effects world in the 1990s, Belzer expanded into computer animation for Pixar, Walt Disney Feature Animation (Dinosaur, Meet the Robinsons, Bolt), and Warner Bros. (animating shorts for PEPFAR: the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in sub-Saharan Africa). He now animates for the Seattle-based game design company Valve, where he helped create Team Fortress 2, Portal 2, and most recently the VR game The Lab. He has lectured worldwide on the art of animation. He loves watching people move. See mikebelzer.com.

Talk Description: National Academician Elizabeth King’s short stop-motion film, What Happened (with Richard Kizu-Blair), is on view during VOLTA New York as part of the National Academy’s exhibition hall, Into the Horizon. Mike Belzer, a lead animator on that 1991 film, joins King on Friday, March 8, at 4:00 p.m. for a demonstration of traditional stop-motion animation, showing how King’s sculptures are animated for film. What does the sculpture do? It becomes a being that thinks, worries, counts, and tries things with its wooden hands. Because stop-motion captures all the native material and light of the real world, the sculpture on film loses none of its physical character as a made thing. King and Belzer reunited and worked together recently at MASS MoCA creating a stop-motion film in the museum’s gallery as part of the show, allowing visitors to observe the process and the profound concentration it requires. Clips of that film will be shown in this demo. For King, the film set turns a sculpture into a performing instrument rather than an object on a pedestal. For Belzer, the chance to pose a model capable of subtle motion lets him access a complex range of emotions in mime. Two very different disciplines, each influencing the other, come together in the work of Belzer and King.

Mary Lucier (NA 2015)
Summer, or Grief
1998, reworked in 2018, single-channel, 8 min.; Courtesy of the artist.

Mary Lucier, NA & Donna Dennis, NA in Conversation

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

THE VOLTA SALON

4 pm – National Academy of Design: Mary Lucier, NA and Donna Dennis, NA

 

Mary Lucier (NA 2015) has been known for her contributions to the form of multi-monitor, multi-channel video installation since the early 1970s. After studying sculpture and literature at Brandeis University she became involved in photography and performance and traveled extensively with the Sonic Arts Union for several years, collaborating with composers Alvin Lucier and Robert Ashley in concerts throughout the US and Europe. Since 1971, her mixed-media video work has consistently explored the theme of landscape as a metaphor for loss and regeneration and, more recently, trauma as experienced and articulated in more obliquely narrative modes. In this time, Lucier has also produced a significant body of single-channel pieces which have been screened in museums and festivals worldwide. Her video work has been shown in major museums around the world where it now resides in numerous collections, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Reina Sofia, the Stedelijk Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Over the years, she has been the recipient of many awards and fellowships, notably Anonymous Was a Woman, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Fellowship, Creative Capital, USA Artists, and the Japan-US Friendship Commission. She has recently been involved in reviving and revising select older works for a contemporary context — for example a recent installation of Color Phantoms with Automatic Writing, 1972/2015, with the late Robert Ashley at The Kitchen, and Equinox, 1979/2016, at the Sculpture Center in an exhibition called Before Projection: Video Sculpture, 1974-1995.

Donna Dennis (NA 2010) is known for her complex sculptural installations that draw inspiration from vernacular architecture. Her many solo exhibition venues include the Neuberger Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Indianapolis Museum, and Holly Solomon Gallery. Her work is in prominent collections including the Brooklyn Museum, the Cleveland Art Museum, the Walker Art Center, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst in Aachen, Germany, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Neuberger Museum and the Martin Z. Margulies Collection. She has completed several permanent public art commissions including one at John F. Kennedy Airport. She is the recipient of many grants and awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, several National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants. In 2012, she received the Artists’ Legacy Foundation Award; in 2014, the Merit Award in Sculpture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; and in 2015, the Anonymous Was a Woman Award. Ship and Dock/Nights and Days or The Gazer, a new installation Dennis exhibited at Lesley Heller Gallery in New York in 2018, marked her first use of video.

Talk Description: National Academicians and installation artists Mary Lucier and Donna Dennis will discuss Lucier’s impressive body of work and long history in video installation, including Summer, or Grief (Anticipation of a Death), on display in Into the Horizon, the National Academy’s exhibition hall at VOLTA. Longtime friends, Lucier is known as a pioneer in video installation, having worked in it since the early 1970s, and having had a hand in developing some of the innovative aspects of the new medium. Dennis has worked in sculptural installation since the early 1970s, creating large, architecturally-inspired works that include sound and light. Last year, she added video to a work for the first time. The work of both Dennis and Lucier has been described as poetic, Romantic, theatrical, and involved in the mythical. In a wide-ranging and open-ended conversation, they will explore such topics as structure as container for video and sound, video and sound as animator of structure, the use of narrative, as well as their personal histories as artists. Both born in Ohio and longtime residents of New York City, they will discuss childhood experiences with art, influences on them as young artists, the impact of the Women’s Movement on their lives and work, collaboration with artists in other fields — Lucier has collaborated with choreographers and composers; Dennis with poets and performance artists — the impact of landscape and narrative on their work, the process of making a work from conception to execution, and what is like to be in a position to look back on over four decades of creating innovative art.