- Opening Reception: March 14th 2009, 6-8 pm
“The purpose and effect of such image flow and image density (also to be called “visual velocity”) is both to deal with logical understanding and to penetrate to unconscious levels, to reach for the emotional denominator of all men, the non-verbal basis of human life, thought, and understanding, and to inspire all men to goodwill and ‘inter-and-intro-realization’.”
-Stan VanDerBeek, 1965
The Box is excited to have the first solo-exhibition of works by moving image artist, Stan VanDerBeek (1927-1984) in Los Angeles. VanDerBeek viewed images as a complex and ever evolving medium. He was continuously exploring and expanding the possibilities of this medium throughout his life. From his work with film and multi-media installations to his published manifestos such as Re:Vision and “Culture: Intercom” and Expanded Cinema, he was driven to interpret, evaluate and project a response to the visual criteria of his time. His work was never singular in its efforts; it was intertwined and prismatic in its scope, much like our current existence. He was revolutionary in his way of thinking about the power of imagery and technology as educative tools. To that end, he was compelled to define how the multitude of existing images surrounding contemporary man (film, advertisements, artworks, photographs) could be used to create a new universal visual language.
On view at The Box will be an approximate restaging of VanDerBeek’s multi-media installation Movie Mural, 1968. This piece like his more infamous, Movie Drome, 1963-65, includes both moving and still projected imagery to create an encompassing dynamic space. In his “Culture: Intercom” and Expanded Cinema, one sees his interest in creating global communication through visual media: “it is imperative that we quickly find some way for the entire level of world human understanding to rise to a new human scale…an international picture language is a tool to build that future” Both the Movie Drome and the Movie Mural project images of all kinds from multiple sources, creating ephemeral collages in viewers’ minds eye. One of the moving image selections for the Movie Mural installation at The Box is Super-Impos it ion, 1968 which has recently been transferred to video. Using early video cameras and processors, VanDerBeek made this film while he was an artist in residence at Colgate University. VanDerBeek describes it as “Similes of a slippery TV tube gesticulate break and supply—a long view of multiple images (Mr. Johnson’s war, is it Howard Johnson’s or President Johnson’s war?)—a long curving view, breakfast with aspirin, good grief – or Goodbye.”
This exhibition will include a selection of collages from 1955-1983 that were used by VanDerBeek as animation frames in some of his most well known films- including BreathDeath, See Saw Seams, Ala Mode and Science Friction. These collages exemplify VanDerBeek’s iconic style, wit and visual sensibility. Some of the most iconic of these images will be shown here for the first time as contemporary prints. The Box will also attempt to re-stage VanDerBeek’s Panels for the Walls of the World, Telephone/Fax Mural, 1970. Originally the mural, a large scale collage of over 100 pages was sent via fax and installed live at each venue; at The Box we will attempt to re create the “real time” fax transmission by faxing the mural from New York, where it was last presented. While the success of this attempt to re-stage a live installation of the fax mural is unsure at best, it is a valiant effort at trying to understand and realize VanDerBeek’s interest in live visual communication. This exhibition will also include a selection of drawings and writings, a series of Mandell/a silk-screens which were made in 1972 from computer generated imagery and Violence Sonata, 1969, a double channel video originally created at WGBH and broadcast live on channels 2 and 44 mixing live studio action and prerecorded video.
Stan VanDerBeek studied at The Cooper Union and Black Mountain College and later received honorary doctorates from both. He participated in many international exhibitions as well as film festivals including the Intermedia Festival Tokyo, Exploration at MIT, the Whitney Biennial, and several Cine Probe programs at the MoMA, New York. Last year an exhibition of Stan VanDerBeek’s works at Guild & Greyshkul in New York was organized by two of Stan’s children, Sara and Johannes VanDerBeek. The Box looks forward to bringing this work to the west coast.
If you would like to view “Culture Intercom”: and Expanded Cinema in its entirety as well as additional writings and works by Stan VanDerBeek please visit www.guildgreyshkul.com/VanDerBeek/SVB-re.html
By Holly Myers
Published in The Los Angeles Times: Culture Monster
3 April 2009