AN EVENING WITH DARA BIRNBAUM

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | February 5, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 6pm | Dara Birnbaum in person!

Still from Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (Dara Birnbaum, 1978-79). Courtesy the Video Data Bank.
Still from Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (Dara Birnbaum, 1978-79). Courtesy the Video Data Bank.

Thirty years before the ubiquitous YouTube mash-up, artist Dara Birnbaum hijacked television imagery in a series of coolly ironic videos that recontextualized pop cultural icons (Wonder Woman, Kojak, Laverne & Shirley), TV grammar (inserts, two-shots, wipes), and genres (soap operas, sitcoms, game shows) to reveal their ideological subtexts. Birnbaum described her videos as late 20th century “ready-mades”–works that “manipulate a medium which is itself highly manipulative.” Now renowned as a pioneer in televisual appropriation, she is currently the subject of a major retrospective that began at S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Belgium, and will tour to Museu Fundação Serralves in Porto, Portugal, later in the spring. This evening, Birnbaum will present an overview of her practice, with examples from her seminal early videos (Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman, 1978-79; Pop Pop Video: General Hospital/Olympic Speed Skating, 1980), music videos and commercial spots (Airbreak, MTV Inc., 1987), gallery installations (Tiananmen Square: Break-In Transmission, 1989-90), large-scale, interactive outdoor pieces (Rio Videowall, 1989), as well as her latest works. Dara Birnbaum, 1978-2010, USA, multiple formats, ca. 90 min (plus discussion).

DARA BIRNBAUM (b. 1946, New York, NY) lives and works in New York, NY.  Previous major solo exhibitions, career overviews, and retrospective screenings include: Kunsthalle Wien and the Norrtälje Konsthall (Sweden); The American Film Institute, Los Angeles and Washington; Kunsthaus, Zurich; Kunstmuseum, Bern; The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Jewish Museum, New York; IVAM Centre de Carme, Valencia; and the Musee d’Art Contemporain, Montreal, in addition to numerous international group shows and museum collections. She has also exhibited in Documenta VII, VIII, and IX, as well as at numerous Venice Biennales. Birnbaum has received myriad awards, including the Special Jury Prize, Deutscher Videokunstpreis, Südwestfunk, Baden-Baden, and Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, 1992; TV Picture Prize, XII Festival International de la Vidéo et des Arts Electroniques, Locarno, Switzerland, 1991; Certificate in Recognition of Service and Contribution to the Arts, Harvard University, 1988; The Maya Deren, American Film Institute Award for Independent Film and Video, 1987; and First Prize for Video, San Sebastian Film Festival, 1983. Birnbaum is represented by the Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris. Her work is distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix and the Video Data Bank.

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