Sunday, June 14, 2009

Video Killed the Painting Star

Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but anyone cruising the listings for grants, fellowships, and calls for work would have noticed the plethora of opportunities for video artists and other experimental media. I can understand the increased need for funds in this medium simply for no other reason than the fact that a video artist can't really sell the piece and consequently pay their rent with the proceeds. Still, it would be nice if most video/experimental work wasn't just some wanker jumping around with a camcorder while filming.

So what do you think is going to happen with video art? I have been having this discussion with a few people lately and I have a few predictions (anyone want to make bets?). First of all, as technology continues to become more and more mainstream, just using technology will not be significant enough to serve as the conceptual justification or qualifier to make something art. Essentially, no one will see the use of video as experimental or cutting edge anymore; it will just be a medium and it will be judged by how effectively that medium communicated the artist's intent and the artist's skill. With any luck, that will weed out most of the crappy videos.

And then the next new thing will come along and dominate the art funds. I have no idea what that could be. I feel like we have covered just about everything, except for animal artists. That would be amusing. The old, crazy cat lady would now be a leading patron of the arts. So go tape a crayon to your kitty's paw and get him started making you millions.


  1. Also interesting with video art are the problems with longevity and preservation, especially in such a quickly changing medium. What happens when your video art VHS from the 70s degrades, or when your VCR that's part of the piece breaks? Replace it with a DVD (followed by whatever's next) and lose its historical context? Classify it as performance, so whenever the components die the piece dies with it?

    I too look forward to the day that crappy video art fizzles out, but I don't know that it will come soon enough.

    Keep up the good work ladies!

  2. Allison Here:

    Excellent point on the preservation, Claire.

    But think on the bright side; you could start up a video art preservation business and just let the bad videos eat themselves. If only all bad art could eat itself....

    Thanks for reading!!

  3. I think that whenever I set up shop, I'm going to have "If only all bad art could eat itself" as my slogan.

    I'm sure someone has done it already, but maybe I could watch videos degrade and call it a performance. Grantworthy, no?