Press Room

Video Art Exhibition at NMWA Opens June 6

Apr 28 2014

The exhibition explores women artists at the forefront of video and their capacity to shape broad fields of art.

WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) presents Total Art: Contemporary Video, its first large-scale presentation of video art, exploring women’s impact on the field. 

On view June 6–Oct. 12, 2014, this exhibition features ten works, including recently acquired works in the museum collection as well as loans from notable private and public collections. With works by Dara Birnbaum, Kimsooja, Mariko Mori, Mwangi Hutter, Alex Prager, Pipilotti Rist, Michal Rovner, Margaret Salmon, Eve Sussman/Rufus Corporation and Janaina Tschäpe, Total Art highlights the inventive processes and compelling subjects that sustain women artists’ position at the forefront of video.

In the 1960s and 1970s, women artists were among the early innovators of video art. They filmed their work as performance artists and created original films critiquing the format and content of television and mainstream cinema. Two generations later, video artists combine multiple mediums to develop immersive, experiential videos. They design elaborate stage sets, film at remote locations, incorporate digital technology and animation, and meticulously plan viewing spaces.

“Featuring single-channel works as well as sweeping installations, Total Art demonstrates the global impact of this art form and provides an exciting counterpoint to other more traditional works of art on view at NMWA,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “This exhibition puts a spotlight on women’s creativity in photo-based arts and demonstrates women’s power to drive art movements.”

Women artists in earlier centuries frequently struggled to find training, opportunities and recognition within the traditional fields of painting, sculpture or printmaking.

“NMWA’s exhibitions of historical art often tell the story of women finding success within social systems that typically excluded them; however, women practiced photography from the time of its invention in the 19th century,” said NMWA Chief Curator and exhibition curator Kathryn Wat. “Women were integrally involved with the development of photography—and later video—into fine art forms. Photo-based exhibitions such as Total Art emphasize women’s innovations and vision rather than primarily contextualizing their work.”

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