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HomeArchivesEmerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery Presents Vision of Television: Early Experimental Artists’ TV Broadcasts

Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery Presents Vision of Television: Early Experimental Artists’ TV Broadcasts

BOSTON, MA (September 4, 2018)—On Thursday, September 20, Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery will present a new exhibition that surveys the development of broadcast television as an artistic medium from the 1950s to the 1977 documenta contemporary art exhibit in Germany.

In the 1950s and 1960s, when broadcast television was in its formative stage of program development, postwar artists became interested in the medium as a way to reach more people than through exhibition or installation. This idealistic “Vision of Television” is the conceptual foundation for understanding a period of experimental artists’ television programming in Europe and the United States that was first initiated by public television program broadcasts by WGBH-Boston and West German Broadcasting (WDR).

“This exhibit documents the early development of artists’ involvement with television broadcasts during its nascent stage and commemorates the 50th anniversary of the landmark broadcasts by the two public broadcasting stations, WDR, Black Gate Cologne, and WGBH-Boston and The Medium is the Medium,” said Joseph D. Ketner, Emerson’s Henry and Lois Foster Chair in Contemporary Art and director of Emerson Urban Arts, Media Art Gallery, part of Emerson’s School of the Arts and Visual and Media Arts (VMA) Department.

These innovative artists’ television broadcasts helped uncover a new world of postwar art and opened the door for many artists of this generation to gain access to broadcast networks to produce imaginative programming. Those artists included Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik, Otto Piene, Aldo Tambellini and Stan VanDerBeek.

The Vision of Television exhibit opens with a reception Wednesday, September 19, 5:00-7:00 pm, and runs through Saturday, December 15, at the Emerson Urban Arts Gallery, which is free and open Wednesday through Friday from 2:00 – 7:00 pm. The gallery is located at 25 Avery Street, Boston. The exhibit will travel to the Düsseldorf Art Academy Gallery in the spring 2019. Research for the exhibit was sponsored by Gerda Henkel Stiftung, Düsseldorf.

About the Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery                                                               
Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery, which opened in 2016, offers four to six exhibitions per year, featuring the work of outstanding national and international visual and media artists as well as Emerson’s advancements in the fields of emergent digital media, projection mapping, augmented reality, data visualization, and performance art. It will serve as the locus of Emerson College’s School of the Arts’ Urban Arts Program that has brought public art events to the City of Boston. Funding for the Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery has been provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered through a collaboration between Mass Development and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Additional funding has been provided by the George I. Alden Trust and individual contributors to the Emerson Urban Arts. For more information, visit

About Emerson College                                                                                                             
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,780 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic. The College has an active network of 39,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit


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