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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 


On Thursday, November 15, 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).

The exhibit is one of a handful of exhibits planned by the gallery’s late Director and Emerson’s Henry and Lois Foster Chair in Contemporary Art, Joseph D. Ketner II. This research also culminated in his most recent book, Witness to Phenomenon: Ground ZERO and the Development of New Media in Postwar European Art.

“We are pleased to bring one of Joe’s last exhibits to life and to honor his work around the early development of artists’ involvement with television broadcasts during its nascent stage,” said Robert Sabal, Dean, Emerson College School of the Arts, who added that the exhibit also commemorates the 50th anniversary of landmark broadcasts by the two public broadcasting stations, WDR, Black Gate Cologne, and WGBH-Boston and The Medium is the Medium.

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 Thursday, November 15, with a reception from 5:00-7:00 p.m., and runs through Saturday, January 19, 2019 at the Emerson Urban Arts Gallery, which is free and open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from 2:00 – 7:00 p.m. The gallery is located at 25 Avery Street, Boston. 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 http://www.emerson.edu/urban-arts

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 emerson.edu.