Walker Art Center

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Walker
Moving Image
Commissions

For the inaugural season of the Walker Moving Image Commissions, five artists were each commissioned to create a new work to view online from June 1 2015—May 31 2016. These works respond to the inspirations, inquiry, and influence of three key artists in the Walker’s Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection: Derek Jarman, Bruce Conner, and Marcel Broodthaers.

On view through May 31, 2016

Commissioned by the Walker Art Center with major support
from the Bentson Foundation.

Leslie Thornton

They Were Just People

Not currently viewable online

Leslie Thornton’s They Were Just People is a chilling exploration of the purpose and repurposing of memory during wartime. The work combines the artist’s manipulated footage of the La Brea Tar Pits in California with an oral account describing moments in the immediate aftermath of the 1945 US atomic bombing of Hiroshima in Japan. Thornton’s video emerges as a dark personal response to CROSSROADS (1976), artist Bruce Conner’s iconic film of the 1946 Bikini Atoll nuclear test. They Were Just People is the third installment in the Moving Image Commissions, a series that addresses works by key artists in the Walker’s Ruben/Bentson Collection. 2016, video, 10 minutes.
Leslie Thornton’s They Were Just People is commissioned by the Walker Art Center with major support provided by the Bentson Foundation.

Leslie Thornton is a pioneer of contemporary media aesthetics, working at the border and limits of cinema, video and digital media. Thornton is known for addressing a range of charged subjects, from Orientalism to the exfoliations of war, and the disposition of nonhuman species. Thornton is the recipient of two Rockefeller Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Maya Deren Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the first Alpert Award in the Arts for Media. Her work has been exhibited internationally at: Documenta 12, Kassel; The Whitney Biennial, and MoMA PS1 in New York; Tate Modern, Serpentine Gallery, and Raven Row in London; and screened at the Rotterdam, Berlin, Buenos Aires and New York Film Festivals. Thornton is professor of modern culture and media at Brown University. She lives and works in New York City and Providence, Rhode Island.


Shahryar Nashat

Present
Sore

Not currently viewable online

Shahryar Nashat’s new video is a composite portrait of the 21st-century body—a synthetic form whose sensuality is mediated by substances both organic and fabricated: clothes, prosthetic technologies, pharmaceuticals, and money. Recalling Marcel Broodthaers’s ongoing inquiry into the use of the term “figure” (which Broodthaers would simply abbreviate to the indexical “fig.”), Present Sore combines rapid editing techniques, a discordant soundtrack composed of myriad digitized sources, and a video presented in 9:16 format—the now ubiquitous portrait format for all handheld devices. (2016, video, 9 minutes)
Commissioned by the Walker Art Center with major support from the Bentson Foundation, and Portikus, Frankfurt/Main.

Artist Shahryar Nashat (b. 1975) makes sculptures, installations, and videos that examine ways the human body interacts with and is represented through material culture. Using stand-in figures, prosthetic technologies, and appropriated objects, he seeks to expose the dependencies of the contemporary body. Nashat’s work has been included in the Venice Biennale (2005, 2011) and the 8th Berlin Biennale (2014), and has been exhibited at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Kunsthaus Zurich; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Tate Modern and Frieze Projects, London; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Art Unlimited, Basel.

Uri Aran

Two Things
About Suffering

Not currently viewable online

Uri Aran’s new film works with the artist’s recent performance documentation as if it were found footage, manipulating his large cache of video material to create a new technical vocabulary replete with recursive loops, an operatic score, and improvised “outtakes.” Teetering between melancholia and slapstick comedy, Two Things About Suffering recalls the influence of Marcel Broodthaers’s short films and their absurdist attempts to perform the moment before language. (2016, video, 16 minutes)

New York–based artist Uri Aran (b. 1977) explores the discord and substitutions that occur between meaning and memory. His meticulous and intimate assemblages—which often include found objects, appropriated narratives, and customized display structures—lay bare the idiosyncratic systems of personal and cultural knowledge. Aran has recently exhibited his work at Koelnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; Sant’Andrea de Scaphis, Rome; and South London Gallery; and has been included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and the 2013 Venice Biennale.


Moyra Davey

Notes on Blue

Moyra Davey’s new video is a lyrical film essay that interweaves various biographies—including those of Derek Jarman, poet Anne Sexton, writer Jorge Luis Borges, and the artist herself—to explore blindness, color, and identity. (2015, video, 28 minutes)

A Canadian-born artist living in New York, Moyra Davey is a writer and visual artist known for documenting the quotidian at the convergence of photography and video. Her works are in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many other institutions.

James Richards

Radio at Night

Responding to Derek Jarman’s visual strategies and montage techniques, Richards’s video carves out a sensual and sonic space of representation. Radio at Night is an assemblage of distorting and looping audiovisual material, including industrial documentation, medical imaging, news broadcasts, and a specially composed soundtrack sung in C minor. (2015, video, 8 minutes)

Born in Cardiff, Wales, and now based in Berlin, James Richards is an artist whose provocative and emotionally resonant work—which often draws on sources such as home movies, TV shows, esoteric Internet videos, and archival footage—has received international acclaim. He has exhibited his work at Tate Britain in London, Artists Space in New York, and the Center for Contemporary Art Kitakyushu in Japan. Recently nominated for the 2014 Turner Prize for his video Rosebud (2013), Richards was awarded the 2012 Derek Jarman Prize for Film and Video and the ars viva Prize 2014/15.