Sculpture

1996
Valerie Maynard: An Interview

In this 1996 interview, African-American sculptor, printmaker and designer Valerie Maynard (b.1937) describes growing up in Harlem in the mid-20th Century and her awareness of the importance of community during her upbringing. Recalling the prominence of the Baptist church in her early life, Maynard discusses how religion brought her into contact with local politicians who impressed upon her the importance of affecting change. The artist notes how an early affiliation with Congressman Adam Clayton Powell and her brother’s incarceration propelled her interest in social justice and the workings of the judicial system.

1987
Ana Mendieta: Fuego De Tierra

Performance artist/sculptor Ana Mendieta used the raw materials of nature: water, mud, fire, rock, and grass. The consciousness of her politics and the poetics of her expression fill her work with an emotionally charged vision that is powerfully conveyed in this posthumous video profile. Drawing upon the raw spiritual power of Afro-Cuban religion, Mendieta used her art as a ritualistic and symbolic activity to celebrate the forces of life and the continuum of change.

1978
Blumenthal/Horsfield, Mary Miss: An Interview

Mary Miss (b.1944) is an American environmental artist who works with concepts of illusion, distance, and perception. Her site-specific work frequently uses both ancient and modern architecture as references. Miss's 1977 installation Perimeters/Pavilions/Decoys at the Nassau County Museum of Art, served as one of Rosalind Krauss's inspirations when she defined postmodern sculpture in her article, "Sculpture in the Expanded Field." 

2007
Nebula

Nebula is a hallucinogenically immersive spectacle: a complex, long-form audio-visual composition, which pays playful homage to science fiction fantasies. Captured for video by means of stop-motion photography, objects made of glass, glitter and tulle, are nestled within a kaleidoscopic flow of computer-generated imagery. Drawing from Thomas Wilfred's Clavilux color organs as well as experimental abstract filmmakers such as Mary Ellen Bute, and James and John Whitney, Nebula also recalls liquid light shows and the marvelous sightings of the Hubble Space Telescope.

2004

In this 2004 interview, Kori Newkirk (b.1970) describes his lifelong apprehension of being rooted in any one place for too long. Asserting that the School of the Art Institute of Chicago was the fifth school he attended in four years, Newkirk begins by describing the fortuitousness of his relocation to Chicago following his expulsion from Cooper Union. Recounting how he fled from the fiber department in favor of painting, Newkirk details how it was a studio visit from Deborah Kass and an exchange program to England that crystallized his burgeoning ideas about “painting without making paintings.”

2018
Deborah Stratman, Optimism

The urge to relieve a winter valley of permanent shadow and find fortune in alluvial gravel are part of a long history of desire and extraction in the far Canadian north. Cancan dancers, curlers, ore smelters, former city officials and a curious cliff-side mirrored disc congregate to form a town portrait. Shot in location in Dawson City, Yukon Territory.

1998
Orlan: An Interview

French performance artist Orlan uses her own body as a sculptural medium. Since 1990, she has worked on La Reincarnation de Sainte-Orlan, a process of plastic surgeries that she “performs,” making elaborate spectacles with surgeons dressed in sci-fi costumes and broadcasting the operations live via satellite to galleries worldwide. By exploring a total transformation of self, Orlan delves into issues of identity and the malleability of the flesh. She lives and works in Paris, exhibiting and performing internationally.

Interview by Shay Degrandis, via translator.

1981
Progeny

After seeing an installation of Steina’s Machine Vision, involving mechanized cameras moving to pre-programmed patterns, sculptor Bradford Smith suggested that his work be used as the subject of a video investigation. Slowly panning over the encrusted surfaces of the sculptures, Steina’s camera records a fantastic landscape of twisted figures and gruesome armor. The varying speed, orientation, and distortion of the images transforms the three-dimensional sculptures into a visceral four-dimensional experience.

1980
Ramp

On a gradually inclined plane, attempts are made to scale the rise, and rubber shoe marks leave evidence of the point where all of humanity fails.

This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

1973
Search Olga Gold

Originally part of a larger sculptural installation using prospector's tools, this tape reenacts the search for "Olga," a miner's wife who disappeared on her honeymoon in 1936. As Paul and Marlene Kos call out, "Olga... Olga...", the camera scans the Wyoming wilderness, and their search becomes ritualistic, the repetitive calls building in intensity and breaking down into chanted moans.

1982
Joel Shapiro: An Interview

Joel Shapiro (b.1941) came to prominence in the early 1970s with his representational miniatures of everyday objects like chairs and houses. Since then he has become one of the most exhibited American sculptors. Shapiro’s vocabulary consists largely of rectangular volumes, with which he has created a body of work dancing on the line between abstraction and figuration. The human form has been a major theme in Shapiro’s geometric expression.

1990
Similar Differences: Betye and Alison Saar

This tape profiles mother and daughter artists Betye and Alison Saar. Both artists work with sculpture and installation, frequently using found objects, wood, and sheet metal to evoke sacred African-American rituals and images. Similar Differences was produced in concert with their first collaborative exhibition in a decade, Secrets, Dialogues, Revelations, which opened at UCLA’s Wight Gallery in January 1990 and toured nationally in 1992.

1979
Charles Simonds: An Interview

Charles Simonds (b.1945) majored in art at the University of California at Berkeley. There he discovered an area of clay pits that had once provided the raw material for some of Manhattan's older buildings. He literally immersed himself in the subject, burying himself in a pool of wet clay to get a feel for the material. Simonds's sculptures are enchanting architectural minatures. Most are landforms with small chambers and towers; some are abstract organic shapes. Carefully built brick by tiny brick, Simonds's sculptures engage the child in everyone.

1986
Sympathetic Vibrations

Twelve church bells are rung daily for 30 days in a sculptural setting at the Capp Street Project in San Francisco. Ringers progress from practice sessions on beer bottles to a full-scale ring.

This piece was shot using a combination of 3/4" U-matic video plus Hi8 video.

This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

1986
John Torreano's Art World Wizard

Modeled after NBC’s long-running science program Watch Mr. Wizard, this tape features Torreano as Mr. Wizard instructing a skeptical boy on how to build a diamond out of pieces of wood. The boy remains unimpressed until Torreano uses a “video paintbox” to create flashy special effects. Painter John Torreano’s use of galaxy clusters as a reference for his fake jewel studded canvases and diamond-shaped sculptures suggested the nostalgic format of this video profile by MICA-TV.