Celebrating 40 Years of VDB's On Art and Artists Interviews & Portraits

On Art and Artists Interviews and Portraits

About VDB's On Art and Artists Interviews and Portraits

On Art and Artists is a unique collection of interviews and portraits of artists, musicians, performers, architects, theorists, and critics, spanning 1974 to the present.  The OAA collection represents four decades of producing and acquiring interviews by the Video Data Bank, and features more than 300 available titles, of which at least half are interviews produced by the Video Data Bank and its co-founders Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield.  In addition, the collection offers artist interviews produced by external producers and producing organizations—including Artists Television Network, Long Beach Museum of Art, and the University of Colorado—and experimental documentaries and portraits, many of them produced by other artists.

Over the last forty years the On Art and Artists collection has grown into an archive of considerable cultural and historical significance, comprised of interviews and portraits of some of the most noteworthy contemporary practitioners and thinkers from the U.S. and beyond. Originally conceptualized as a tool by which to provide art students with insight into their chosen creative fields, and the methodologies and processes available to them, the OAA collection now stands as a compelling testimony for wider audiences as to what it means to be an artist.

Recording interviews with artists has played a central role in the activities of the Video Data Bank since its founding, even while the resources were not always available to allow for editing and post-production. For the past several years VDB has been working to remedy this situation and to increase educational access to this significant body of work. With the assistance of funds from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund, many of the Blumenthal/Horsfield interviews, often unseen for decades, were finally digitized, preserved and edited.  As part of an extensive and ongoing drive to preserve and digitize the entire collection, VDB has worked to make scores more of these unique interviews available through its distribution program.

From Abromović to Wodiczko, the On Art and Artists collection offers those interested in art history, contemporary practices and education a rare and rewarding study guide, offering insight into the lives, practices and methodologies of some of the most vital practitioners of our time.


Browse On Art and Artists Interviews and Artist Portraits

In addition to a complete listing of the OAA collection, we have provided four distinct sub-divided listings:

Blumenthal/Horsfield Interviews

Ninety historic artist interviews produced by VDB founders Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield between 1974 and 1988.

Video Data Bank Interviews

Interviews with artists and creative practitioners in conversation with VDB staff, SAIC colleagues and others, recorded from 1976 to the present.

Independently Produced Interviews

Artist interviews and documentaries produced by independent producers and producing organizations.

Artist Portraits

Experimental works by artists, focusing on fellow artists and the artistic process.



Selected Highlights of the Video Data Bank Interviews

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In this interview, American cartoonist and author Lynda Barry (b. 1956) describes the philosophy of teaching that has inspired and mobilized her art since the 1970s. For Barry, the connection between gesture and thought collide in drawing and expose the...

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British theorist and art historian Eddie Chambers (b.1960) is a curator and a regular contributor to Art Monthly and European journals on contemporary art. His writings were collected in Run Through the Jungle (1999). Since the early 1980s he has...

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Taiwanese artist Shu Lea Cheang (b. 1954) tackles conceptions of racial assimilation in American culture, examining the political underbelly of everyday situations that affect the relationship between individuals and society. Using video in formally innovative installations, her works include the...

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Berlin-based Danish artist Olafur Eliasson complicates and simulates perception through his installations, sculptures, and photographs. He has created disorienting artificial illuminations and reproduced natural phenomena such as clouds, glaciers and the sun through large-scale, high-tech installations...

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At the age of twenty-four, Taiwanese artist Tehching Hsieh (b.1950), moved to New York, where he has created and documented time-specific, conceptual art performances since the 1970s. In this interview, Hsieh discusses his formative years and philosophical moorings. This dialogue...

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Miranda July (b.1974) makes performances, movies, and recordings—often in combination. Her videos (The Amateurist, Nest of Tens, Getting Stronger Every Day) present complicated parallel narratives with characters who experience loneliness, exploitation, unexpected phobias, and often inexplicable relationships. July has also...

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Steve Kurtz is a founding member of the Critical Art Ensemble and Associate Professor of Art at University of Buffalo. His areas of focus are contemporary art history and theory as well as post-studio practices. As a student Kurtz collaborated...

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In this 2013 interview, experimental animator and School of the Art Institute of Chicago alumna Jodie Mack discusses the developments that have taken her from an interest in musical theater and playwriting to organizing microcinemas and DIY filmmaking...

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Art Spiegelman was born and raised in New York, and began working as a cartoonist while still in High School. He attended the State University of New York in Binghamton, where he studied Philosophy. Spiegelman, who continued to work as...