A recent article published on The Art Newspaper focusses on explaining the place of video art in today’s contemporary art world. As the use of video in contemporary art grows, Art Radar asks, how will this affect what art collectors purchase? Below, we delve into some of the issues raised by the newspaper.

Click here to read the original article on The Art Newspaper.

The development of video as a legitimate art medium is often attributed to Korean artist Nam June Paik, who in 1963 used the first portable video recorder, Sony’s Portapak, to make his art. Today, it is a quickly growing art form, and one that embraces new technological advances in both the visual and the storage sense.

Nam June Paik, 'Untitled', 1993, player piano, fifteen televisions, two cameras, two laser disc players, one electric light and light bulb, and wires, approximately 254 x 266.7 x 121.9 cm. Image from

Video art takes time

Perhaps the biggest challenge for video art and the artists that create it is that, as an art form, it requires an installation space with access to technology and it demands time of its audience. Because of this, dealers have been apprehensive about including video art in shows and fairs, fearing that critics and collectors simply won’t have the time to view the work in its entirety.

In the article, The Art Newspaper speaks with Ed Winkleman and Murat Orozobekov, co-founders of Moving Image, an art fair that dedicates itself purely to video art. While Winkleman and Orozobekov say they do not view these time or space issues as a challenge, they have have employed large exhibition spaces and comfortable seating to attract viewers, collectors and critics to their Chelsea, New York exhibition, which features forty works from thirty participating galleries.

Moving Image Art Fair opening reception, 13 March, 2011. Image from

Artists increasingly taking up video as medium

“Even if [artists] are predominantly making sculpture or painting, we are seeing more artists using video as part of their practice,” John Hanhardt, senior curator for media arts at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, explains to The Art Newspaper.

The article continues to quote Hanhardt,

Twentieth-century art history is going to be rewritten through the moving image. The history of video and film is being recognised as extremely important because it had an impact on all the arts. Dance, literature and architecture were all affected by the moving image.

Today, is an art form that many generations of artists are moving to because it’s flexible, it allows them to explore issues of representation that they can’t in other media.

Though others haven’t been as quick follow in the footsteps of Moving Image and dedicate an entire fair to the medium, galleries around the world are beginning to include video art in their exhibitions and collections. As The Art Newspaper points out, Anna Schwartz Gallery in Australia currently displays video art, and owner Anna Schwartz claims in the article that “it wasn’t a decision based on medium. Video works can be very affordable and accessible. People are just desperate for them.”

Daniel Crooks, 'Static no. 11 (running man)', 2008, 4m:32s, HD/BluRay, 9x16, stereo. Image from

Daniel Crooks, 'Static no. 11 (running man)', 2008, 4m:32s, HD/BluRay, 9×16, stereo. Image from

Advances are double-edged sword

New technological developments raise legitimate questions regarding how video art can be made more appealing to collectors. The proliferation of plasma screens, for example, has certainly helped sales. “You still don’t see a great deal of video art in most people’s homes, but what you do see will be on plasma screens,” The Art Newspaper quotes UK collector Frank Cohen as saying.

Rapidly changing technology offers artists increasingly complex ways in which to capture and display their work, as well as granting dealers and collectors greater portability. However, as creation, storage and viewing devices and methods become obsolete, preservation of work becomes a challenge.

The important thing, as Ed Winkleman explains to The Art Newspaper, is for artists to offer collectors “up-to-date platforms… [and] also a hard drive with the raw files that, should technology become obsolete, the collector can easily keep exhibiting the work from the raw files.”


Related Topics: video art, new media art, business of art

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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