University of Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave., Rochester, is exhibiting the new display in its Media Arts Watch program, “Reflections on Place and Culture: Downey, Gower, Kluge,” through June 18.
Media Arts Watch is curated by John Hanhardt, consulting senior curator of media arts for MAG.
The exhibit features the work of three artists: Juan Downey, Terence Gower and Alexander Kluge. These artists work within and against the conventions of documentary film and video, pointing to the genre’s limitations while also positing new ways for using the moving image to represent history and culture.
“This exhibition comprises historical, contemporary and international works that represent innovative narrative and documentary strategies,” Hanhardt said. “They critically and creatively reflect on the idea of place and are some of the most influential video artworks to explore how we can represent history and our world today.”
First shown on German television in 1988, Kluge’s “Changing Time (Quickly)” pairs news images with documentary and musical sound recordings to stage a history of Germany from the late 19th century to World War II. Shuttling between different types of historical events, “Changing Time” encourages viewers to question what makes an event historically significant.
In “Hard Times and Culture: Part One, Vienna ‘fin-de-siecle,’” Downey creates an alternative TV travelogue of the Austrian city, focusing on the social, political, intellectual and artistic upheavals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the outbreak of World War I, the emergence of psychoanalysis and the architectural marvels that line the city’s famed Ringstrasse.
Like Downey, Gower analyzes architecture to understand the culture of a place. Gower’s video, “Ciudad Moderna,” reveals how modern architecture and design function as a cultural fantasy by using clips from the 1968 film, “Despedida de Casada,” to enliven architectural sites from Mexico City and Acapulco, Mexico.
Media Arts Watch is a three-year initiative to introduce the art of the moving image into the curatorial program and permanent collection of MAG. Media art is art that explores the technologies and aesthetics of film and video as well as the emerging tools and practices of computers, virtual reality, the internet, software and mobile devices.
MAG is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays.
Admission costs $14 for adults; $10 for seniors; $5 for college students and ages 6-18; and free to members, UR faculty, staff and students and ages 5 and younger.
For information, call 585-276-8900 or visit