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Nam June Paik: Birthdays Are Always Fun
July 5, 2012

Museum visitors looking at Nam June Paik's Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii

July 20 would have been Nam June Paik's 80th birthday. To celebrate last year we enjoyed a cake inspired by Paik's work Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and this year I have heard a rumor that there will be cupcakes. But there's more to enjoy than frosting! John Hanhardt, the museum's senior curator for media arts and longtime friend of Paik's will join Kota Ezawa, multimedia artist and assistant professor of media arts at the California College of the Arts, for a discussion about Ezawa's work, Paik's legacy, and the current landscape in contemporary video art.

Ezawa has described his work as "media archeology." He reconstructs and modifies content from archival TV, film, and photography to create animations, light boxes, and slideshows that blur the line between reality and fiction. His work challenges us to question our own memory of events, and to think about how media is created and perceived. One of Ezawa's digital animations LYAM 3D is in the museum's collection.

Paik is internationally recognized as the "Father of Video Art" and any discussion of the history of the moving image in art cannot be told without him. Born in Seoul, Korea, Paik lived in Japan and Germany before immigrating to the United States in 1964. He radically altered the contemporary art scene by introducing television and video as a new and exciting artistic medium. His works Electronic Superhighway, Megatron/Matrix and Zen for TV are on permanent view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. On December 13, we open the special exhibition Nam June Paik: Global Visionary, which will offer an unprecedented view into the artist's creative process.

We hope you'll join us for this lively discussion (and cupcakes!) at 6 p.m. on July 20.

Posted by Georgina on July 5, 2012 in American Art Here, Lectures on American Art


Happy Birthday to Nam June Paik! We will always miss you and the legacy you have left behind!

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