Bill Viola:
Quintet of the Astonished

Sep 1 – Oct 31, 2010
Thurs – Sat, dusk to 11pm
UVP Everson
Everson Museum Plaza
401 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY

For the inaugural exhibition of UVP’s new Everson Museum Plaza venue, Urban Video Project and Light Work are pleased to announce an exhibition of the work of renowned video art pioneer and Syracuse University alum, Bill Viola from September 1 through October 31, 2010. In conjunction with this exhibition, the Everson Museum of Art will present additional works by Viola from their permanent collection inside their galleries.

In conjunction with the exhibition, UVP, working in partnership with Light Work, the Everson Museum of Art, and the Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts, will host a conversation between Viola and fellow SU alum, the high profile curator, David Ross. This event is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception in the plaza adjoining the Everson Museum of Art, where Viola’s work will be on view.

About the Work

The Quintet of the Astonished
2000 | Total Run Time: 15:00

The Quintet of the Astonished shows the unfolding expressions of five actors in such extreme slow motion that every minute detail of their changing facial expressions and movements can be detected. In this piece artist Bill Viola explores the cathartic power within grief, personal suffering, and bereavement.

Viola’s work often exhibits a painterly quality and The Quintet of the Astonished clearly references his interests in medieval and classical depictions of emotion. In 1998 while a scholar in residence at the Getty Research Institute which that year explored the theme of “The Passions”, Viola revisited images of medieval and renaissance painting, frescoes, and architecture that had influenced him during his time in Florence, Italy in 1974. Having lost both of his parents by the time he was at the Getty, he found himself drawn to images of devotional art that continue to influence his art today.

According to video curator David Ross, “Bill Viola is that rare artist who employs extraordinary technical mastery in the service of a deeply metaphysical art. Exploring the essential human condition, Viola has long been engaged in the study of time, consciousness and the human spirit. Though not religious in any traditional sense, Viola’s art embraces the idea of art as a path to transcendent experience.”

About the Artist

Bill Viola (b.1951) is internationally recognized as one of today’s leading artists. He has been instrumental in the establishment of video as a vital form of contemporary art, and in so doing has helped to greatly expand its scope in terms of technology, content, and historical reach. For 40 years he has created videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces, and works for television broadcast.

Bill Viola received his BFA in Experimental Studios from Syracuse University in 1973 where he studied visual art with Jack Nelson and electronic music with Franklin Morris.

Since the early 1970s Viola’s video art works have been seen all over the world, including: the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angles; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin and the Guggenheim, New York; as well as representing the U.S. at the 46th Venice Biennale and a 25-year survey career survey at the Whitney Museum… among many others.

He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1989, and the first Medienkunstpreis in 1993, presented jointly by Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, and Siemens Kulturprogramm, in Germany. He holds honorary doctorates from Syracuse University (1995), The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1997), California Institute of the Arts (2000), and Royal College of Art, London (2004) among others, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000. In 1998 Viola was invited to be a Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles and in 2009 received the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts, MIT. In 2006 he was awarded Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Government. Bill Viola and Kira Perov, his wife and long-time collaborator, live and work in Long Beach, California.