Michael Rush's video art text

From: Bernard Roddy (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Dec 09 2009 - 18:11:27 PST

You're probably not going to like this, Tony. You said your students didn't seem to read Michael Rush's book, Video Art. I took a look at it. This is what I consider journalism, a coffee table book. It is certainly sexy and up-to-date, but what are the issues taken seriously?

Opening it at random to p. 214, I am told that video has reached the "saturation" point:

"Artists, to be viable, and not considered precious by seeking the relative protection of the art world, must make a good case for why their work should be seen in the context of the visual arts and not subjected to the harsh realities of the film world, even the 'art film' world."

Rush believes this is an important issue. He goes on to say

"the challenge for artists is to differentiate themselves from both the low-quality amateurs and the practitioners of narrative (or commercial) cinema."

I can't see any difference between this and the palaver handed out to the typical narrative film aspirant.

We might compare this with a book translated from the German, Video: A Reflexive Medium (MIT, 2008) by Yvonne Spielman. It has chapters entitled "Media-theoretical considerations," "Artistic video," "Guerilla Video," and "Video Cultures." It might be said that this is not the "intro" variety under discussion. But I believe it is better as an intro book than Rush's. The writing is clear and does not presuppose any familiarity with the language of scholarship.



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