Art Video on the Internet

There is a LOT of video art available to view on YouTube, but unless you know what you’re looking for it’s hard to wade through all the ‘History of Dance’ and ‘Leave Britney Alone’ stuff to get there.

Fortunately, ARTFORUM has done the hard work for us and hosts this terrific page.

There is a wide variety of content here, but the most interesting clips to me are the videos created as works of art. Here are some of my favorites. I encourage anyone to poke around the site and get a taste of what artists do with video, but please be aware that you might come across some content that could be considered ‘adult’ or possibly offensive to some viewers.

-Jeff Sims, Educator for Adult Programs/Multimedia Producer

Painting Prodigies

Every few years it seems a child artist gets some media attention. Here’s the latest, featured in a YouTube video.

One thing they don’t mention in the linked video, but which is included in this article, is that the child’s father is an art dealer. Anyone who’s seen My Kid Could Paint That, a very interesting documentary about another child artist, will remember that the father in that story was himself an artist who at some time had professional ambitions. In both cases the parents have played a big part in the kids’ painting activities… Do you think it’s encouragement or manipulation?

I just hope the kids enjoy what they’re doing. At least one of these child prodigies stuck with it, continuing on to a career in art as an adult after gaining some fame at age eight.

I must  point out that at CMA, our family programs are NOT meant to train children in the techniques and skills of drawing, painting, etc., but are meant to encourage families to engage in all kinds of creative activities at a variety of levels.

That said, it would be interesting to hear what YOU think of these child prodigies. Let us know in the comments.

-Jeff Sims
Educator for Adult Programs/Multimedia Producer

Jerome Liebling

At the end of last week I had the pleasure of traveling to Amherst, Massachusetts to tape an interview with Jerome Liebling, a member of the Photo League in the late 1940s. Liebling is best known to CMA for this terrific picture:

Butterfly Boy

The best part of my work at CMA is getting a chance to meet artists and scholars, and to sit and talk about art and ideas. Mr. Liebling was incredibly hospitable and generous with his time. CMA Chief Curator Catherine Evans conducted the interview, and I really enjoyed hearing about Liebling’s long career as photographer and educator.

‘Butterfly Boy,’ above, is a favorite to CMA visitors and staff. The dark triangle of coat topped by the face of a cute kid in a dapper hat – it’s an image that immediately grabs and holds your eye. A viewer might then notice the kid’s shoes, which are ragged and barely held together by the laces. That may lead to other ideas about the picture and the kid, and the picture becomes something more than simply a beautifully-composed photo of a child.

Liebling talked to us at length about the social consciousness that motivated his work, and his efforts to document aspects of American city life that aren’t pleasant or fair. With this in mind, ‘Butterfly Boy’ started to look a little different to me. Previously, I had seen this photo as something familiar. The kid looks like a lot of other kids I see, even if the style of his clothes and the fender of the car behind him mark the photo as something from the past. But after hearing and thinking about Liebling’s motivations for the work, the picture begins to feel less familiar, and I realize that I know a lot less about the kid and his experiences than I thought. It’s a powerful image, and as pleasant or beautiful it may at first appear it is also complex and provocative.

The picture hasn’t changed since it was taken, but the world has, and the way we view ‘Butterfly Boy’ is certainly different than the way it would have been viewed in the 1940s. I guess that’s one of the great things about art: the art doesn’t change, but its meaning does, and that’s what keeps it interesting.

-Jeff Sims
Educator for Adult Programs/Multimedia Producer

Multimedia Production at CMA

I’ve been with CMA since 2000, and right now is the most exciting time that I’ve experienced here. There is a lot of really innovative work happening in the Education department, and in the future I’ll be posting updates about what we’re up to. I hope to use this blog to start a public conversation about CMA’s educational philosophy, and to offer some behind-the-scenes looks at how we develop the educational experience at the museum.

I am the Educator for Adult Programs and Multimedia Producer for CMA. Over the past few years we’ve really stepped up our video production schedule, and I’ll be blogging new projects as they happen. For a look at previous CMA-produced documentaries, I invite you to visit the museum’s YouTube page.  I post each new documentary there as soon as it’s finished.  Some of the titles have been listed in this blog previously and linked on the CMA website, but you may find some unfamiliar ones, too. I’d also encourage you to take a look at the YouTube activities of other museums listed on our channel in the ‘Subscriptions’ window. Enjoy!