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Automedia, Art That Reflects Society’s Love Affair With Automobiles, Is Subject of Ramapo College Exhibit

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)March 15, 2001

(Mahwah) — Automedia, an exhibition of video art shot in or from a car, will present works that focus on ways that artists interpret the landscape while moving through it. Opening with a reception in the Berrie Center at Ramapo College of New Jersey Wednesday, April 4 at 5 p.m., the exhibit is curated by video artist Shalom Gorewitz, a professor in Ramapo’s School of Contemporary Arts.

“I looked for work in which the car becomes the medium, part of the visual vocabulary,” explains Gorewitz. “Both driving and recording provide windows for seeing and being in landscapes.” The Pascal and Kresge galleries, lobby, café and other public spaces will be sites for these and other work. While there are some conventional, silent wall pieces, most of the work will be shown on TV monitors simultaneously. Visitors can see the installation as a collage based on the juxtaposition of recent visual artwork or watch each work as an independent play with movement and time. Unlike most exhibitions, which can usually be scanned within minutes, this one can take more than five hours to see and participate in with the 15 tapes and interactive video.

Gorewitz, the subject of recent midcareer retrospectives in Melbourne, Australia, Rome and Sao Paulo, has taught at Ramapo College since 1981. He was a 1989 Guggenheim Fellow and dean of Ramapo’s School of Contemporary Arts from 1991-97. Gorewitz, whose work was recently shown in two different exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, often records from moving vehicles. The artists whose work is included in this exhibit are his friends, colleagues and several former students who share his passion for kinetic and sensual abstract art.

The term “automedia” was coined by multi-media artist Christen Clark, a former Ramapo College student living in Paris, France, whose work by the same name is included in the exhibition. Another graduate, Croatian computer artist Igor Pusenjak, collaborated on one installation and will exhibit a computer installation, partially funded by the Ramapo College Foundation, that was recorded on the Adriatic Sea.

Some of the artists and work include:

  • Sophie Calle (Paris, France) and Greg Shepherd (U.S.) “Time Blind” – A narrative that follows their drive across the United States in which all aspects of their lives are exposed
  • Portia Cobb (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
  • Peter D’Agostino (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) “VR/RV” – A tour de force drive in a computer-constructed recreational vehicle through politically infused virtual landscapes
  • George Bobby Jones (New York) “Pissin’ Across America” – Combines painting, video,and found objects collected during a cross-country journey
  • Peter Kirby (Los Angeles) “Coastline” – Meditation on movement and stillness in the desert
  • Kristen Lucas (New York) “Action”- A performance that takes the viewer on a wild ride

Other artists include New Yorkers Franz Vila, Jesse Rosser, Douglas Kelley, Shalom Gorewitz, Michael Tharp and Californian Hiro Yamagata. Ramapo’s John Kenselaar will show two video art songs recorded in the region. Photographs by Louis Faurer, Geoffrey Biddle and Ramapo College Professor David Freund will also be on view. To provide historical context, the exhibition will present Ant Farm’s “Cadillac Ranch Show” and “Media Burn,” and Parkbench’s “VirtuAlice” (documentation version) which was the first live performance on the Internet.

In explaining the origins of the exhibit, Gorewitz says, “Chris Clark, who was the first student to speak in my first Ramapo College class 20 years ago, suggested automedia as a term for much of the work we’ve done independently and together since then. Since Ramapo College’s athletic symbol is the Roadrunner and cars play such a big part in our suburban environment, it seemed like a good idea for an exhibition. When Sydney Jenkins asked if I wanted to curate a show in the new Berrie Center galleries, it seemed like a good match. This traffic jam of an installation is the result.”

For more information, call Sydney Jenkins, gallery director.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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