Video art

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Rush\'s comprehensive volume gamely attempts to fill that void. Engagingly written, exhaustively researched and filled with hundreds of images of video works and installations, the book combines a trenchant historical overview with a more focused thematicThe significance of video (and, more recently, digital video technologies) in the development of narrative film is widely known and well documented. Yet although video has also created nothing short of a revolution in the fine arts, few satisfying histories of video art exist. Rush's comprehensive volume gamely attempts to fill that void. Engagingly written, exhaustively researched and filled with hundreds of images of video works and installations, the book combines a trenchant historical overview with a more focused thematic analysis. Though Rush acknowledges the obvious fact that the video art boom was sparked by the sudden availability of affordable, portable video equipment, he's quick to place video in a less arbitrary cultural context. The genre, he points out, actually combines any number of disciplines and art-historical categories. In this way, video art is very much a medium of its time. From its early stages as a means of deconstructing television (typified by such early practitioners as Frank Gillette), to the more personal and political work of the "giants" of the field (Vito Acconci, Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, Bill Viola), to the bigger names of today (Pipilotti Rist, Pierre Huyghe, Matthew Barney), the usual suspects are brought sharply into focus. Rush's real success, however, lies in his discovery of what others have overlooked: the obvious yet oft-ignored contributions of Andy Warhol, for example, or the groundbreaking video work of Jean-Luc Godard. An ideal introduction to the history of and the formal/theoretical considerations behind video art, Rush's book shines a light on the tiny details that make up the genre's big picture.

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