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Video Art: A Guided Tour

Video Art: A Guided Tour
Catherine Elwes

Foreword by: Shirin Neshat

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Video art dominates the international art world to such an extent that its heady days on the radical fringes are sometimes overlooked often unknown. Video Art, a Guided Tour is an essential and highly entertaining guide to video art and its history. Elwes, herself a practicing artist and pioneer of early video, traces the story from the weighty Portapak equipment of the '60s and '70s to today's digital technology, from early experiments in 'real time' to the 'new narrative' movement of the '80s. She also examines video's love-hate relationship with television. Artists discussed include, amongst others, Nam June Paik, Nan Hoover, The Duvet Brothers, Dara Birnbaum, Bill Viola, Pipilloti Rist, David Hall, Stuart Marshall, Stan Douglas, Smith & Stewart, Steve McQueen and Sam Taylor-Wood. Elwes brings to life the excitement and political fervour of video art's early days and follows its journey to its current status as the default medium for contemporary art.

Author Info

Catherine Elwes is a practising video artist, Director of the UK/Canadian Film & Video Exchange and Reader in Moving Image Arts at the University of Arts, London. Her previous book Video Loupe (2000) is an anthology of writings by and about the artist.


The Art Newspaper, No. 158, May 2005. Review by Maud Capelle
"Thoughtful and informed, her account nevertheless eschews academic detachment: functioning as a "report from the front". It voices opinions and criticisms and does not limit itself to description and analysis."'

Elwes clearly loves to watch video and her analytical and descriptive skills are exceptional.' '...truly comprehensive in its coverage of video art history...' 'If there ever was a case for artists authoring their own histories, this book is it.' Tom Sherman, BorderCrossings 2005'

...this book goes a long way toward revealing the deep structure beneath the liquid, shimmering surface of today's video art.''

...lively and engrossing...' '...(an) excellent and timely excavation...' Felicity Sparrow, Art Monthly November 2005'

While those looking for a straightforward reference book on video art will not find it in Elwe's guided tour, they will instead find themselves on a discursive and diverting trip conducted by someone who has witnesses its histories unfolding.'
Contemporary Magazine

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781850435464
Publication Date: 24 Dec 2004
Number of Pages: 168
Height: 210
Width: 148
Illustrations: 30 b&w halftones

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