Anthony McCall, Sprueth Magers / Ambika P3 exhibition (London 2011)

Phenomenologies of Projection, Aesthetics of Transition

Anthony McCall 1970-79, 2001—
Friday, February 24, 2012 - 6:00pm to Saturday, February 25, 2012 - 10:00pm

* Please note that while the symposium is full, the exhibition is open to the public and requires no reservation. A wait list for the symposium will be available at the door beginning at 12:30.

Using atmospheric haze and film projectors, artist Anthony McCall creates beautiful, visually captivating light sculptures that explore ideas of architecture, duration and embodiment. Invoking comparisons to natural formations like waterfalls and moonlight, McCall’s slowly moving luminous projections invite visitors to step into the light, using their bodies to alter the shimmering forms.

Experience the subtle poetics of McCall’s rarely exhibited 'Solid Light’ films at a special two-day event at the University of Chicago, featuring works on both celluloid film and digital media. This exhibition and its related symposium turn a critical spotlight onto key moments in an artistic career that has moved with singular coherence between the aesthetics of an analog and a digital media paradigm.

The installation You and I, Horizontal (2005, dv) will open the event at The Experimental Station, a community arts incubator in Hyde Park, Chicago, on February 24 & 25, 6-10 p.m. A special screening of Line Describing a Cone (1973, 16mm) and its digital remake Line Describing a Cone 2.0 (2011, dv) will take place at the installation site on alternate evenings. This exhibit is free and open to the public.

On Saturday, February 25, Anthony McCall will present an artist talk at an afternoon symposium dediated to his work, then participate in a roundtable with a panel of distinguished curators and scholars. The Symposium will take place at the Kersten Physics Teaching Center, 5720 S. Ellis Ave, University of Chicago. Reservations for the Symposium are recommended (see below). 

Schedule of Events

Venue: Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave., Chicago
Dates:  Friday, Feb 24 & Saturday, Feb 25, open 6–10pm

You and I, Horizontal (2005, DV)
Friday and Saturday, 6-10pm

Line Describing a Cone (1973, 16mm)
Friday, 8pm, 30 min performance-screening

Line Describing a Cone 2.0 (2011, DV)
Saturday, 6:30pm, 30 min performance-screening following the Symposium

Venue: Kersten Physics Teaching Center, 5720 S. Ellis Ave., University of Chicago
Date:    Saturday, Feb 25, 1–5:30pm
Reservations may be made by filling out the form below.

1:00pm:             Anthony McCall, Artist Talk
2:30pm:             Coffee break
2:45pm:             Roundtable with Anthony McCall and panelists:
                          Chrissie Iles, Whitney Museum of America Art
                          Tom Gunning, Depts of Cinema and Media Studies and Art History, University of Chicago
                          Hamza Walker, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago
                          Daniel Morgan, Departments of English, Film and Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh
5:30pm              Adjourn Symposium, shuttle to Experimental Station for final screening

Artist biography
Cinema creates a virtual world, a place that you enter with your eyes and your imagination but not with your physical body. My pieces require that your actual body be there in the flesh, in the present. And active. -  Anthony McCall

Spanning the worlds of film, art, performance, theatre, and media, Anthony McCall (b. 1946) is a seminal artist of American avant-garde cinema. His canonical Structuralist works from the 1970s dispensed with the film screen and filled rooms with smoke and haze to turn the movie projector’s beam of light into a physical form, thus rendering cinema into sculpture. These works arose in a New York experimental film culture intimately intertwined with the emerging scenes of Minimalist, Performance, Feminist and Conceptual art, and at the very moment in which Installation art was inventing terms for an expanded field of aesthetic practices.

After a two-decade hiatus from contemporary art McCall returned to a creative practice in 2001, when Line Describing a Cone became the visual headliner for a landmark survey of expanded cinema at the Whitney Museum of American Art—Into the Light: The Projected Image in American Art 1964-1977, curated by Chrissie Iles. McCall’s practice since the early 2000s has been entirely remediated by the use of digital cinema, even as it retains a conceptual continuity with works from the seventies. Visually arresting new installations such as You and I, Horizontal (2005) and Throes (2011) deploy algorithmic animation techniques to create multiple, slightly mobile light projections that invoke ethereal images from the natural world. Anthony McCall's works form a part of major public art collections worldwide, including the Tate Gallery, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Current public commissions include the cloud vapor installation Column in Liverpool, which will open during the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. 

Anthony McCall’s installations are rarely seen in America, despite his long basis in New York. In contrast with a concentration of ambitious exhibitions in Europe over the last decade this event at the University of Chicago will represent only the third extended display of his installations in the United States since 2003. Phenomenologies of Projection, Aesthetics of Transition: Anthony McCall 1970-79, 2001—attempts to address this absence by foregrounding the artist’s own formal and conceptual vocabularies, and by situating this profoundly phenomenal art in formats that will allow an audience to compare intuitively between analog and digital projection.

Curated by Michelle Menzies, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English Language and Literature, as a project of the Film Studies Center Graduate Student Curatorial Program.

This event is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Miriam Bratu Hansen (1949-2011).

Sponsored by The University of Chicago Arts Council, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Tom Gunning Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award, The Nicholson Center for British Studies, The Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, Open Practice Committee, The Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture, The Franke Institute for the Humanities, The Department of Cinema and Media Studies, The Department of Visual Arts, The Department of English Language and Literature, The New Media Workshop, The Mass Culture Workshop, The Theatre and Performance Studies Workshop, The Contemporary Art and Its Histories Workshop.