Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image (2.0)

Media - 2007.33.18 - SAAM-2007.33.18_1 - 79820

Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson, Swamp, 1971, 6 minutes, color, sound

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has assembled a collection of video and time-based artwork that examines the history as well as latest developments in the art of the moving image. A permanent collection gallery dedicated to media arts, located on the museum’s third floor, extends the range of contemporary art on display and allows for the presentation of the full range of media art practices. A goal of these installations is to recognize the importance of the moving image in the history of twentieth-century art.


This installation of Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image, the second in the series, features artworks that have transformed video into a contemporary art practice. Single-channel videotapes are presented alongside files that have been transferred to digital formats and are projected in the gallery. Pioneering video art and key examples of American avant-garde cinema are represented, as well as recent digital media installations. These artworks illustrate the multiple media technologies that artists have engaged with since the 1960s.

The eight featured artworks are: Peter Campus, Barn at North Fork (2010) and Three Transitions(1973); Ernie Gehr, Surveillance (2010); David Haxton, Painting Room Lights (1980); Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, Swamp (1971); Joan Jonas, Vertical Roll (1972); Bruce Nauman, Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk) (1968); and Steina Vasulka and Woody Vasulka, Reminiscence from Selected Works I (1974). John G. Hanhardt, senior curator of film and media arts, selected the works. All of the featured artworks were acquired recently for the museum’s permanent collection.

Dedicating a permanent collection gallery to time-based art is an important aspect of the media arts initiative at the museum, which includes acquisitions, exhibitions, educational programs, and archival research resources related to film, video, and the media arts.

Visiting Information

March 15, 2012 April 13, 2013
Open Daily, 11:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m
Free Admission


The James F. Dicke Family Endowment generously supported Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image.

Online Gallery

Media - 2011.55.1 - SAAM-2011.55.1_1 - 79825
Barn at North Fork
high-definition digital video, color, sound; 24:00 minutes
Not on view
Media - 2007.33.12 - SAAM-2007.33.12_1 - 74129
Three Transitions
single-channel video, color, sound; 04:53 minutes
Not on view
Media - 2012.8.1 - SAAM-2012.8.1_1 - 79827
four-channel video installation, color, silent; 17:32 minutes
Not on view
Media - 2014.50.1.15 - SAAM-2014.50.1.15_1 - 116595
Painting Room Lights, from Sixteen Films
16mm film on digital video, color, silent; 10:00 minutes
Not on view
Media - 2007.33.18 - SAAM-2007.33.18_1 - 79820
6 minutes, color, sound
Not on view
Media - 2007.33.19 - SAAM-2007.33.19_1 - 139598
Vertical Roll
19:38 minutes, black & white, sound
Not on view
Media - 2008.21.2 - SAAM-2008.21.2_1 - 139664
Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk)
60 minutes, black & white, sound
Not on view
Media - 2008.21.13.2 - SAAM-2008.21.13.2_1-000001 - 139817
Reminiscence from Selected Works I
4:48 minutes, color, sound
Not on view


Peter Campus
born New York City 1937
Ernie Gehr
born 1941
David Haxton
born Indianapolis, IN 1943
Nancy Holt
born Worcester, MA 1938-died New York City 2014
Joan Jonas
born New York City 1936
Bruce Nauman
born Fort Wayne, IN 1941
Robert Smithson
born Passaic, NJ 1938-died Amarillo, TX 1973
Steina Vasulka
born Reykjavik, Iceland 1940
Woody Vasulka
born Brno, Czechoslovakia 1937-died Santa Fe, NM 2019