Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image (3.0)

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Bill Viola's The Fall into Paradise

The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection of video and time-based artwork examines the history and the latest developments in the art of the moving image. In 2010, the museum established a permanent-collection gallery dedicated to media arts that extends the range of contemporary art on display and allows for the presentation of the full spectrum of media art practices. The intent of these rotating installations is to recognize the importance of the moving image throughout the history of 20th-century art and into the present.


This installation of Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image, the third in the series, features artworks that survey the complexities of space and time both structurally and conceptually, expounding on unique properties inherent in the moving image. Single-channel videotapes are presented alongside files that have been transferred to digital formats and are projected in the gallery. Pioneering video art and recent digital media installations are represented, illustrating the multiple-media technologies that artists have engaged with since the 1960s.

The four featured artworks are: John Baldessari, Six Colorful Inside Jobs (1977); Bruce Nauman, Walk with Contrapposto (1968); Charlemagne Palestine, Running Outburst (1975); and Bill Viola, The Fall into Paradise (2005). Michael Mansfield, associate curator of film and media arts, selected the works.

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

April 30, 2013 February 15, 2015
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

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Six Colorful Inside Jobs
16mm film on video, color, silent; 32:53 minutes
Not on view
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Walk with Contrapposto
60 minutes, black & white, sound
Not on view
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Running Outburst
5:56 minutes, black & white, sound
Not on view
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The Fall into Paradise
single-channel video installation, high-definition, color, sound; 09:58 minutes
Not on view


John Baldessari
born National City, CA 1931-died Los Angeles, CA 2020

John Baldessari was born in National City, on San Diego Bay in California in 1931. He enrolled at San Diego State College in 1949 and received his BA in painting in 1953. He also studied at Berkeley in 1953.

Bruce Nauman
born Fort Wayne, IN 1941
Charlemagne Palestine
born New York City 1945/7
Bill Viola
born New York City 1951