This presentation of Watch This! is the fifth in the series. The installation presents, for the first time at the museum, Alex Prager’s digital cinema installation Face in the Crowd (2013), recently acquired by SAAM. Projected across three walls in a screening room, Face in the Crowd traces a spectrum of concerns—a fear of crowds and the desire to stand out amongst them, voyeurism and exhibitionism, the spectator’s gaze, and the inability to live up to expectations. But it more acutely identifies the anxiety of being swept up by the masses while trying to create and maintain a sense of self; conditions long present in the physical world, but amplified in the virtual spaces we inhabit today.
Also on view are Eleanor Antin’s video and photographs Caught in the Act (1973), John Baldessari’s Ed Henderson Reconstructs Movie Scenarios (1973), Peter Campus’s Head of a Misanthropic Man (1976–1978), and Prager’s Crowd #5 (Washington Square West) (2013). Michael Mansfield, curator of film and media arts, selected the works.
A dedicated permanent collection gallery for 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.
The James F. Dicke Family Endowment generously supported Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image.
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.