Watch This! New Directions on the Art of the Moving Image (5.0)

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Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image is a series of rotating exhibitions drawn from SAAM’s permanent collection. The works of art featured in this installation identify a complex relationship between still photography and moving images. These artistic engagements with captured and recorded pictures examine notions of storytelling and processes of interpretation, underscoring just how relative meaning can be, and urging viewers to question where the power of imagery might reside. Taken together, the arrangement traces a vibrant call and response between artists and pictures, narratives, and interpretation. 


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. 


Visiting Information

September 8, 2016 March 6, 2017
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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Crowd #5 (Washington Square West)
inkjet print
Not on view
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Face in the Crowd
three-channel video installation, color, sound; 11:52 minutes
Not on view
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Caught in the Act
single-channel video, black and white, sound; 36:00 minutes
Not on view
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Ed Henderson Reconstructs Movie Scenarios
single-channel video, black and white, sound; 24:04 minutes
Not on view
Head of a Misanthropic Man
analog video transferred to digital video, color, silent; looped
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.

Peter Campus
born New York City 1937
Alex Prager
born Los Angeles, CA 1979