What Is Installation Art?

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Installation art refers to large-scale sculpture and mixed media that occupies the entire room and forces the viewers to interact with and walk through it instead of voyeuristically around it. Hear about a few famous installation artists with information from an art historian, critic and curator in this free video on art.

Part of the Video Series: Modern Art History
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Video Transcript

Hi, Professor Betty Brown here. The topic is Installation Art. Most people think of sculpture as something that is three dimensional and probably best exists sitting on a pedestal. However, Installation Art is a form of sculpture that is so big that not only does it occupy an entire room but you, the viewer, can't walk around and look at it on a pedestal but have to walk through it. Let me give you three examples of Installation Artists so you can get an idea what I mean by this. The first is a Southern California artist named Bill Viola. He's perhaps the best known artist who works in computer and video as his art form. Bill Viola's done works like "Angels for the New Millennium" which are immense video screens with images that are very much computer manipulated, not computer generated, that appear to be people going up in flames or submerging in water, people with angelic powers and angelic presence and really intense sound. And as you walk through the room, these angelic figures surround you and you're immersed in the sound and it's a really different kind of physical sensation. Another Southern California Installation Artist is Suvan Geer. And Suvan Geer has done artworks that involve movement, sound and smell. In one of her pieces, she took an immense tree trunk, inverted it in the art gallery and suspended it slowly turning from the ceiling over a bed of fresh cornmeal that was intensely yellow and really had a strong smell. And then there was sand involved, as well, so as you walked into that room, all your senses were engaged. A final artist who has done a lot of Installations is Cheryl Du Labin, who does photography and sculpture and also involves living plants as part of her Installations. So, when you walk through her Installations, you see the entrance of nature into the gallery space.

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