David Gryn blog

What’s Wrong With Video Art ?

In Artprojx, Artprojx Cinema, David Gryn, FAD, Film and Video, Ian Rosenfeld, Mark Westall, rosenfeld porcini, Tabish Khan, Video Art on 31/08/2014 at 6:33 pm



What’s Wrong With Art ?

Wednesday 10th September


rosenfeld porcini gallery, 37 rathbone street, London, W1T 1NZ

Following a string of articles on Video Art initiated by art critic Tabish Khan and published on FADwebsite, invited guest speakers including David Gryn, Ian Rosenfeld, and Khan himself will give their views on the topic in a panel discussion chaired by Mark Westall at rosenfeld porcini gallery on Wednesday 10 September 2014. The panel will discuss what constitutes great video art, how it can go wrong and the commercial viability of the medium. The panel will start at 7:30pm. RSVP is required; please book tickets in advance on Eventbrite. Rosenfeld porcini gallery is currently showing a series of 4 video pieces by Korean artist Bongsu Park.


Time: 19:30

Where: rosenfeld porcini, 37 rathbone street, London, w1t 1nz

Tickets: £4



David Gryn
Curator, Film Art Basel Miami Beach
Director, Artprojx | www.artprojx.com

David Gryn is the founding director of Artprojx, which screens, curates and promotes artists’ moving image projects, working with international contemporary art galleries, art fairs, institutes, film festivals, websites and artists. Gryn also regularly lectures in European universities and art schools on curating, arts marketing, art world machinations and protocols, event management and general self-empowerment.
Upcoming: Artprojx presents ‘The Miami and Moscow Film Selections Artist Sound of Film’ ; 12 September 8.30pm at Bermondsey Project.
Tabish Khan
Art Critic, FAD & Londonist | http://londonist.com/contributors/tabish-khan

Tabish Khan has been art critic and visual arts editor for Londonist since 2012. He is a regular contributor to FAD including reviews, opinion pieces and a weekly top 5 exhibitions to see in London. He has chaired gallery panel discussions and has written a piece entitled ‘what’s wrong with video art?’

Ian Rosenfeld
Director, rosenfeld porcini gallery

Director Ian Rosenfeld was initially a photographer and film director. He founded rosenfeld porcini in June 2011 with Dario Porcini who has an extensive arts background in Italy. rosenfeld porcini is committed to showing contemporary artists from around the world with an innovative exhibitions programme.

Current exhibition: Sound and Vision | Keita Miyazaki & Bongsu Park (ends 30 Sept.)
Upcoming exhibition: Nicola Samorí | L’Âge Mûr (10 Oct – 20 Nov)

Mark Westall
Founder/Editor in Chief FAD | www.fadwebsite.com

Following his passion for art, Mark Westall founded FADwebsite in 2008. Focused on emerging and contemporary art, FAD aims to promote as well as develop our understanding of new and established talents. In addition to leading FAD, Mark is a director of fad.agency; a columnist for City and Canary Wharf Magazines; and expert advisor to bi-annual art fair Strarta.

From the FAD  discussion http://www.fadwebsite.com/2013/09/27/whats-wrong-with-video-art-an-answer-from-david-gryn/

David Gryn’s notes for/from the talk – added 12-09-14

Video Art notes by David Gryn 11-09-14

Thinking about being on the panel for “What’s Wrong With Video Art” felt like I had entered into therapy for the last few weeks thinking all about what’s wrong with video art, i.e. what is wrong with the art form I have been dedicated to working with for at least the last 15 years !!!

I’ve spent so long being involved in artists moving image – so either I’m an idiot or I’m an oracle – I prefer to think that I am the latter.

I came to this art form, as someone who cares about marketing, engagement and audience for contemporary art events. I am a facilitator, enabler, event deliverer, a middle man – I always aim to make things happen with simple means.

I believe that artists digital moving image is a very strong candidate for a medium that will become more dominant in artists work and therefore in the market place too. But it needs attention, work to make this happen and investment.

So much is so right with ‘video art’ …

However, we can’t sell it, its a bit noisy, its always moving, its often very dull, people loop it, show it in strange situations, it’s very hard to focus on …

What’s right about it: it’s part of our natural language, almost all of us use or observe moving image in someway all of the time, more and more artists work with it, it is engaging, challenging and like any great art medium, it is constantly evolving, shifting and developing.

How can we improve it’s status: we need more dialogues/communication, action, multi processes to exhibit it, marketing, belief in its inherent value and function.

Video Art in my context is the same as Film, Moving Image, Digital Art – it means it is an art process made by artists. I had issues with the name, as I had a cousin who studied video art at RCA in the 70’s and my family all thought he was such a geek. Now (if he was alive), I would probably be revering him. So I have personally always associated the two words Video Art, as something rather outdated and vintage. However, to give it its dues – it explains what we are talking about very easily.

Video Art, Artist’s Film, Artist’s Moving Image etc whatever the terms – is part of the Contemporary Art world pantheon of artist processes, but this is art within this area. This is not TV, Hollywood Film, Amateur Youtube enthusiasts – we are discussing artists from within the framework of the the Contemporary Art world and no further.

In my view Video Art and Film are synonymous. I had my programme in Miami called Art Video for several years and I worked with and on Art Basel to change it to ‘Film’. As somehow it makes more sense to me. As is is being shown at ‘Art Basel’ – that word Art does not have to appear. In the same way that I never show actual videos, I rarely show film, as now most materials I receive are digital files.

It would be great if there was a definitive term for artists moving image (that is far too many words). My favourite word is ‘Art’ – which I use for anything that is really good. Art is when I just believe it the work, when I feel compelled to give it terms – it is usually not good enough.

What interests me about Video Art is that is an art form that moves and has a duration, power, engages. Watching an audience transfixed in front of a work of ‘art’ for a few minutes upto hours is fantastic and always thrills me. I often think that the program I show in Miami is sometimes the only time during an art fair, that people really view and interrogate works of art.

I am passionate about audiences and the viewer. I have observed audiences closely over 20 years with regards to ‘video art’ and my own spin on it, is that sound is key. I generally watch with my ears. The aesthetic experience is vital, but my senses are usually over taken by audio and my engagement is therefore determined.

My view is that to make video commercially viable that we need to show it more and consistently and build its presence and marketing. There needs to be an understanding of its potential value by the galleries and museums. It needs to be centre of the art experience and not a side show or lure to non video art sales or just simply entertainment.  Audiences pay for access to art, and want to posses art when they believe in its truth as viewable and/or collectable.

I am directly involved in a new technology platform for showing video, sound and emerging technology moving image forms and have been advisory in several other new digital technology entities dedicated to showing artists moving image. I believe that there needs to many of these, like we have a competitive art market due to the vast numbers of galleries, but often digital platforms like to have market dominance – which I think is unhelpful.

I came to my project with the belief that to enable, encourage, empower an art market we need to motivate the collecting and purchasing of artists moving image (which rubs against my usual instincts for egalitarianism), as I have observed that everyone in the art world eco system takes an art form more seriously when is has a commodification value.

I believe from experience that art venues, organisations, galleries, event organisers, collectors will invest more in promoting, owning and supporting ‘video art’ – when they see it clearly in parity will the easier commodity art forms. However, it doesn’t need to be compromised and I believe it can be both free to all and have a collectable value.

However, part of my joy with ‘video art’, sound and some performance – is that it is not easy to commodify, it isn’t instantly attractive to all audiences and the works are not always instantly digestible with sound bites or able to be seen by everyone as art easily.

I do believe that art can be entertaining and the best art should be a language unto itself

There is often an overriding-emphasis on the remarkableness of history and the past in contemporary art and that experimentation is key, with knowledge of technology being paramount. I see art as unrelated to these concerns. If, for instance, someone was to tell me that the impressionist movement in painting was the greatest, due in part to its economic power over such a long period or due to its innovative qualities when it was being made, I would argue that it was simply not the case, as in my view most impressionist art is just not very good. The same applies to digital/video art processes. The fact that they are digital or ‘video art’ does not inherently make the art good. 

There are at any given moment in time very very few great artists and that goes for whatever process they are using be that paint, form, digital/video etc. A second tier of artists – veer towards the medium as paramount, as opposed to the message or the overriding aesthetic or quality of the art work, as though being an expert or dominant in a technology is a subtext for being a great artist in using that medium, which is just not the case.

Great art comes from simple means, truth, passion, commitment, engagement and ultimately the charisma of the artist. This is very hard to template to prescribe – but its rudiments are there to be observed and understood. 

Charisma is in my view a quality that really shifts the works from being just art to being great or at least potentially great art. There are ground-breaking artists, artists of all types, but only the ones who either have a charisma and/or their work is imbued with charisma, that can ride through the waves of mediocrity, and the sometimes very fine mediocrity, that is most art.

David Gryn
Curator, Film Art Basel Miami Beach
Director, Artprojx | www.artprojx.com https://davidgryn.wordpress.com


David Gryn is the founding director of Artprojx, which screens, curates and promotes artists’ moving image projects, working with international contemporary art galleries, art fairs, institutes, film festivals, websites and artists. Gryn also regularly lectures at universities and art schools on curating, arts marketing, art world machinations and protocols, event management and general self-empowerment. Current projects include Curating Film, Art Basel in Miami Beach 2014, Sound projects with Max Reinhardt and The School of Sound, curating at The Royal College of Psychiatrists, co-director/curator of the inaugural Strangelove Film Festival at Central Saint Martins 2015 and a digital art editions project launching in 2015.


  1. Reblogged this on Artprojx and commented:

    Tonight ….

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