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Screen Play: Life in an Animated World

Saturday, June 20, 2015Sunday, September 13, 2015

Installation view of Screen Play: Life in an Animated World

1905 Building, Gallery for New Media, Auditorium

Animation permeates 21st century culture; from movies and television to videogames and advertising, it fills virtually all of the screens ubiquitous in contemporary life. Screen Play: Life in an Animated World was the first exhibition devoted exclusively to examining the work of contemporary artists who use the techniques, technologies, and tropes of animation as tools in their practices. This unprecedented exhibition gathered together almost 50 captivating film, video, and immersive installations created during the past 25 years by more than three dozen artists from nearly 20 nations, filling the galleries of the 1905 Building and its Sculpture Court as well as the Gallery for New Media and the Auditorium.

With artworks that are by turns funny, poignant, critical, and provocative, the artists in Screen Play prompted viewers of all ages to enter alternative universes, to consider our deepening relationship with screens and screen fictions, and to see “in real life” with screen-refreshed eyes. This international survey included some of the greatest voices in contemporary art alongside emerging artists who are developing new forms of representation. The artistic techniques on view range from stop motion to traditional hand-drawn cel animations, digital modeling, three-dimensional video projections, and infinitely iterative live simulations—presenting the fullest range of how artists use diverse animation technologies in their work today. While such technology has become simply inseparable from contemporary life, the artists in Screen Play both maximized and critiqued its power to enthrall: these are the pioneers of a new golden age of animation.

Still from Allison Schulnik's Mound, 2011
Allison Schulnik (American, born 1978). Still from Mound, 2011. Clay stop-motion animation in color, with sound, edition of 5 plus 2 AP; running time: 4 minutes, 23 seconds. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Gift of Mrs. George A. Forman, by exchange, 2015 (2015:4). Image courtesy of the artist and Mark Moore Gallery. © 2011 Allison Schulnik


This exhibition was conceived by Deputy Director Joe Lin-Hill and curated by Lin-Hill, Curator Cathleen Chaffee, and Godin-Spaulding Curator & Curator for the Collection Holly E. Hughes, with support from Curatorial Assistant Laura Brill.

Exhibition Sponsors

This exhibition was made possible, in part, through the generous support of The John R. Oishei Foundation and The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation. Equipment and technical support provided by Advantage TI.