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Barbara London

Barbara London is a New York-based curator and writer, who founded the video-media exhibition and collection programs at The Museum of Modern Art, where she worked between 1973 and 2013. Her recent projects include the podcast series “Barbara London Calling,” the book Video Art/The First Fifty Years (Phaidon: 2020), and the exhibition Seeing Sound (Independent Curators International), 2021–2026.

Guest Critic

Tools and Contemporary Art

From the get-go, Manhattan was the center of my universe. My curatorial career began at MoMA in the early 1970s, when international phone calls were expensive and audio cassettes cheap. New York City was bankrupt, the art world small, no one had money, yet energy and ideas soared.

Barbara London Calling

As a curator and writer committed to contemporary art, for decades I’ve pursued art that explores and adapts to the nonstop changes in technology and in the people who use it. Upgrade is the name of the game. Praxis means keeping my finger on the pulse by engaging directly with artists—emerging and established—and keeping an open dialogue with passionate colleagues. Everyone adapts in their own way.

Wu Tsang: Anthem

Innovation appears every once in a while. When it does, an encounter occasionally brings a full on coup de foudre. Wu Tsang’s site-specific “sonic sculptural space” Anthem (2021) did this in spades for me, and is the not to be missed sensorial experience at the Guggenheim Museum on view through September 6.

Song Dong: Round

Song Dong’s exhibition on view at Pace—his first overseas solo show since the COVID-19 pandemic—focuses on work he made while trapped in his studio during the long lockdown. Cut off from the world, he used the solitary time to his advantage and developed a series of subtle projects that reflect his interest in adapting ancient philosophy to a contemporary context.

Signals: How Video Transformed the World

Today we live at a moment of accelerated technological transformation, as smart phones and social media have become the means of both rapid audiovisual production and global communication. This is a good moment to look back at the video with fresh eyes.

Venice Biennial: At a Glance, 2017

Last week I flew to Europe for the opening of the Venice Biennial. On the way, I stopped by the Kunstmuseum Bern to see “Elemental Gestures,” a survey featuring projects by the anti-disciplinarian Terry Fox (1943-2008).

Venice 2019: A Few Reflections

Last May, I traveled to Italy for the opening of the 2019 Venice Biennial, ready to catch up with colleagues and experience the latest artwork from around the world. Eager to check the pulse of art and technology, I knew to anticipate works in the evolving fields of virtual reality and artificial intelligence.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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