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July 16th, 2020

Each week, Artful spotlights an art experience or destination that speaks to us right now.

The Museum of Modern Art has not yet announced its reopening plan, but in the meantime, it is offering up seven outstanding works of video art from the collection for a limited run on its website (through July 30). All are by women, and each one is intensely relevant to our current reality of expanded screen time and eroded boundaries.

"Virtual Views: Video Lives" starts, as any history of video art should, with a work by Joan Jonas: 1972's Vertical Roll, in which the artist, appearing to interact with the rolling-bar glitch that was then common on television screens, demonstrates an intuitive structural understanding of a new medium. Also here are lesser-known works from that era such as the Brazilian artist Letícia Parente's In (1975), in which she enters a closet and attaches her shirt to a hanger in protest of both women's domestic confinement and the military dictatorship in her home country, and Mako Idemitsu's prescient Another Day of a Housewife from 1977-8, which finds the Japanese artist doing chores while surveilled by a televised image of her own eye.

Among the more recent works is Camille Henrot's Grosse Fatigue, which earned her the Silver Lion award for most promising young artist at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Although meant to be seen as a large installation, it delights and confounds online, with its hypnotic soundtrack and succession of pop-up windows that suggest a researcher who has fallen down the rabbit hole. Similarly encyclopedic is Martine Syms's Lessons I-CLXXX, a feature-length compendium of video clips exploring how Blackness is represented across various digital platforms.

Also part of "Video Lives" are works by contemporary artists Sadie Benning and Petra Cortright, as well as a recorded Q&A with Jonas and MoMA's chief curator of media and performance, Stuart Comer, who organized this sharp virtual exhibition.

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