Video Art (2007), Michael Rush

‘The story of video art embraces all the significant art ideas and forms of recent times – Abstract, Conceptual, Minimal, Performance and Pop art, photography, and digital art. The story also departs from art-historical categories into a new domain, that of the technological, which has its own referents and language’

(Rush, 2007, p8).





Video art is an all embracing art form

  • multiple ways of constructing a history of the medium of video art
  • history of video art so far concerns three generations of artists
  • video artists ‘spontaneously adopted a massive communications medium for their own purposes, turning an implement of commerce…into a material for art’ (Rush, 2007, p.8)
  • two difficulties for critics: (1) the language used for video art is borrowed from film; (2) there are no convenient ‘themes’ or ‘schools’ of artists to help organise critical discussion

Blurring the boundaries

  • video art emerged when boundaries between traditional art forms were becoming blurred
  • painting, performance, dance, music, film, writing, sculpture combined in single works of art
  • early video art emerged from or reacted to post-Abstract Expressionism
  • the physical and the conceptual were linked from the start in video art – remain linked today
  • performance – principle material in the medium

A hybrid art form

  • video used in combination with film, computer art, graphics, animation, virtual reality, all types of digital applications
  • video is rarely the ‘pure’ medium of a work – more often a mix
  • is video art obsolete?
  • ‘We live in a time when ideas – and not specific media – are central to artists’ (Rush, p.11)

Key points for me

There are no obvious ‘themes’ or ‘schools’ of video artists. Today’s video artists are interested in the manipulation of time and breaking the boundaries between the material used and the medium of its creation. I don’t know how I plan to use what I have learned here. Though I do have one question: how do you create something new through the medium of video in a world so saturated with moving images?


Rush, M. (2007) Video Art London: Thames & Hudson