The exhibition that premiered at the Museum of the Moving Image yesterday presents music videos not as a distraction on Sunday mornings or something to practice Friday night dance moves to (although dancing is encouraged in a room with a big screen and several mirrors), but as art.
“Finally the music video as an art form will be given its due,” museum Executive Director Carl Goodman said.
Obviously curators Jonathan Wells and Meg Grey Wells, who first presented the show in Cincinnati a year ago at the Contemporary Arts Center, fully agree. On Tuesday they excitedly led a pack of reporters through “Spectacle: The Music Video,” which has taken over most of the top floor of the Astoria museum and many of the screens and foyers along the way.
“Now is the time to have a big party for the music video,” Meg Grey Wells said.
Set up not chronologically but instead thematically, the show presents more than 300 works comprising more than 20 hours of film, covering pieces from the 1920s — way before MTV — up until right now with “Gangnam Style,” a song by South Korean pop star Psy that has been viewed more times than any other YouTube video with 1,489,564,174 hits ... and counting.
Guests can watch as the cutest dancing couple falls apart in indie music duo the XX’s video for their song “Islands,” a world of Legos is erected in the White Stripes’ video for “Fell in Love with a Girl” and Arcade Fire uses Google images of home viewers’ addresses that are typed into the computer to customize the music video.
Some pieces will make the viewer utterly depressed, some evoke laughs, a few look like minimovies with spoken lines and end credits, and there are those that don’t make any sense or just don’t seem possible.
And the actual videos are not the only aspect of the displays. There are the original yarn that covered all the instruments and props on the set of Steriogram’s video “Walkie Talkie Man,” the paint-splattered sheet used in OK Go’s “This Too Shall Pass” and Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger’s drawings that were animated for A-ha’s “Take on Me” video.
There are big screens, loud music, risque videos that guests look at through peepholes in a red-lit, alley-like hallway and an MTV “Moonman” award.
Sounds like a party, indeed.
When: through June 16, Wesnesday and Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Where: Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave., Astoria
Tickets: $12; $9 for students and seniors; $6 for kids;
movingimage.us; (718) 777-6888