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Still from Take Your Picture with a Puma, 2010, by Jennifer Levonian (Courtesy of the artist and Fleisher/Ollman Gallery)

Still from Take Your Picture with a Puma, 2010, by Jennifer Levonian (Courtesy of the artist and Fleisher/Ollman Gallery)


Live Cinema/Histories in Motion: Jennifer Levonian, Martha Colburn, Joshua Mosley

April 30–July 25, 2010

Contemporary artists increasingly employ animation as a medium to examine formal elements of their studio-based practice in narrative contexts that address both personal and communal experiences. Combining paper cut-outs, collages, drawings, watercolors, and sculptures with stop-action techniques and computer technology, animated films are among today's most innovative forms of artistic production. Histories in Motion presents the work of three young artists who infuse their work with personal reflections on contemporary life and its complex dynamics. Characterized by a critical engagement with the world at large, their films are representative of a generation for whom the moving image and its cinematic qualities have become the prevailing form of expression.

Still from <i>Join the Freedom Force</i>, 2009, by Martha Colburn (Courtesy of the artist)

Still from Join the Freedom Force, 2009, by Martha Colburn (Courtesy of the artist)

History, as a record of the both distant past and recent events, is made up of innumerable accounts chronicling diverse aspects of human life. Stories become histories—some public, others private; some unfolding quietly, others stridently; some contested, revisited, and at times rewritten, others more easily accepted. The works in Histories in Motion engage with the expanded notion of history and address from individual perspectives particular aspects of our contemporary experience that range from daily interactions to ideological debates. Philadelphia-based artist Jennifer Levonian uses autobiographical details and French New Wave cinema references to create Take Your Picture with a Puma (2010), an intricately textured story set in Mexico. In Join the Freedom Force (2009), a dynamically paced collage of images inspired by street protests around the world, Martha Colburn creates a mesmerizing portrait of society's current burning issues as expressed in the public realm. Joshua Mosley, also from Philadelphia, focuses on American builder and philanthropist George Brown and Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek in International (2010), folding together a conversation that identifies these historical figures' views on how a nation's ideal economic and social order should evolve.

Still from <i>International</i>, 2010, by Joshua Mosley (Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery)

Still from International, 2010, by Joshua Mosley (Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery)

In addition to the films on display in the Video Gallery, this exhibition includes a selection of works on paper, collages, and sculptures related to the making of the animations.

About Live Cinema

Live Cinema is a series of programs in the Film and Video Gallery of the Museum that explores the vast production of single-channel video and film work by a diverse group of local, national, and international artists. In the last decades an ever-increasing number of contemporary artists have appropriated these mediums as an artistic outlet, in a dialogue with the early video and Super 8 practices of the sixties and the tradition of experimental filmmaking. Each Live Cinema program focuses on a specific aspect of this work, in order to both map and analyze this important facet of contemporary art production. The presentations are accompanied by a brochure in which writers discuss the works exhibited, and by public lectures and events.

Exhibition Schedule

  • April 30 – May 31: Jennifer Levonian
  • June 1 – June 27: Martha Colburn
  • June 29 – July 25: Joshua Mosley

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About the Artists

Jennifer Levonian

April 30 – May 31
Philadelphia-based artist Jennifer Levonian received an M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design and a B.F. A. from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg. Levonian creates cut-paper animations that explore the ambivalence of everyday life. By bringing into focus the unnoticed events of daily life, the artist transforms them into bizarre and uncanny occurrences. Most of the time, her animations incorporate autobiographical elements, featuring the artist as their main protagonist. Jennifer Levonian is the recipient of a PEW Fellowship in the Arts 2009 Award. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, Exit Art in New York, Raid Projects in Los Angeles, and Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia.

Martha Colburn
June 1 – June 27
A self-taught filmmaker, Colburn has completed over 40 films since 1994. Originally working in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1990s, she self-released six records and toured American and European cinemas and music venues with her work. Since 2000, she has been working in the Netherlands and New York creating mainly stop-action animation, installations and live performances. She has made films for System of a Down singer Serj Tankian, Jad Fair of Half Japanese, has contributed animation to the movie 'The Devil and Daniel Johnson', and is a VJ for the band Deerhoof from San Francisco. She has performed with live projections and bands at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2009), The Rotterdam Film Festival (2010) and will be performing later this summer at the SITE Santa Fe Biennial.

Joshua Mosley
June 29 – July 25
Philadelphia artist Joshua Mosley received an M.F.A. and a B.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an A.A. from St. Louis Community College. The animated installation works that Mosley creates involve dialogue among characters striving to understand the world around them. Joshua Mosley is Associate Professor of Fine Arts in the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a recipient of the Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize, the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship. His work has exhibited and screened at the 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel, Switzerland, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.


This exhibition is made possible by The Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Edna W. Andrade Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation, and the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam.


Adelina Vlas, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

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