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Live Cinema/Histories in Motion: Jennifer Levonian, Martha Colburn, Joshua Mosley
April 30, 2010 - July 25, 2010
Take Your Picture with a Puma
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, 2010 - 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.

Join the Freedom Force
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 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


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


Galleries 178 and 179, first floor