Who needs MTV? Music videos come to the museum (slide show)

In the upcoming "Spectacle: The Music Video," the Museum of the Moving Image looks at the art of the vid.

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  • Photograph: courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center

    Grizzly Bear: "Ready, Able" (2009). Directed by Allison Schulnik. Part of the exhibition "Spectacle: The Music Video" on view at Museum of the Moving Image, April 3-June 16, 2013. Image courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center.

  • Photograph: courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center

    Bjork: "Wanderlust" (2008). Directed by Encyclopedia Pictura. Part of the exhibition "Spectacle: The Music Video" on view at Museum of the Moving Image, April 3-June 16, 2013. Image courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center.

  • Photograph: courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center

    Bjork: "Wanderlust" (2008). Directed by Encyclopedia Pictura. Part of the exhibition "Spectacle: The Music Video" on view at Museum of the Moving Image, April 3-June 16, 2013. Image courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center.

  • Photograph: courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center

    OK Go: "This Too Shall Pass" (Rube Goldberg Machine version) (2010). Directed by James Frost, OK Go, and Syn Labs. The costumes worn by bandmembers will also be on view as part of the exhibition "Spectacle: The Music Video" on view at Museum of the Moving

  • Photograph: courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center

    Radiohead: "House of Cards" (2008). Directed by James Frost. Part of the exhibition "Spectacle: The Music Video" on view at Museum of the Moving Image, April 3-June 16, 2013. Image courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center.

  • Photograph: courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center

    NASA: "Spacious Thoughts" (2009). Directed by Flourescent Hill. Part of the exhibition "Spectacle: The Music Video" on view at Museum of the Moving Image, April 3-June 16, 2013. Image courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center.

  • Photograph: courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center

    Wax: "California" (1995). Directed by Spike Jonze. Part of the exhibition "Spectacle: The Music Video" on view at Museum of the Moving Image, April 3 through June 16, 2013. Image courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center.

  • Photograph: courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center

    "Spectacle" curators Jonathan Wells and Meg Grey Wells of Flux in a photo taken at the Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinatti) (2012). Image courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center.

Photograph: courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center

Grizzly Bear: "Ready, Able" (2009). Directed by Allison Schulnik. Part of the exhibition "Spectacle: The Music Video" on view at Museum of the Moving Image, April 3-June 16, 2013. Image courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center.


Odds are it's been a while since you flicked on the ostensible Music Television channel expecting anything as artful and exhilarating as the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” or Blur's "Coffee and TV." Enter the Museum of the Moving Image, which will look at the short-video form in "Spectacle: The Music Video,"a new exhibit opening April 3.

More than 300 videos will be on view alongside artifacts like original drawings from A-ha's "Take on Me" and the paint-covered jumpsuits from OK Go's "This Too Shall Pass." Curated by Jonathan Wells and Meg Grey Wells of creative design company Flux and organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, the show even stretches past contemporary videos to look at musical shorts from the 1920s and beyond. The above-mentioned shorts, as well as Devo’s “Whip It” and Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” will be among the MTV-era videos included. Other works, like Kanye West's "Power" and videos from Björk and Arcade Fire, will get an interactive presentation.

NYC-bred music TV gets a shout-out too, with a section covering pioneering programs such as Yo! MTV Raps and Video Music Box (still running on NYC TV Wednesdays at 11:30pm). Keep an eye on Moving Image's website for a lineup of special events, including screenings, Q&As and workshops to accompany the exhibit.

Warm up for the show by checking out the head-spinning, stop-motion video for "Ready, Able," performed by TONY fave Grizzly Bear and directed by artist Allison Schulnik, below.


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