Center Stage: Bill Viola’s art slows time to create mindful contemplation

Bill Violas The Fall into ParadisePerformers John Hay and Sarah Steben take part in Bill Viola's video art piece "The Fall into Paradise," part of his exhibit "The Moving Portrait" now featured at the National Portrait Gallery. COURTESY PHOTO

WASHINGTON D.C. — Moving pictures meet portraiture. Video, a popular media form used for almost any purpose, is rarely utilized for slow, perceptual contemplation often achieved in paintings or music.

Bill Viola’s work “The Moving Portrait” does exactly that. His work is more akin to portraiture rather than narrative stories often seen in video. His work focuses on facial language and slow-motion to allow a calmer, meditative attention to his footage.

These videos focus on the physical actions of his subjects rather than the promise of a narrative climax or conclusion to maintain interest. Examples include “The Raft”, a high-definition video projection of nineteen people suddenly hit by a high-pressure stream of water.


Center Stage: National Portrait Gallery is blowing in the wind with Bob Dylan

Bob DylanPhoto of Nobel Prize-winning artist Bob Dylan that was featured in The National Portrait Gallery. COURTESY PHOTO

WASHINGTON – The National Portrait Gallery recently wrapped up a display in its “Celebrate” exhibit of musician Bob Dylan, recognizing the famous songwriter being awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature.

The “Celebrate” exhibit features photos of many different celebrities.

“One of the things we’re really pleased with is that we’re recognizing people who have achieved recent accomplishments as well as people who have sadly recently passed away,” said Senior Historian David Ward.

The Smithsonian acquired the photo of Dylan in 1996. The description noted “the Nobel Prize Committee broke precedent” by awarding the songwriter a literature prize.

Subscribe to this RSS feed