Teachers' Blog

Bill Viola. Electronic Renaissance

American contemporary artist Bill Viola currently has a large retrospective exhibition on view in the nearby city of Florence through July 23 2017.  I was able to see this exhibit a few weeks ago, and several of our spring students were also able to visit the exhibit together with painting teacher Melissa Morris. 

The exhibition "Electronic Renaissance" connects the contemporary video art of Bill Viola to his art historical references and especially to the influence of Tuscan artists on his work.  For example, in one room his video work "The Greeting" (1995) is displayed adjacent to the large oil painting "Visitation", painted in 1528-29 by Italian Mannerist Jacopo Pontormo.

The exhibition includes some of Bill Viola's very early experimental work from the 1970s when he was very much a pioneer in the field of contemporary video art.  Also included in the show are some of his recent pieces, working on a monumental scale.
Palazzo Strozzi has put together an extensive array of online educational resources related tot the exhibition on their website.

Follow these links for more information:


Exhibition "Bill Viola. Electronic Renaissance" - YouTube

Palazzo Strozzi  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJnpfhdLRJQ&vl=en

Florence and Siena are really well connected by both train and bus, about an hour and a quarter door-to-door.  Palazzo Strozzi is located right in the center of Florence, about a 10 minute walk from either the bus or train stations.  

If you are able to see the exhibition, I would recommend planning to stay for at least two hours, since there are many works on view, and being time-based video pieces you need to spend several minutes at least with each piece to fully appreciate it.  Work is on view both on the first floor of Palazzo Strozzi as well as in the "basement" of the building, the Strozzina Center of Contemporary Culture.

For more information about the exhibition: 
Repubblica exhibition review: http://video.repubblica.it/edizione/firenze/bill-viola-a-firenze-porta-il-suo-rinascimento-digitale-odiavo-la-storia-dell-arte-poi-venni-a-firenze/269855/270306
RAI Arte: http://www.arte.rai.it/articoli/il-rinascimento-elettronico-di-bill-viola-conquista-firenze/36747/default.aspx

Lisa Nonken

Drawing Teacher