Exhibitions, Press Release

January 24, 2019


MEDIA CONTACT: Virginia McInnis | [email protected] | 480-874-4663

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Announces Spring Exhibition ‘Now Playing: Video 1999–2019’ On View Feb. 16 – April 28, 2019

Stills from “Love Story,” 2016, featuring Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin.  Top: Shabeena Francis Saveri, Sarah Ezzat Mardini, Mamy Maloba Langa / Bottom: José Maria João, Farah Abdi Mohamed, Luis Ernesto Nava Molero. 7-Channel Installation. Commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria, Outset Germany + Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. Courtesy: Goodman Gallery, Kaufmann Repetto + KOW.

Photo: Candice Breitz 

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona ­– Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) announces its spring 2019 exhibition, “Now Playing: Video 1999–2019,” which showcases work from 11 artists using video art. Organized by Jennifer McCabe, SMoCA director and chief curator, the exhibition is on view February 16 – April 28, 2019.

A special 20th Anniversary celebration will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, with free admission for everyone to preview the galleries and mix and mingle with curators, artists and the community.

“The exhibition is akin to a video installation itself, which often presents non-narrative information that the viewer must process and put together. The works transform the Museum into a space that enables the viewer to get lost in time,” McCabe said.

An all-video exhibition is a first for the Museum and offers a nod to its movie theater past. All four galleries will be dimly lit, save for the glow of monitors and projectors illuminating the space to immerse the viewer. “Now Playing” presents a diverse group of artists who are deeply engaged with vital aspects of today’s culture and believe in art’s capacity to engage social discourse. Artists include Mark Bradford, Candice Breitz, Petra Cortright, Song Dong, Kota Ezawa, Mads Lynnerup, Christian Marclay, Shirin Neshat, Aaron Rothman, Mika Rottenberg and Diana Thater.

“The artworks reflect the importance that video has played in contemporary art as well as the important social and political concerns that artists have addressed over time,” McCabe said. “Rather than a thread connecting the individual works, together they tell a story of what artists — working in video — have been interested in over the last 20 years. The viewer can put together their own story.”

The exhibition offers a space in time to reflect on one’s place within the fabric of these stories, the imagery and the present. For example, Candice Breitz’s “Love Story” draws attention to individual experiences of the worldwide refugee crisis, weighing them against the power of celebrity appeal. This immersive video installation juxtaposes first-person stories told by displaced persons with re-performances of their narratives by two Hollywood stars, Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin. The work suspends viewers between the gritty firsthand accounts of people who would typically remain nameless and faceless in the media and an accessible drama featuring two actors who are the embodiment of visibility. 

“Artists were selected based on the strength of their individual works, the importance of their work in the short history of video, or the relevance of a particular work as it relates to the artist’s career,” McCabe said. “From emerging to well-known artists, the works encompass a range of styles from animation and film to time-based performances.”

Shirin Neshat’s “Turbulent” was selected for the significance of her video — a powerful work that marked a change in her career from photography and video to a move toward film. For McCabe, it is one of the most powerful video works of the last 20 years. Candice Breitz was chosen after being viewed at the Venice Biennial (2017) and in Cleveland at the recent Front International: Triennial for Contemporary Art (2018). It is a powerful work that addresses a major topic of concern for people all over the world — migration, refugees and displaced people. For this exhibition McCabe looked within the SMoCA permanent collection for two artists: Song Dong and Aaron Rothman, who created site-specific artworks for previous SMoCA exhibitions.

The exhibition is organized by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Sponsored by Carrie Lynn Richardson and Paul Giancola.

Related Programming
Free events at SMoCA fill quickly and are first come, first served; early arrival is encouraged. Visit SMoCA.org to RSVP and purchase tickets.

20th Anniversary Opening Celebration
Friday, Feb. 15, 7–10 p.m.
SMoCA Lounge
Tickets: Free Admission

Party like it’s 1999! Join us for the launch party of a year of festivities to celebrate SMoCA’s 20th anniversary and pledge support for the future growth of the Museum. This year’s spring opening party will include DJs, drinks and a preview of the new exhibition “Now Playing.” As a thank you to supporters and fans over the years, admission is free to everyone. Chat with curators, mingle with artists and share your SMoCA memories with us. Cash bar.

Now Showing @SMoCA: Under the Wire
Thursday, March 21, 7 p.m.

SMoCA Lounge
Tickets: $5

“Under the Wire” (2018) is a documentary film about two journalists covering war-ravaged Syria, only one of them surviving to tell the story.

Now Showing @SMoCA: Tania Libre
Thursday, April 18, 7 p.m.
SMoCA Lounge
Tickets: $7

Lynn Hershman Leeson’s recent film spends time with Cuban artist Tania Bruguera within days of her release from prison. The film follows Bruguera’s return to the United States and her visits with noted psychiatrist Dr. Frank Ochberg to acquire the skills necessary to process the personal infringement wrought by the Cuban government, including the revocation of her right to practice her art. Leeson joins us via Skype for a Q&A following the screening.

Through its partnership with the City of Scottsdale, the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts (formerly known as Scottsdale Cultural Council) creates diverse, inspired arts experiences and educational opportunities that foster active, lifelong community engagement with the arts. Since its founding in 1987, Scottsdale Arts has grown into a regionally and nationally significant, multi-disciplinary arts organization offering an exceptional variety of programs through four acclaimed branches — Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Arts Education & Outreach — serving more than 400,000 participants annually.

Founded in 1999, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) explores the best of contemporary art, architecture and design. Global in its focus, the Museum is a unique and vital cultural resource for the Southwest, serving local audiences as well as visitors from the United States and abroad. Designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, SMoCA’s minimalist building (an ingenious renovation of a former movie theater) has four galleries for showcasing changing exhibitions and works from the Museum’s collection, along with SMoCA Lounge, a living, functional art installation and space for community engagement. The Museum presents a wide variety of educational programs and special events for adults and families, including lectures, readings, performances, docent-led tours, workshops and classes. SMoCA also features an outdoor sculpture garden housing James Turrell’s “Knight Rise,” one of the renowned artist’s public skyspaces, and “Scrim Wall,” a monumental curtain of translucent glass panels by James Carpenter Design Associates. The Museum’s retail store, Shop@SMoCA, offers classic design objects and furnishings, contemporary jewelry, art and architecture books, and imaginative gifts for all occasions.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
[email protected]

Tuesday – Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays and major holidays
Admission: $10 adults, $7 students, seniors (65+) and veterans, and free for members and children under 15
Free on Thursdays and every second Saturday of the month

For interviews, digital images or additional information, please contact:

Virginia McInnis
Public Relations Specialist
Scottsdale Arts

Phone: 480-874-4663
Email: [email protected]