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Michael Snow

Michael Snow

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Michael Snow, CC
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

 (born December 10, 1929) is a Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 artist working in painting, sculpture, video, films, photography, holography, drawing, books and music.

Life


Michael Snow was born in Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

 and studied at Upper Canada College
Upper Canada College
Upper Canada College , located in midtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is an independent elementary and secondary school for boys between Senior Kindergarten and Grade Twelve, operating under the International Baccalaureate program. The secondary school segment is divided into ten houses; eight are...

 and the Ontario College of Art
Ontario College of Art & Design
OCAD University is Canada's largest and oldest educational institution for art and design. It is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on McCaul Street beside the Art Gallery of Ontario...

. He had his first solo exhibition in 1957. Since then, his work has appeared at exhibitions across Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. His works were included in the shows marking the reopening of both the Centre Pompidou
Centre Georges Pompidou
Centre Georges Pompidou is a complex in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles, rue Montorgueil and the Marais...

 in Paris in 2000 and the MoMA
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

 in New York in 2005. In March 2006 his works were included in the Whitney Biennial
Whitney Biennial
The Whitney Biennial is a biennale exhibition of contemporary American art, typically by young and lesser known artists, on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, USA. The event began as an annual exhibition in 1932, the first biennial was in 1973...

.

Films


Snow is considered one of the most influential experimental film
Experimental film
Experimental film or experimental cinema is a type of cinema. Experimental film is an artistic practice relieving both of visual arts and cinema. Its origins can be found in European avant-garde movements of the twenties. Experimental cinema has built its history through the texts of theoreticians...

makers and is the subject of retrospectives in many countries. In his 2002 Village Voice review of *Corpus Callosum, J. Hoberman
J. Hoberman
James Lewis Hoberman , also known as J. Hoberman, is an American film critic. He is currently the senior film critic for The Village Voice, a post he has held since 1988.-Education:...

 writes: “Rigorously predicated on irreducible cinematic facts, Snow's structuralist epics—Wavelength
Wavelength (1966 film)
Wavelength is a forty-five minute film that made the reputation of Canadian experimental filmmaker and artist Michael Snow. Considered a landmark of avant-garde cinema, it was filmed over one week in December 1966 and edited in 1967 and is an example of what film theorist P...

and La Région Centrale
La region centrale
La Région centrale is a 1971 experimental Canadian film directed by Michael Snow. The film is 180 minutes long and was shot in Canadian mountains over a period of 24 hours, using a robotic arm and consists entirely of preprogrammed movements. The robotic arm never moves in exactly the same way...

—announced the imminent passing of the film era. Rich with new possibilities, *Corpus Callosum heralds the advent of the next. Whatever it is, it cannot be too highly praised.” *Corpus Calossum was screened at the Toronto
Toronto International Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival is a publicly-attended film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2010, 339 films from 59 countries were screened at 32 screens in downtown Toronto venues...

, Berlin, Rotterdam, and the Los Angeles film festivals amongst others. In January 2003, Snow won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association was founded in 1975. Its main purpose is to present yearly awards to members of the film industry who have excelled in their fields. These awards are presented each January...

, Douglas Edwards Independent Experimental Film/Video Award for *Corpus Callosum. His numerous films have premiered in major film festivals all over the world. Five of his films have premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival
Toronto International Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival is a publicly-attended film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2010, 339 films from 59 countries were screened at 32 screens in downtown Toronto venues...

 (TIFF). In 2000, TIFF commissioned Snow with Atom Egoyan
Atom Egoyan
Atom Egoyan, OC is a critically acclaimed Armenian-Canadian stage director and film director. Egoyan made his career breakthrough with Exotica...

 and David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Paul Cronenberg, OC, FRSC is a Canadian filmmaker, screenwriter and actor. He is one of the principal originators of what is commonly known as the body horror or venereal horror genre. This style of filmmaking explores people's fears of bodily transformation and infection. In his films, the...

 to make short films, Preludes, for the 25th Anniversary of the festival. Wavelength has been designated and preserved as a "masterwork" by the Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada
Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada
The Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada was a charitable non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the preservation of Canada’s audio-visual heritage, and to facilitating access to regional and national collections through partnerships with members of Canada's audio-visual community...

 and was named #85 in the 2001 Village Voice critics' list of the 100 Best Films of the 20th Century .

Music


Originally a professional jazz musician, Snow has a long-standing interest in improvised music, as indicated by the soundtrack to his film New York Eye and Ear Control
New York Eye and Ear Control
New York Eye and Ear Control is an album of group improvisations recorded by an augmented version of Albert Ayler's group to provide the soundtrack for Michael Snow's film of the same name....

. As a pianist, he has performed solo and with other musicians in North America, Europe and Japan. Snow performs regularly in Canada and internationally, often with the improvisational music ensemble CCMC and has released more than a half dozen albums since the mid-1970s. In 1987, Snow issued The Last LP (Art Metropole
Art Metropole
Art Metropole was founded in 1974 by the Canadian artists' group General Idea as a not-for-profit corporation incorporated under the laws of the province of Ontario. It is located in Toronto, Canada....

), which purported to be a documentary recording of the dying gasps of ethnic musical cultures from around the globe including Tibet, Syria, India, China, Brazil, Finland and elsewhere, with more thousands of words of pseudo-scholarly supplementary notes, but was, in fact, a series of multi-tracked recordings of Snow himself, who gave the joke away only in a single column of text in the disc's gatefold jacket, printed backwards and readable in a mirror. One track, purported to be a document of a coming-of-age ritual from Niger, is a pastiche of Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
Whitney Elizabeth Houston is an American singer, actress, producer and a former model. Houston is the most awarded female act of all time, according to Guinness World Records, and her list of awards include 1 Emmy Award, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among...

's song "How Will I Know
How Will I Know
"How Will I Know" is a song recorded by American recording artist Whitney Houston for her debut album, entitled Whitney Houston, which was released in February 1985. It was released by Arista Records in November that year, as the album's third single. Composed by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam,...

."

Other media



Snow's works have been in Canadian pavilion at world fairs since his famous Walking Women sculpture was exhibited at Expo 67
Expo 67
The 1967 International and Universal Exposition or Expo 67, as it was commonly known, was the general exhibition, Category One World's Fair held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, from April 27 to October 29, 1967. It is considered to be the most successful World's Fair of the 20th century, with the...

 in Montréal. His recent bookwork BIOGRAPHIE of the Walking Woman / de la femme qui marche 1961-1967 (2004) was published in Brussels by La Lettre vole. It consists of images of the public appearances of his globally famous icon.

Snow was one of the four performers of the rarely performed Steve Reich
Steve Reich
Stephen Michael "Steve" Reich is an American composer who together with La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass is a pioneering composer of minimal music...

 piece Pendulum Music
Pendulum Music
"Pendulum Music " is the name of a work by Steve Reich, involving suspended microphones and speakers, creating phasing feedback tones. The piece was composed in August 1968 and revised in May 1973....

 on May 27, 1969 at the Whitney Museum of American Art
Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney Museum of American Art, often referred to simply as "the Whitney", is an art museum with a focus on 20th- and 21st-century American art. Located at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street in New York City, the Whitney's permanent collection contains more than 18,000 works in a wide variety of...

. The other three were: Richard Serra
Richard Serra
Richard Serra is an American minimalist sculptor and video artist known for working with large-scale assemblies of sheet metal. Serra was involved in the Process Art Movement.-Early life and education:...

, James Tenney
James Tenney
James Tenney was an American composer and influential music theorist.-Biography:Tenney was born in Silver City, New Mexico, and grew up in Arizona and Colorado. He attended the University of Denver, the Juilliard School of Music, Bennington College and the University of Illinois...

 and Bruce Nauman
Bruce Nauman
Bruce Nauman is a contemporary American artist. His practice spans a broad range of media including sculpture, photography, neon, video, drawing, printmaking, and performance. Nauman lives in Galisteo, New Mexico....

.

Anarchive2: Digital Snow describes Michael Snow as “one of the most significant artists in contemporary art and cinema of the past 50 years.” This 2002 DVD was initiated by Paris’ Centre Pompidou and was produced with the support of la foundation Daniel Langlois, Université de Paris, Heritage Canada, the Canada Council
Canada Council
The Canada Council for the Arts, commonly called the Canada Council, is a Crown Corporation established in 1957 to act as an arts council of the government of Canada, created to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. It funds Canadian artists and...

, Téléfilm Canada and Montreal’s Époxy. It is an encyclopedia of Snow's works across media, browsed in a manner inimitably and artfully created by Snow. Its 4,685 entries include film clips, sculpture, photographs, audio and musical clips, and interviews.

Retrospectives and honours


In 1993, The Michael Snow Project, lasting several months, was a multivenue retrospective of Snow’s works in Toronto exhibited at several public venues and at the Art Gallery of Ontario
Art Gallery of Ontario
Under the direction of its CEO Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO embarked on a $254 million redevelopment plan by architect Frank Gehry in 2004, called Transformation AGO. The new addition would require demolition of the 1992 Post-Modernist wing by Barton Myers and Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg...

 and The Power Plant. Concurrently his works were the subjects of four books published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada.

In 1981, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

 and was promoted to Companion in 2007 "for his contributions to international visual arts as one of Canada’s greatest multidisciplinary contemporary artists". He received the first Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2000) for cinema.

In 2004, the Université de Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne
Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter, in Paris, France, which has been the historical house of the former University of Paris...

 awarded him an honorary doctorate. The last artist so awarded was Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

.
In 2006, Lima's Museum of Art (MALI) held a selective retrospective exhibition as well as a screening of his films in Peru, as part of the Vide/Art/Electronic Festival.

Honorary degrees


Université de Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne (2004), Emily Carr Institute, Vancouver (2004) Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax (1990), University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

 (1999), University of Victoria (1997), Brock University (1975).

Academic appointments

  • Visiting Artist/Professor at MAPS (Master of Art in Public Sphere), Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais, Sierre, Switzerland (February 2005, January 2006)
  • Visiting Artist/Professor at L’école Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Bourges, France. (December 2004, May 2005)
  • Visiting Artist/Professor, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 2001
  • Visiting Artist/Professor, le Fresnoy, Tourcoing France, 1997-8
  • Visiting Professor, l'Ecole Nationale de la Photographie, Arles France, 1996
  • Visiting Professor, Princeton University, 1988
  • Professor of Advanced Film, Yale University, 1970
  • CCMC artists in residence, La Chartreuse, Avignon Festival, France, 1981

Other awards

  • Gershon Iskowitz Prize, 2011
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Independent/Experimental Film and Video Award for "*Corpus Callosum", 2002
  • Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, 2002
  • Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, 2000
  • Chevalier de l'ordre des arts et des lettres, France, 1995
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Independent/Experimental Film and Video Award for "So Is This", 1983
  • Guggenheim Fellowship, 1972
  • Grand Pix of the Knokke Experimental Film Festival for "Wavelength", 1967

Major installations

  • "The Windows Suite" is a permanent installation consisting of 32 varied sequences of images, which are presented on 65" plasma screens in 7 of the windows of the façade of the Toronto Pantages Hotel and Spa and related condo buildings facing Victoria Street in central Toronto. Some of these sequences one might possibly glimpse in the windows of a sophisticated hotel, condo, spa and parking garage building, but many sequences are “impossible,” e.g. in one sequence fish swim from window to window. This installation was opened as an official event of the Toronto International Film Festival September 2006.

  • Flightstop - Toronto Eaton Centre
    Toronto Eaton Centre
    The Toronto Eaton Centre is a large shopping mall and office complex in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, named after the now-defunct Eaton's department store chain that once anchored it. In terms of the number of visitors, the shopping mall is Toronto's top tourist attraction, with around one...

     a collection of life sized Canada geese in flight hanging over the main section of the mall. In 1982, the installation was the subject of a leading Canadian court decision on moral rights, Snow v. The Eaton Centre Ltd.
    Snow v. The Eaton Centre Ltd.
    Snow v. The Eaton Centre Ltd. 70 C.P.R. 105 is a leading Canadian decision on moral rights. The Ontario High Court of Justice affirmed the artist's right to integrity of their work...


  • The Audience (1989) - SkyDome (now Rogers Centre
    Rogers Centre
    Rogers Centre is a multi-purpose stadium, in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated next to the CN Tower, near the shores of Lake Ontario. Opened in 1989, it is home to the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball and the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League...

     in Toronto
    Toronto
    Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

    ) is a collection of larger than life depictions of fans located above the northeast and northwest entrances. Painted gold, the sculptures show fans in various acts of celebration.

Filmography


  • A to Z (1956)
  • New York Eye and Ear Control
    New York Eye and Ear Control
    New York Eye and Ear Control is an album of group improvisations recorded by an augmented version of Albert Ayler's group to provide the soundtrack for Michael Snow's film of the same name....

    (1964)
  • Short Shave (1965)
  • Wavelength (1967)
  • Standard Time (1967)
  • One Second in Montreal (1969)
  • Dripping Water (with Joyce Wieland
    Joyce Wieland
    Joyce Wieland, OC was a Canadian experimental filmmaker and mixed media artist.-Life:Joyce Wieland was an experimental filmmaker and artist, whose work challenged and bridged boundaries among avant garde film factions of her time...

    , 1969)
  • <---->
    Back and Forth (film)
    is a 1969 experimental Canadian film directed by Michael Snow. The camera continually moves back and forth, and eventually up and down, at varying speeds. Shots of different lengths are cut together.-Cast:...

    (AKA Back and Forth) (1969)
  • Side Seat Paintings Slides Sound Film (1970)
  • La Région Centrale
    La region centrale
    La Région centrale is a 1971 experimental Canadian film directed by Michael Snow. The film is 180 minutes long and was shot in Canadian mountains over a period of 24 hours, using a robotic arm and consists entirely of preprogrammed movements. The robotic arm never moves in exactly the same way...

    (1971)
  • Two Sides to Every Story (double 16mm installation, 1974)
  • 'Rameau's Nephew' by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen (1974)
  • Breakfast (Table Top Dolly) (1976)
  • Presents (1981)
  • So Is This (1982)
  • Seated Figures (1988)
  • See You Later (1990)
  • To Lavoisier, Who Died in the Reign of Terror (1991)
  • Prelude (2000)
  • The Living Room (2000)
  • *Corpus Callosum (2002)
  • WVLNT ("Wavelength For Those Who Don't Have the Time") (2003)
  • SSHTOORRTY (2005)

External links