Bienko's video makes shortlist
in Guggenheim Museum contest


A music video created by Joshua Bienko, assistant professor of visualization at Texas A&M University, has made the short list in an international creative video contest co-sponsored by New York's internationally renowned Guggenheim Museum.

Bienko's video was one of 125 selected from more than 23,000 entries to advance in the contest, "YouTube Play, A Biennial of Creative Video," sponsored by the museum and YouTube in collaboration with Hewlett-Packard and Intel.

"It's a conceptual gesture that utilizes video, the Internet and YouTube as artistic mediums, like paint or marble." said Bienko. He appears as a rapper in the work, which incorporates two songs he wrote, “TehChing Hsieh” and “LeWitt, Sol,” which refer to contemporary artists of the same name.

"Referencing hip-hop and contemporary art, the videos embrace a braggadocio persona in an effort to draw parallels between art and culture in a way that is both playful and sincere," he said.

The video debuted at VOX IV, an exhibit displaying work from emerging national and international artists, at Philadelphia's VOX Populi gallery in July 2010.

"Joshua Bienko’s colorful and insistent rap/rant videos “Lewitt, Sol” and “TehChing Hsieh” spit out references to contemporary art stars, culture and commerce, capturing the anger many artists feel toward the art-industrial complex," wrote Roberta Fallon in the July 20 issue of Philadelphia Weekly.

The show’s humanist focus, fractured narratives and “damn the torpedoes” ambiance aren’t new, she said.

"What is novel is the embrace of craftsmanship—well-painted paintings, beautifully made sculpture, great clay pieces and accomplished video and photography," she said.

VOX IV also included oil paintings by Bienko on the bottoms of two pair of Christian Louboutin shoes. He used a grant from Texas A&M's Academy of Visual and Performing arts to help produce the work.

The Guggenheim contest, wrote Rachel Lee Harris in the Sept. 20, 2010 edition of the New York Times, is part of its effort to uncover innovative work from outside the traditional art world system.

The shortlist of 125 films, wrote Harris — by video artists, photographers, filmmakers, composers, video-game programmers, a chess champion, an improv comedy troupe, an electronic music producer, a rock band and a hip-hop group — will be on display in kiosks at the Guggenheim’s museums, as well as on the YouTube channel.

“We artists can no longer call ourselves artists merely by discovering something special and presenting it to the public alone,” Takashi Murakami, one of the contest's jurors, said in a statement from the museum. “In that way, YouTube has incited a revolution.”

Murakami and a jury of professional artists, including film director Darren Aronofsky and performance artist Laurie Anderson, will winnow the 125 entries into a final group of 20 films that will be revealed and presented at the museum October 21. The public will be able to view the 20 final videos at and at the museum.

The Guggenheim Museum is the permanent home to a renowned collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art, housed in one of the 20th century's most important architectural landmarks, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Bienko wrote the video's two songs and directed, edited and shot both videos; he had some shooting help from Chris Garcia, a graduate assistant, in the first video.

Hsieh is best known for his one-year performances.

"Work like 'Outdoor Piece 1981 - 1982,' in which he did not enter any building, shelter, car, train, airplane, boat or tent for one year," said Bienko.  "Another intensive work is 'Time Clock Piece 1980 - 1981,' where he punched in on a time clock, taking a photo of himself every hour for an entire year.  This work has been duplicated numerous times on YouTube, whether consciously referenced or not.  His work has been described as being about solitude, work, time, exposure and the way in which art and life are related."

Sol Le Witt was prolific in a wide range of media, mostly linked to conceptual art.

Bienko's video is available at

All 125 videos on the shortlist are available at

The Guggenheim Museum's homepage is at

Roberta Fallon's review of the VOX VI exhibit is at


- Posted: Oct. 5, 2010 -

— the end —

Contact:   Phillip Rollfing, or 979.458.0442.


Joshua Bienko

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