Dara Birnbaum

Journey: Shadow of the American Dream (still video), 2022
Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

Fondazione Prada presents an extensive survey exhibition dedicated to the work of Dara Birnbaum from 13 April to 25 September 2023 at the Osservatorio, its space located at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. A parallel exhibition will be on view at Prada Aoyama Tokyo from 1 June to 28 August 2023.

Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman, 1978-79
Courtesy Dara Birnbaum and Electonic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Damnation of Faust Trilogy, 1983-87
Courtesy Dara Birnbaum and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Damnation of Faust: Evocation, 1983
Courtesy Dara Birnbaum and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Pop-Pop Video: General Hospital/Olympic Women Speed Skating, 1980
Courtesy Dara Birnbaum and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Curated by Barbara London, with Valentino Catricalà and Eva Fabbris, the exhibition offers different perspectives to understand the distinguished career of Dara Birnbaum (New York, 1946), an artist who consistently has challenged the precepts of art and mass media.
“Dara Birnbaum” comprises a selection of single-channel videos, sound works, multi-channel installations, photographs, and 3-D specialized prints on Plexiglas as realized by the artist from 1975 to 2022. This exhibition reveals her deep exploration of the cultural intersections of video art, television, and consumer technologies and – among other themes – the gendered biases reflected in the representation of women in popular culture.

The exhibition path conceived by the artist for the two floors of the Osservatorio doesn’t follow a chronological order. However, by employing a carefully selected series of works, it illustrates the wide range of media and artistic languages employed by Birnbaum in her practice and explores the recurrent topics of her ongoing creative work.

Transmission Tower: Sentinel (detail), 1992
Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery
Photo: Alex Yudzon

Quiet Disaster, 1999
Courtesy the artist andMarian Goodman Gallery
Photo: Sebastiano Pellion

Dara Birnbaum was born in 1946 in New York, where she continues to live and work. Dara Birnbaum received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, a BFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute and a Certificate in Video and Electronic Editing at the Video Study Center at the New School for Social Research, New York. Dara Birnbaum’s pioneering video, media, and installation work has addressed the ideological and aesthetic character of mass media imagery over the past four decades and has been considered fundamental to our understanding of the history of media art. She was one of the first artists to design complex and innovative installations that juxtapose imagery from multiple sources while integrating three-dimensional elements—large-scale photographs, sculptural, or architectural elements—into the work. She is known for her groundbreaking strategies and for using manipulated television footage.

Lesson Plans (To Keep the Revolution Alive), 1977
Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery
Photo: Thierry Bal

Dara Birnbaum
Osservatorio Fondazione Prada, Milano
April 13 – September 25, 2023

All images courtesy the artist and Fondazione Prada
Photo: Alex Yudzon, Sebastiano Pellion, Thierry Bal