''Retrospectiva'' by Bill Viola in the Guggenheim

More information

Lucía Agirre

Bill Viola

Bill Viola, (New York, 1951), grew up in Queens, New York, and Westbury, New York. He attended P.S. 20, in Flushing. In 1973 Viola graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in experimental studies. He studied in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. From 1973 to 1980, he studied and performed with composer David Tudor in the new music group "Rainforest" (later named "Composers Inside Electronics"). From 1974 to 1976, Viola worked as technical director at Art/tapes/22. From 1976 to 1983, he was artist-in-residence at WNET Thirteen Television Laboratory in New York. In 1976 and 1977, he traveled to the Solomon Islands, Java and Indonesia to record traditional performing arts.

Viola was invited to show work at La Trobe University (Melbourne, Australia) in 1977, by cultural arts director Kira Perov. Viola and Perov later married, beginning an important lifelong collaboration in working and traveling together. In 1980, they lived in Japan for a year and a half on a Japan/U.S. cultural exchange fellowship where they studied Buddhism with Zen Master Daien Tanaka. During this time, Viola was also an artist-in-residence at Sony Corporation's Atsugi Laboratories.

In 1983, he became an instructor in Advanced Video at the California Institute of the Arts, in Valencia, California. He represented the United States at the 46th Venice Biennale in 1995 for which he produced a series of works called Buried Secrets, including one of his best known works The Greeting, a contemporary interpretation of Pontormo's The Visitation. In 1997, the Whitney Museum of American Art organized and toured internationally a major 25-year retrospective of Viola's work.

Viola was the 1998, Getty Scholar-in-residence at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. Later, in 2000, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2002, he completed Going Forth By Day, a digital "fresco" cycle in High-Definition video, commissioned by the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin and the Guggenheim Museum, New York.

In 2003,The Passions was exhibited in Los Angeles, London, Madrid, and Canberra. This was a major collection of Viola's emotionally charged, slow-motion works inspired by traditions within Renaissance devotional painting.
Viola's work has been exhibited in major museums and cultural institutions around the world such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, at the Mori Museum of Art in Tokyo, at the Grand Palais in Paris and at the Royal Academy of London. He has represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1995. In Spain, his works have been appreciated on several occasions, one of the last was in 2017 with a great retrospective of the artist at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

In addition, throughout his long professional career he has received numerous awards and distinctions, such as the MacArthur Foundation award for “creative genius” in 1989, the honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from the University of Syracuse in 1995, in the XXI International Prize of Catalonia in 2009 or the Praemium Imperiale, awarded by the Japan Art Association, in 2011.



Our selection