His experimental films of the 1950s blurred dada collage and science fiction, and he was an early adopter of both analog processes and computer animation, establishing for him a godfather-like position in the origin-narratives surrounding new media. His often rough aesthetic anticipated glitch-fetishism by several decades and drove the surrealist aesthetic into new territory; yet this is not to say that his works didn't go down smoothly. (The internet is full of video evidence
of his colorfully dreamy proliferations.) The artist is currently the subject of an exhibition
at New York's Guild & Greyshkul
gallery, where one can see VanDerBeek's contribution to the proto-history of digital copy-and-paste stylistics in the form of real
copy-and-paste collages and his own reworkings of his early films. Much of the work in the show, including a "faux mural" he transmitted electronically to international venues, in 1970, was made in his days at MIT, where his immersion among scientists and engineers had a clear impact on his art. VanDerBeek had a futurist and almost cosmological approach to his work and was one of those artists known for spouting beautiful witticisms about finding universal modes of expression that transcended media and the confinement of traditional forms. At the end of the day, he also reminded us that "Art is the artifact of reality (not taken for granted)." - Marisa Olson
... from YOU TUBE
As was typical with a great number of experimental filmmakers, Stan Vanderbeek studied painting before actually beginning his film production. Indeed, his earliest films are animated collage pieces which embody his background in graphics (e.g., Breathdeath). Vanderbeek's career spanned about a third of a century, a period of almost constant creativity with extraordinary amalgamations of media. As such, it is a difficult career to summarize, especially in light of the fact that no definitive list of his truly countless productions seems to exist. Vanderbeek appeared to exude creations at a rate that escaped even his own cataloguing. Soon after Vanderbeek's early animation work, he focused upon a unique multi-projection apparatus of his own design. This "Movie-Drome" (at Stony Point, New York) provided the presentation of a number of "Vortex-Concerts," prototypes for a satellite-interconnected "Culture Intercom" that might allow better (and quicker) international communication. At the same time, he continued experiments with dance films, paintings, Polaroid photography, architecture, 195-degree cinematography, and intermedia events. Vanderbeek's more recent explorations of computer-generated images and video graphics provide a clear contemporary perspective for his career. In addition, they signalled a technostructural metamorphosis which marks the ongoing evolution of that major genre generally known as the "experimental film." Experimental filmmakers of Vanderbeek's prestige and prominence have, at times, found the fortune of industry support. In the late 1960s, Vanderbeek came to collaborate with such computer specialists as Ken Knowlton of New Jersey's Bell Telephone Laboratories. The result was a number of cathode-ray-tube mosaics called Poem Fields. Today these early exercises with computer graphic possibilities still retain aesthetic power as transparent tapestries in electronic metamorphosis. Typically brief, non-narrative and abstract, the various Poem Fields often reveal subtle, stunning mandala patterns, strikingly similar to classic Asian meditative devices with their symmetrical concentricity. Vanderbeek's final projects also address electronically constructed imagery. Some of his work (such as Color Fields) employs the same interest in abstraction which characterized Poem Fields. Others (Mirrored Reason, made in video and released in film) are more representational and narrative. Still others (After Laughter) recall the rapidly paced irony that marked Breathdeath and other examples of Vanderbeek's earliest animation. This noteworthy quantity, quality, and extraordinary technological diversity of output resulted in exceptional institutional support for Vanderbeek throughout the years. He was artist-in-residence at USC, Colgate, WGBH-TV, and NASA. His work was presented on CBS, ABC, and such CATV showcases as Night Flight. His performances outside the United States took him to such cities as Berlin, Vienna, Tokyo, Paris, and Toronto; he has been a U.S.I.A. speaker in nations like Israel, Iran, Turkey, Greece, and England. His grants and awards are equally numerous and prestigious, and his academic recognition provided Vanderbeek not only with guest lectures and screenings throughout the United States, but faculty appointments at such schools as Columbia, Washington, and M.I.T.