Nam June Paik died yesterday.
Few artists deserve the name of avant-garde artists as much as Paik did. His faith in the intimate link between technology and art was one of the fundaments of today's new art. Starting off in the early 60's, he was first more connected to live performance. In the 80's he moved towards large multi-monitor installations. He gave technology a soul. He made art seem fun and intelligent at the same time. At times it seemed as if the fun, experimental and/or esoteric aspects took over, leaving less room for intellectual aspects, but even those works had a power that mesmerized, hypnotized and inspired a whole generation of artists. Actually, come and think of it, he inspired more than a generation, since his works are still seen today as innovative and fresh.
Here is an excerpt from New Media in Art:
The (...) 'art'-oriented video histories will usually point to the day in 1965 when Korean-born Fluxus artist and musician Nam June Paik bought one of the first Sony Portapak video sets in New York, and tuyrned his camera on the Papal entourage that day making its way down Fifth Avenue. That, in this view, was the day video art was born. Paik apparently took the footage of the Pope, shot from a cab, and that night showed the results at an artists' hangout, the Cafe a GoGo.