About This Exhibition

The invention of film began with a bet.

In 1872, Leland Stanford (railroad magnate, California senator, racehorse owner, and eventual founder of Stanford University) hired English photographer Eadweard Muybridge to settle a gentleman’s wager.

Contrary to popular opinion, Stanford believed that during their top-speed stride, the four hooves of a horse were all off the ground. In order to test this theory, Muybridge devised a system of 12 split-second cameras to capture a galloping horse at all points in its run. The images–which proved Stanford’s theory and won him the bet–made international news. Muybridge presented the photographs in a single composition. He printed each of the 12 individual images together, in sequence, creating a single collaged image of movement.

In 1879, Muybridge took his composition one step further. He invented the zoopraxiscope, a device with a rotating disc that projected images sequentially. Now an observer could actually see the horse galloping. After a public showing in San Francisco, a reporter gushed, “Nothing was wanting, but the clatter of hooves upon the turf and the occasional breath of steam to make the spectator believe he had before him the flesh-and-blood steeds.” Muybridge’s important artistic triumphs led to the birth of motion pictures in 1889.

This shared history between fine art and film is still alive in contemporary art. When choosing to create work that references film culture, many artists still utilize a similar collage aesthetic. By layering, grouping, and sequencing images in their final composition, these artists celebrate the common ancestry of the two media. This exhibition explores this artistic vein in prints, photography, painting, and new media.

Art+Film features work by Joseph Beuys, Michelle Marie Murphy, Tracey Moffatt, Roger Shimomora, and more. Come explore the intersection of Art+Film in this dynamic exhibition that pairs collection artworks with key loans from the artists.

Headshots of two people making faces. ON the left is a woman with blonde hair, her hands in front of her mouth. On the right, a man with dark hair, dark mustache and close trimmed beard has his fingertips at his temples.

Michelle Marie Murphy, Beauty Flex, 2013. Single channel video, color, silent. Courtesy of the artist