The Academy will host free, salon-style discussions that supplement that pair National Academicians with fellow members, collaborators, and new media professionals, and give fair attendees the opportunity to hear from the artists themselves about their influences and processes.
National Academician Elizabeth King’s short stop-motion film, What Happened (with Richard Kizu-Blair), is on view during VOLTA New York as part of the National Academy’s exhibition hall, Into the Horizon. Mike Belzer, a lead animator on that 1991 film, joins King on Friday, March 8, at 4:00 p.m. for a demonstration of traditional stop-motion animation, showing how King’s sculptures are animated for film. What does the sculpture do? It becomes a being that thinks, worries, counts, and tries things with its wooden hands. Because stop-motion captures all the native material and light of the real world, the sculpture on film loses none of its physical character as a made thing. King and Belzer reunited and worked together recently at MASS MoCA creating a stop-motion film in the museum’s gallery as part of the show, allowing visitors to observe the process and the profound concentration it requires. Clips of that film will be shown in this demo. For King, the film set turns a sculpture into a performing instrument rather than an object on a pedestal. For Belzer, the chance to pose a model capable of subtle motion lets him access a complex range of emotions in mime. Two very different disciplines, each influencing the other, come together in the work of Belzer and King.
Elizabeth King, NA
Elizabeth King (NA 2017) combines figurative sculpture with stop-motion animation in works that blur the boundary between actual and virtual object. Her most recent solo show, Radical Small, was on view at MASS MoCA from February, 2017, through January, 2018. She opened that show with a one-week live stop-motion film shoot performed in front of viewers, working with Seattle-based animator Mike Belzer. The film set and finished animation were on view for the remainder of the exhibition. Influenced by the history of the puppet, the automaton, and literature’s legends in which the artificial figure comes to life, King's work touches on the mind/body riddle, the anatomy of emotion, the human/machine interface, and the direct gaze in an increasingly mediated world. A 2002 Guggenheim Fellow, her work is in permanent collections of the Hirshhorn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Hood Museum at Dartmouth, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is represented by Danese/Corey in New York. Double Take, a documentary film on her work by Olympia Stone, was released in 2018 and shown on PBS stations nationwide. She taught at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Sculpture and Extended Media from 1985 to 2015. For more see: thesizesofthings.com.
Mike Belzer is an internationally-known animator whose work can be seen in the films The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and others. He works across genres: experimental shorts, commercial spots, series television, feature-length films, and games. Trained in stop-motion, he is equally skilled in computer animation, and currently animates for computer games as well as for the emerging world of VR. He got his start in stop-motion with Art Clokey, creator of the TV series Gumby, and from there moved to Colossal Pictures in San Francisco as the staff animator. Working on both experimental projects (MTV's Liquid Television) and commercial spots (the iconic Pillsbury Doughboy), he honed his craft, capturing character and gestural style, “acting through a puppet, one frame at a time.” He went on to become a core animator for Tim Burton and Henry Selick on the Oscar-nominated film The Nightmare Before Christmas (1994 for Best Visual Effects). With the rise of the computer in the film and special effects world in the 1990s, Belzer expanded into computer animation for Pixar, Walt Disney Feature Animation (Dinosaur, Meet the Robinsons, Bolt), and Warner Bros. (animating shorts for PEPFAR: the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in sub-Saharan Africa). He now animates for the Seattle-based game design company Valve, where he helped create Team Fortress 2, Portal 2, and most recently the VR game The Lab. He has lectured worldwide on the art of animation. He loves watching people move. See mikebelzer.com.
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MORE NAD x VOLTA ARTIST TALKS
Frances Barth, NA + Rebecca Cleman In Conversation
Thursday, March 7, 2019 — 4:00 p.m.
Mary Lucier, NA + Donna Dennis, NA In Conversation
Saturday, March 9, 2019 — 4:00 p.m.