A pioneering figure in West Coast video and conceptual art, Paul Kos makes poetic and often playful works from humble materials mined for their physical properties and metaphorical possibilities. In the elegant Ice Makes Fire (1974–2004), Kos fashions a block of ice into a lens that can start a fire; in the enigmatic Warlock(ing) (1971), he sets small game traps to catch the rain. In this rare evening with the artist, Kos presents a collection of videos made across 40 years and discusses the principles of his practice.
1970–2007, USA, video file, ca 60 min + discussion
Presented in collaboration with Video Data Bank (VDB) as part of the organization’s 40th Anniversary Year, this program also launches the VDB-produced box set Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.
Paul Kos (b. Rock Springs, WY) works in sculpture, installation, video, painting, drawing, photo, and performance. Kos was a leading figure of the early Bay-Area conceptual art movement and was also among the first wave of artists to weave sound, video, and interactivity into sculptural installations. Kos is the recipient of numerous awards including the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in the visual arts (1974, 1976, 1982, 1993); National Endowment for the Arts Media Arts Grant (1986); Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship (1985); and Flintridge Foundation Fellowship award (1999). His work has been installed in multiple solo presentations including those at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1987); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1987); Berkeley Art Museum, University of California (2003); and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) (2003). Kos’s work has also been exhibited in group shows at a range of international institutions: Palais des beaux-arts, Charleroi, Belgium (1983); MCASD (1996); MoMA, New York (1984, 1985, 1997); Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei (2001); and Getty Research Institute and J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (2008). He lives and works in San Francisco, CA.