Doug Hall

A member of the seminal collectives and T.R. Uthco, Doug Hall produced video works in the 1980s that analyzed symbols and icons of power in contemporary culture, an inquiry that has led him to examine spectacle and theatricality, political authority and the mass media, and the apocalyptic sublime in nature.

Hall began working in video in the early 1970s; he was a founding member of the multi-media performance collective T.R. Uthco. Merging satirical dissections of America's media-saturated myths with pop cultural iconography, T.R. Uthco is best known for its 1975 collaboration with Ant Farm, The Eternal Frame. In this reenactment of John F. Kennedy's assassination, and in Ant Farm's Media Burn (1975), Hall plays the role of the media President.

The use of theatricality and fabricated events as critical strategies is later seen in his own ironic performances (The Speech, 1982; These Are the Rules, 1983), where he appears as a politician or demagogue to deconstruct the gestures, rhetoric, and pageantry of authority, and the manipulative artifice of mass media.

Hall terms his inquiry into signs of power in language and image the "theory of the spectacle," and other works extend this discourse to the tension between technology and nature. In an evocation of the Romantic aesthetic of the sublime, Storm and Stress (1986) presents awe-inspiring images of natural and technological phenomena as potent metaphors. Hall's examination of emblematic systems of power has also been articulated in a series of multi-media installations.

Doug Hall was born in 1944. He received a B.A. in anthropology from Harvard University and an M.F.A from the Rinehart School of Sculpture, Maryland Institute of Art. He has received numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts; a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship; a Fulbright Senior Lecture Fellowship; and a grant from the Contemporary Art Television (CAT) Fund. He is the chairman of the Department of Performance/Video at the San Francisco Art Institute. Hall is the co-editor (with Sally Jo Fifer) of Illuminating Video: An Essential Guide to Video Art (1990). His work has been exhibited internationally at festivals and institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, New York; Kunsthaus, Zurich; American Film Institute National Video Festival, Los Angeles; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kijkhuis, The Hague; and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. He lives in San Francisco.