Art Tape: Live With / Think About

2011, 3:12 min, color, sound, HD video

A playful commentary on art and representation, Art Tape: Live With/Think About, like much of Bell-Smith's work, incorporates content from popular television shows and movies, in this case Law & Order and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Bell-Smith combines this material with his own digital animation and edits, overlaying the footage with The Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place" and adding inconsistent subtitles. Inarticulate scribbles across the screen, which appear in beat with the song, satirize the familiar title shots of conventional cinema, while making transparent the artist's hand as it playfully interacts with and violates the visual sanctity of the painted masterpieces. At the same time, the piece comments on video's place in the art world and, as meta-text, asserts its ability to encourage one to "think about" rather than "live with" its content, despite - or thanks to - its precisely not being considered part of a historic canon of plastic arts. Rather, as relatively "new" artistic forms, the progeny of art and cinema, video and digital media works have the capacity here to appropriate the forms and images of their predecessors to evaluate their expressive limits and produce new meaning through synthesis—while not necessarily taking the endeavor too seriously.