Iowa Blizzard | Elaine Summers

One of the most interesting works from the Intermedia Program at University of Iowa, on display at the Anti-Academy exhibition at John Hansard Gallery, was Iowa Blizzard by Elaine Summers.

Elaine Summers, a pioneer of intermedia art who merged film and dance during her association with the Judson Dance Theatre in the 1960s.  Summers first worked with Intermedia students in 1973, developing site-specific dance pieces in various locations within the city.

The Intermedia Programme at the University of Iowa was established by the German artist Hans Breder. At Intermedia, students experienced workshops by various visiting artists with an emphasis on exploring ‘the boundaries between media, between artistic and scholarly practices, between genres, between social and political universes, between viewer and artist’.  The Iowa programme was characterised by an innovative use of media and technology. Key to its early years was the involvement of visiting artists who developed work with student participation, including creations by Robert Wilson and Allan Kaprow amongst others. There was an emphasis on development of a collaborative relationship with the local community and the utilisation of the local landscape as site for the making of student work. Anti-Academy includes works made with students (notably with the year group of students that included Ana Mendieta and Charles Ray) by Elaine Summers, Mary Beth Edelson and Vito Acconci, alongside a broader review of the archive.

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