7/30/20: Virtual Talks with Video Activists: Skip Blumberg

Skip Blumberg is an activist and video artist whose work has been shown widely on TV, the web, media art centers, and museums.

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Video continues to be a force in generating social change and exposing the realities of life in America. That’s why Media Burn Archive is presenting a series of screenings and discussions with pioneers of video art and activism.

This edition features Skip Blumberg, who presented a variety show of several quintessential activist videos, ranging from single-person crew to world-wide group productions. Many of these have been shown widely on broadcast & cable TV, the web, media art centers and museums.

As a park activist as well as video artist, Blumberg presented a first look at “Locked Out in the Lockdown: City Hall Park Perimeter Walk.” “Locked Out” is a 14-minute current park campaign video, recorded and edited in July during the encampment.

Filmmakers_Professors: Jacki Ochs, Pratt Institute; Liza Bear; Skip Blumberg, Hofstra University; Bette Gordon, Columbia University
Blumberg’s activism extends beyond video. He’s seen here at the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests. (From left: independent filmmakers Jacki Ochs, Liza Bear, Skip Blumberg, Bette Gordon.)

Over the course of a five-decade career, Skip Blumberg has created hundreds of productions. His videos have garnered over three million views on the web, including via his new indy network portal MoreArtistsMovies.com, with many airings on TV networks such as PBS and Showtime

Blumberg’s Pick Up Your Feet: the Double Dutch Show, winner of 3 NYC Emmys, is now regarded as a classic documentary. The film was included in the Museum of Broadcasting’s series “TV Critics’ Favorite Shows of All Time,” and shown at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art in a series on Black female heroes — one of the last public screenings before quarantine began, on February 22, 2020.

Racism isn't getting worse, it's getting filmed.
Blumberg captured this photo while engaging in the Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020.

Perhaps the most widely-seen of Blumberg’s works are the more than 150 documentary and performance shorts that he produced and directed for PBS’ Sesame Street, as well as those broadcast on NBC’s Tonight Show and Today, and on ABC’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not. His 1976 Bicentennial video footage was recently seen on Netflix in Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue.

In 1993, Blumberg founded Friends of City Hall Park, dedicated to making the best possible neighborhood park and a city commons for all New Yorkers. He led three successful campaigns to renovate the park and re-open it after Mayor Giuliani’s closure post-9/11. FCHP recently began a new campaign to re-open the park, as it’s been closed to the public since June 23rd.

 

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