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Anthea Behm

Author 
Scanlines email interview with Anthea Behm, 2010.

Anthea Behm is a visual artist working with and between video, performance, and photography. Behm is a 2011-2012 Core Fellow at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. During 2010-2011 she was a participant of the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. She completed her Masters of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and was a recipient of the Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship in 2007. Behm received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with First Class Honours at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales in 2005.

Behm says she began working with video:

“as an extension of my photography practice, which up until that point was mainly concerned with representation of the female body. As these representations became more performance based, the move to video was a natural progression, and for a long time I conceived my videos as moving photographs, a notion which is still formally evident in my work today. A large component of my practice deals with moving images from popular culture, particularly in how such images affect subjectivity, so it made sense for me to respond using the same medium. To date, my video work has been solely focused on performance for video.”

Of her influences she says:

“When I first started looking at art, the work of Cindy Sherman alongside others from the Pictures Generation greatly impacted my way of thinking. During my undergrad at COFA I became interested in Candice Breitz, Laura Mulvey, and feminist theory, all of which I focused on in my honours thesis. Growing up watching American television and Hollywood movies also influenced my practice, and later informed my decision to undertake an MFA in the US at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, during which my work greatly shifted. Texts that most directly contributed to this shift at graduate school - a period of time which coincided with the beginnings of the financial crisis in the US - included Theodor Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory, Chantal Mouffe’s On the Political, and Peter Bürger’s Theory of the Avant-Garde. Working with Gregg Bordowitz, Hamza Walker, Barbara DeGenevieve and Claire Pentecost played a central roll in developing this framework through which I became interested in Institutional Critique, particularly the work of Andrea Fraser, in addition to artists such as Sharon Hayes and Gerard Byrne, as well as critical theorists Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, David Harvey, Alexander Alberro and Isabelle Graw to name a few. As a current participant of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program I have the fortunate opportunity to work directly with such artists and theorists, which is facilitating a further shift.”

Of her involvement with any organisations or artist-run initiatives that dealt with experimental media, she says:

"I was a co-Director of Firstdraft Gallery during 2003 and 2004, and in my second year I also worked as the Programming Manager. In such a rapidly changing society as ours, what constitutes experimental media also constantly changes, so I try to avoid using the term in favour of specific forms and practices. During my tenure at Firstdraft, we exhibited practices that were engaged with video, performance, and installation, in addition to painting, drawing and sculpture. As these forms of media had all been absorbed into the establishment of art, it was not the media itself that was experimental, but the ways in which emerging artists were engaging with these forms, through both medium specific and inter-disciplinary strategies."

Of her first and latest show she says:

“I first exhibited my work in artist run spaces in Australia such as First Draft (Sydney), BUS (Melbourne), and Gitte Weise’s project space ROOM 35 (Sydney) where I had my first solo show in 2001. Forthcoming is the Whitney Independent Study Program Group Exhibition at 161 Bowery (New York) and a solo show at Golden Gallery (Chicago)."

Date 
b. 1977
Birth place
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Period of activity 
from 2003
Selected works
Anthea Behm, Video still from Adorno/Bueller, single channel HD video loop, 2010-11
Anthea Behm, Video still from Adorno/Bueller, single channel HD video loop, 2010-11 – from Adorno/Bueller 
Anthea Behm, Submission, video still, single channel HD video, 2009
Anthea Behm, Submission, video still, single channel HD video, 2009 – from Submission 
Anthea Behm, Australia; documentation of set from performance, first/single channel, colour photograph, 2010, dimensions not set
Anthea Behm, Australia; documentation of set from performance, first/single channel, colour photograph, 2010, dimensions not set – from Australia 
Anthea Behm, The Chrissy Diaries,  four channel video installation, 2005, installation view
Anthea Behm, The Chrissy Diaries, four channel video installation, 2005, installation view – from The Chrissy Diaries