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Bill Viola: The Passions
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Browse the reactions of other viewers to Viola's work below.

These reactions were submitted to this site between January 17 and April 28, 2003. The site is now closed to new reactions.

The opinions presented here may have been edited and do not reflect the opinions of the Getty.

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Awesome. It was great to see crowds of people exhibiting patience as a group. It sort of reminded me of portions of the -qatsi movies [Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi] that featured Philip Glass' minimalism.

This was the most exciting exhibit I have seen in a long time. It was mesmerizing and refreshing at the same time. What a sense of art history and religion. Bill Viola is a modern day Da Vinci.

I was simply blown away by Mr. Viola's exhibit! It is truly remarkable and I wish the Getty would extend the exhibit's run. It is something everyone should experience!

I have been powerfully inspired by The Passions; so much so that I have returned to view it over and over again... Each time new ideas and thoughts enter my mind, as well as happy memories...

I have seen your work, Bill, in various venues over many, many years and have always been curious and moved by it and drawn great pleasure, fun, and interest from it...

Will this exhibition educate regular visitors' viewing habits to linger longer in front of other art or is there another danger lurking in the shadows? ...this might help teach the public to take more time to look and see art. But as I walked and observed people in the exhibition, another thought crossed my mind: many of the young people are so used to staring for hours at a computer screen. Will they think of these pieces simply as just another 'download' or 'upload'? Will attention spans increase or have little affect?

It was good. (While the words are few—I feel great passion in saying them.)

I thought the exhibition was magnificent in concept...but I'm waiting for video to have all the richness in color and detail of the early Renaissance references. I guess we're not there yet.

I have always appreciated the spiritual transcendence of your work. I was quite uncomfortable standing in public (with my students) viewing such voluptuous displays of emotion from actors in contemporary dress. I have found myself thinking about emotion, how I express it, how conditioned I have become from my culture to suppress it. In short, you have challenged and changed my relationship to emotions.

I love making art and I love viewing art that helps me transcend this reality. Emergence and Five Angels for the Millennium do that for me. However, I found...all the other pieces with actors in contemporary dress astonishingly painful to witness.

God. It's beautiful, and so much more than that. When you look at Emergence, your breath comes out short and slow, like you're waiting for something. Then you're left with this incomplete "ending," or you're left thinking you've missed the end...and you want to watch it all over again to find out what you've missed. It really is something.

Walking into Five Angels for the Millennium felt like I was walking into God's boiler room.

I liked some of the older stuff but to me the Passions were a little too bland. Keep working and being fresh.

The exhibition was extraordinarily impressive. I haven't seen art like this before. I went to the Getty Museum last week to see the ancient exhibitions and ended up for hours in front of the Viola pictures. Feelings, moods, and situations can't be better explained than Viola expresses them in his pictures. This artist connects ancient ideas of showing life and emotions with our modern world. He does not change the idea of old masterpieces but the way to show it. The characters on the screens are enormous. I recommended this exhibition to friends and they were so pleased that I did. This was really the best exhibition I saw in the last couple of years!!!

Something is missing.

No Truth but lots of beauty. A technical precision and loveliness that somehow misses the human, somehow rings cold and lifeless. In a word: Passionless.

I watched the video about the making of Viola's Passions. And here I was moved by the almost complete lack of passion emanating from this man even a lack of passion for his own work.

Having said that, I was—still am—moved by a large show I saw of his work at SFMOMA a few years back. This large exhibit offered work of Viola's that was much more complex much less an attempt at cinema and more of an embrace of all that video and museum space allow.

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