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Bill Viola: The Passions

Bill Viola: The Passions

At the Getty, January 24-April 27, 2003


In The Passions, celebrated video artist Bill Viola explores how changing facial expression and body language convey emotional states. This large-scale presentation of 13 recent works, never before seen on the West Coast, features the debut of two new pieces, including a Getty commission. Companion programs and publications, listed below, bring additional insight into the work of the artist.

All events are FREE and are held in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium, unless otherwise noted. Seating reservations are required. For reservations and information, please call 310-440-7300 or visit Tickets are available on-site or by phone.


The Museum's Audioguide includes an exhibition introduction by curator John Walsh, with commentary by Bill Viola. It features the artist's reflections on Getty paintings that inspired him, and contains remarks by award-winning filmmaker Mark Kidel about his documentary on Viola. The Audioguide is available in the Entrance Hall for $3.


Introduction to the exhibition at 1:30 p.m., with optional post-exhibition viewing discussion at 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday-Sunday, beginning February 4. No reservations required.


The Passions: Bill Viola and John Walsh in Conversation
Pioneering video artist Bill Viola and Getty Museum director emeritus John Walsh discuss the exhibition Bill Viola: The Passions, which features works that explore the power and complexity of human emotions. This exhibition presents the Los Angeles debut of 13 works including two new works, one of which was commissioned by the Getty.
Exhibitions Pavilion will be open.
Thursday, January 30, 7:00 p.m. Reservations begin December 23.

Bodies of Light: Peter Sellars and Bill Viola in Conversation
Pioneering video artist Bill Viola and Peter Sellars, world renowned director of opera, theater, and film, discuss the historical sources of Viola's recent work, and the role of the visual arts, theater, and technology in representing the human condition within contemporary society.
Exhibitions Pavilion will be open.
Thursday, February 27, 7:00 p.m. Reservations begin January 25.


Weba Garretson, a singer and performer who has participated in numerous Bill Viola videos, discusses the exhibition.
Friday, March 7, 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. in the Exhibitions Pavilion. Sign up at the Museum Information Desk beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Andreas Deja, a supervising animator at Walt Disney Studios who has been with the studio for more than 20 years, discusses how gesture and facial expression can communicate mood in connection with the exhibition.
Friday, March 21, 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. in the Exhibitions Pavilion. Sign up at the Museum Information Desk beginning at 4:30 p.m.


Bill Viola and Emergence
An original short film, directed by award-winning British filmmaker Mark Kidel, portrays the key stages of the making of Viola's new piece, which was commissioned by the Getty and inspired by a fresco painting of the Pietà by Masolino, the Florentine collaborator of Masaccio. The film explores Viola's sources and influences. The shooting of Emergence is seen in live footage made in the artist's studio, and there are interviews with key contributors, including the artist, actors, and crew members.
Tuesday-Sunday, January 24 through April 27, every 15 minutes beginning on the hour unless otherwise noted, Museum Lecture Hall.


Bill Viola Video Festival
Bill Viola has been creating videotapes and installations for 30 years. This two-day festival features a selection of single-channel works from 1972 to 1994. As well as their presentation in museums and educational institutions, many of these works have been broadcast on television worldwide.
Friday, February 21, 7:00 p.m., Saturday, February 22, 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. Reservations begin January 25.


Gordon Getty Concert
A Light through My Tears: The Music of Hamza el Din
With his transcendent playing, gentle voice, and exquisite compositions, oud/tar master Hamza el Din is acknowledged as the father of modern Nubian music. In a rare Southern California performance, el Din performs his Sufi-inspired music with celebrated musicians: cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, percussionist Ian Dogole, pianist W. A. Mathieu, and vocalist Devi Mathieu.
Saturday, March 22, 8:00 p.m., Tickets: $22; $15 students/seniors

Friday Nights at the Getty
The Shape of Emotion
An evening of discussion and performance featuring Bill Viola and some of the actor/performers who worked with him in creating The Passions. With John Fleck, Weba Garretson, Dan Gerrity, Valerie Spencer, John Hay, and Sarah Steben. As a way of illuminating the process, performers share excerpts from their own work and Viola shows video clips of work studies
Friday, March 28, 7:30 p.m., Reservations begin February 25.


Publications are available in the Getty bookstore, online at, or by calling 800-223-3431.

Bill Viola: The Passions
Edited by John Walsh
The book explores the genesis and meaning of this extraordinary suite of works, and examines the intellectual and spiritual concerns that have preoccupied Viola over the years, forming the foundation of his life's work. Includes essays by Peter Sellars and John Walsh, a conversation between Hans Belting and Bill Viola, sources and notes on the works by Viola, and visual documentation by Kira Perov.
(Cloth: $75.00; Paper: $45.00)

Representing the Passions: Histories, Bodies, Visions
Getty Research Institute Issues & Debates series
Edited by Richard Meyer
In 13 essays, including two visual essays by contemporary artists, this 312-page book traces how our ideas of the passions—of extravagant emotions such as joy, sorrow, fear, and wonder—have both shaped and been shaped by representation, from classical antiquity to the present. (Paper: $40.00)


Between Heaven and Earth: Images of Christ and the Virgin
Part human and part divine, the dual nature of Christ and the Virgin is most pointedly revealed in depictions of their final days, as seen in this exhibition featuring drawings, prints, and illustrated books from the 16th through 18th centuries. The humanity of their pain and suffering is explored in the Agony in the Garden and the Crucifixion; while their divine triumph over mortality is celebrated in the Resurrection and the Assumption of the Virgin. Artists include Federico Barocci, Peter Paul Rubens, and Charles Coypel.
March 18-June 29, 2003


Explore, reflect, and respond. Discover the artist's working methods, learn about the concepts behind his art and more on this interactive Web site.

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Getty Communications Dept.