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Screenings and Events / Aurora Award Dinner

Aurora Picture Show Award Dinner

13th Annual Aurora Award Honoring Bill Viola

October 5, 2013, 6-10PM
Event Chairs: Michael Landrum and Pepper Paratore
Location: Aurora Picture Show, 2442 Bartlett Street

Aurora Picture Show will present the 13th annual Aurora Award to Bill Viola. Aurora Picture Show's Aurora Award Dinners are unparalleled events honoring some of the most significant media artists of our time. The Aurora Award is an honor given to an artist who has exhibited extraordinary originality in the fields of media and multimedia art.  This event is also the most important annual fundraiser or Aurora, providing the foundation of support for the next season of screening events, in addition to funding our education programs.  Aurora is honored to have Michael Landrum and Pepper Paratore as co-chairs of the event. 

In addition to Bill Viola in attendance at the event, he will be joined by his partner and collaborator; Kira Perov.  As executive director of Bill Viola Studio, she has worked closely with Bill Viola,  managing, creatively guiding and assisting with the production of all of his videotapes and installations.
As recently described by Art in America, "Bill Viola is the leading artist for enacting transcendent spiritual experience through his video images that break the borderline of still photos and moving pictures. For over 40 years, Viola has been vital in establishing video as a crucial contemporary art form while expanding its scope in terms of content, style, technology and historical reference. With his interests in Eastern and Western art and spiritual traditions-Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism and Christian mysticism-Viola's work focuses on the life cycle and sensory perception."
As part of the event, Aurora will screen a selection of works by Viola, including an excerpt of a new piece called The Dreamers (2013) and The Raft (2004). This will be the Texas premiere of The Dreamers, which will be shown in a projected viewing presentation. The Dreamers depicts seven individuals submerged underwater at the bottom of a streambed. Their eyes are closed and they appear to be at peace. Water ripples across their bodies, subtly animating their movements. The sound of running water permeates the space as dreams filter through the room.

In addition to this piece, the evening will also feature a montage of works to be screened after the award presentation.  And then closing with a screening of The Raft (May 2004).  This piece shows a group of men and women from various ethnic and economic backgrounds waiting in line. Suddenly they are struck by a massive onslaught of water that knocks over some, as others brace themselves and fight for survival. Water flies everywhere, clothing and bodies are pummelled, faces and limbs contort in stress and agony against the cold, hard force. Then, as suddenly as it arrived, the water stops, leaving behind a band of suffering, bewildered, and battered individuals.

Each year Aurora's Curator Mary Magsamen selects a Texas-based artist to create an art piece representative of the Aurora Award.  This year Allison Hunter will create a piece that will be presented to Bill Viola during the award presentation at the dinner.  Allison Hunter is a visual artist who over the past twenty years has worked in photography, video, drawing, sculpture, and installation.

Bill Viola will sign a limited number of books, including "The Art of Bill Viola" by Chris Townsend, "Bill Viola: Reflections" by Maria Sossai and "Five Angels: Bill Viola im Gasometer" by Jeanette/Wolfgang Volz Schmitz, which will be available for bidding in a silent auction at the event.

Bill Viola (b.1951) is internationally recognized as one of today’s leading artists. He has been instrumental in the establishment of video as a vital form of contemporary art, and in so doing has helped to greatly expand its scope in terms of technology, content, and historical reach. For 40 years he has created videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces, and works for television broadcast. Viola’s video installations—total environments that envelop the viewer in image and sound—employ state-of-the-art technologies and are distinguished by their precision and direct simplicity. They are shown in museums and galleries worldwide and are found in many distinguished collections. His single channel videotapes have been widely broadcast and presented cinematically, while his writings have been extensively published, and translated for international readers. Viola uses video to explore the phenomena of sense perception as an avenue to self-knowledge. His works focus on universal human experiences—birth, death, the unfolding of consciousness—and have roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism. Using the inner language of subjective thoughts and collective memories, his videos communicate to a wide audience, allowing viewers to experience the work directly, and in their own personal way.

Since the early 1970s Viola’s video art works have been seen all over the world. Exhibitions include Bill Viola: Installations and Videotapes, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1987; Bill Viola: Unseen Images, seven installations toured six venues in Europe, 1992-1994, organized by the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Kira Perov. Viola represented the U.S. at the 46th Venice Biennale in 1995 with Buried Secrets, a series of five new installation works. In 1997 the Whitney Museum of American Art organized Bill Viola: A 25-Year Survey that included over 35 installations and videotapes and traveled for two years to six museums in the United States and Europe. In 2002 Viola completed his most ambitious project, Going Forth By Day, a five part projected digital “fresco” cycle, his first work in High-Definition video, commissioned by the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin and the Guggenheim Museum, New York. Bill Viola: The Passions, a new series inspired by late medieval and early Renaissance art, was exhibited at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles in 2003 then traveled to the National Gallery, London, the Fondación “La Caixa” in Madrid and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. One of the largest exhibitions of Viola’s installations to date, Bill Viola: Hatsu-Yume (First Dream) (2006-2007), drew over 340,000 visitors to the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. In 2007 nine installations were shown at the Zahenta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; and Ocean Without a shore was created for the 15th century Church of San Gallo during the Venice Biennale. In 2008 Bill Viola: Visioni interiori, a survey exhibition organized by Kira Perov, was presented in Rome at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni.

Attendees to the intimate Aurora Award Dinner are treated to a catered meal, a video screening of exclusive works from the artist, and a brief award ceremony.  Tickets start at $350.  Attire is casual cocktail. For more information on the Aurora Award event and to purchase tickets, please visit

Special thanks to Carrithers Studio, City Kitchen Catering,  Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, Papercity Magazine, Saint Arnold Brewery, Saint Cloud Boutique and Sparrow Bar + Cookshop for their support of this event.

Past Aurora Award honorees include Laurie Simmons (2012), Joan Jonas (2011), Christian Marclay (2010), Doug Aitken (2009), Steina and Woody Vasulka (2007), Miranda July (2006), Isaac Julien (2005), Ant Farm (2004), Laurie Anderson (2003), William Wegman (2002), and Tony Oursler (2001).  Check out images and a recap of the 2012 Aurora Award HERE.

Related Files

Aurora Award 2013 Underwriter Form (pdf)
Download and fax to 713.868.2104, email to or call 713.868.2101.

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