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Kate Horsfield and

Lyn Blumenthal


Kate Horsfield. Courtesy of the artist and Video Data Bank, SAIC. From New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts.

“Lyn Blumenthal saved money from driving a taxi to buy one of the early Porta-pak recorders in the fall of 1973. After a few false starts, Lyn and I began our project of interviewing artists with a short video of Marcia Tucker, curator at the Whitney Museum, who was lecturing on women artists at Artemisia Gallery in Chicago, in 1974. Tucker encouraged us to also interview Joan Mitchell and Ree Morton, who were exhibiting at the Whitney that year. After these interviews, we drove to New Mexico to interview Agnes Martin.

After completing graduate school, Lyn and I were both hired to manage a small collection of in-house video tapes called the Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Between 1974 and 1985, we produced over 92 video interviews with artists, photographers and critics. These tapes are still in distribution through art programs in colleges, universities and cultural institutions across the United States. The Horsfield Blumenthal collection was added to the On Art and Artists Collection of over 400 video interviews produced by the Video Data Bank, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.”
–Kate Horsfield, 2022


Kate Horsfield is an American artist whose work focused on video art and video documentation. She is also an author and educator. She is best known for co-founding SAIC's Video Data Bank in 1976, an international video art distribution organization with Lyn Blumenthal. Lyn Blumenthal (1949-1988) was an American video artist and writer. She and Kate Horsfield co-founded the Video Data Bank in 1976. Her 1984 video ‘Arcade', in collaboration with Carole Ann Klonarides and the painter Ed Paschke, was included in the 1989 touring exhibition 'Making Their Mark: Women Artists Move into the Mainstream, 1970-1985'. One of her final projects released in 1987 is a six-part collection of interviews of women artists entitled 'What Does She Want?' Blumenthal died on July 21, 1988, in Manhattan, New York City. In her honor, the Video Data Bank created the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund to support artists in the media arts.

Arcade, 1984, 4:3 color video, 00:09:35. “The syntactic structure and lateral movement of Arcade match its fairground equivalent. The work includes a series of images recycled from television and film, interspersed with location footage of Chicago El stations and punctuated with paintings created by Ed Paschke on a computerized paint box. Flashing insights and lights, the ready-made imagery presents a sideshow of current concerns playing on the slippage between the televised and the real” (Kirshner 1984). Courtesy of the artist and Video Data Bank, SAIC.


Marcia Tucker (1940–2006) was an influential curator, writer, and art historian known for founding the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. Canadian born Agnes Martin (1912–2004) moved to the United States in 1931 and lived in Taos, New Mexico, from 1954 to 1957, where she established herself as an important minimalist painter and a friend and contemporary of Georgia O’Keeffe. Joan Mitchell (1925–1992), a native Chicagoan who migrated to New York City, was a second-generation abstract painter, printmaker, and essential member of the abstract expressionist movement. 

Details from: Marcia Tucker 1974: An Interview, Agnes Martin 1974: An Interview, and Joan Mitchell 1974: An Interview. Conducted by Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield. Images copyright of the artists, courtesy of the Video Data Bank, SAIC.


video art and documentation

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