Stan VanDerBeek

  • Born 1927 in New York, NY, USA
  • Died 1984 in Columbia, MD, USA

Stan VanDerBeek was a pioneering experimental filmmaker. He first studied art and architecture at New York’s Cooper Union, graduating in 1952. He continued his studies at Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina, where he met such crucial influences and collaborators as Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983), John Cage (1912–1992), and Josef Albers (1888–1976). While working on the children’s television show “Winky Dink and You” (broadcast 1953–57), VanDerBeek developed innovative ways for viewers to interact with the show. This experience, and his collaborations with other artists—including Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929), Allan Kaprow (1927–2006), and Merce Cunningham (1919–2009)—led VanDerBeek to experiment with what cinematic theorist Gene Youngblood has called “expanded cinema.” In the 1960s, VanDerBeek worked with computer programmer and physicist Ken Knowlton (b. 1931), at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, to develop the language of computer animation. VanDerBeek taught animation and film at Columbia University (1963–65) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies (1969–70). VanDerBeek’s work was included in the Software exhibition at the Jewish Museum, New York, in 1970. His work was later exhibited at the Whitney Biennial (1983) and the Venice Biennale (2013).

Artworks by Stan VanDerBeek in the exhibition