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Lincoln Schatz: The Network part 3

Video portraits of American leadership 

THE NETWORK includes 89 video portraits by pioneer media artist Lincoln Schatz that are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.. The portraits offer a stunning and unique portrayal of contemporary American leadership and innovation representing government, business, science, technology and culture. Schatz gives voice to the stories of those searching for solutions to intractable national and international problems.

Streaming Museum has selected for online exhibition 19 video art portraits that are relevant to the contemporary themes it is exploring: Part 1- Improving the lives of women, children and workers, peace and civil rights, harnessing the power of technology to connect people Part 2- The environment, health and science, economic and social challenges Part 3- Creative problem solving, the transforming power of the arts and education, and bridging cultures

The artist’s process: Filming each portrait via multiple cameras during a forty-five minutes conversation, Schatz captured his sitters as they discussed their legacies, accomplishments, and aspirations. Working with this footage Schatz used custom software that constantly recombined the video based on the topic  – the heart of what he refers to as “the generative portrait” process – and enabled him to create a dynamic, continuously evolving representation of the similarities and differences between the sitters, free of editorial input.

Part 3: Leaders working in the areas of creative thinking and the arts, education, cultural understanding, creative problem solving


“We are no longer a manufacturing economy. We are a creative economy. Business leaders will tell you that they need a workforce that can think, problem solve, be creative. What better way than the arts to start exercising those muscles in children?” President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Michael M. Kaiser has built a career rehabilitating troubled performing arts organizations. He shares his lessons through such programs as Arts in Crisis and publications that include The Art of the Turn Around: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations.


“Art is as important to us as eating, breathing, sleeping, shelter, and health care. When you talk about a fully engaged human being, you’re also talking about an aesthetic element, a sense of the quality of your life. Art is central to that.”

Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Rocco Landesman’s career has been a hybrid of commercial and artistic endeavors. At the NEA, he has sought to increase collaboration among the arts and other government agencies. He is interested in the intersection of the arts and the “real world.”


“At the National Endowment for the Humanities, I have tried to put an emphasis on bridging cultures through programs that cause us to have greater understanding of ourselves and others and how we relate to each other.” After serving in Congress from 1976 to 2006, Jim Leach taught at Princeton and Harvard and now serves as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Heading an institution that advances perspectives in history, literature, and philosophy, he has launched a variety of programs designed to bridge cultural differences.


“I am focused on the possibilities the visual arts can have on cultural diplomacy. Art is a universal language that can and should have an impact on the way America is viewed.” A businesswoman and political activist, Beth Dozoretz recently completed a fellowship at Harvard focusing on international relations and innovation in education. She serves as director of Art in Embassies for the US Department of State, which uses art as a means to open communication and cultural connections between people.


“We live in a world today in which religion has become the focus and the core of discussion. Interfaith work is very important to me because I want to see how people utilize their faith and their belief system in advancing the human project — that is, helping humankind.”

Imam Mohamed Magid is president of the Islamic Society of North America and imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society. As a religious leader, he has stressed the importance of public service and interfaith collaboration in addressing the challenges faced by Muslim Americans in the wake of September 11.


“What you’re beginning to see is an ecosystem change. I am looking to figure out where the nexus between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors come together and how to blur the boundaries between them. Why shouldn’t we push those boundaries out and look for new ways to solve old problems?”

Economist Sonal R. Shah has focused on developing innovative strategies to fuel international economic development. She helped develop a currency for Bosnia and led Google’s philanthropic Global Development Initiatives. She directed the White House’s Office on Social Innovation and Civic Participation from 2009 to 2011.


“I spend a lot of my time trying to figure out how we preserve what is most important about the core of education and making sure it never becomes simply a product, that the spirit of education is something that actually, as they say, lights the flame within the student.”

Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement for the Department of Education James H. Shelton III is dedicated to enhancing American education through the increased application of new technologies to the classroom and beyond. To realize this goal, he focuses on improving the systems through which education is evaluated and managed.


Lincoln Schatz is a contemporary American artist living in Chicago, Illinois. He is best known for his pioneering works that create portraits of people, places, and processes utilizing video and software to collect, store, and display images.

Work by Lincoln Schatz has been exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; bitforms gallery, New York and Seoul; CONNERSMITH., Washington, DC; Armory Show, New York; Hearst Tower, New York; 21c, Cincinnati; Sundance Film Festival, Utah; Think 21 Contemporary, Brussels; PULSE, Miami; ARCO, Madrid; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; Gallery Simon, Seoul; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla.

His work is held in numerous international public and private collections including, US Dept. of State; Art Institute of Chicago; Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery; Hearst Corporation; San Jose Museum of Art; Glatzova & Co., Prague; Cafritz Collection, Washington, DC; Fundación Privada Sorigué, Lleida; Runnymede Sculpture Farm, Woodside; Ernesto Ventos Omedes, Barcelona; Fidelity Investment, Boston; and W Hotel, Seoul.

Interview by curator, Warren Perry, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery


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