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 Joseph Francis Rees  (20/21st century)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: neon light sculpture and video art, punk rock subjects

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Biography from a third party submitted on 07/03/2008:
Joe Rees was a pioneer in the use of neon in fine art in the early 1970s and a groundbreaking video artist.  His neon sculpture ranged from the depiction of ordinary objects such as tables, chairs, eye glasses and spurs, to 3-D crucifixes, mixed media stalactite-inspired visions and text-based works.

As a video artist, Rees founded Target Video, through which he single-handedly documented the raging Punk Rock scene as it unfolded in San Francisco in the 1970s and early 1980s.  Using one of the earliest portable video backpacks available, Rees shot some of the most entertaining and lasting punk rock footage known, documenting Devo, The Screamers, The Stranglers, Iggy Pop and others.  In some of his most memorable films he staged the bands in curious situations, such as The Cramps at the Napa State Mental Hospital, and the Mutants, Live at the School for The Deaf.

Rees’ video work, which also includes his own experimental films as well as footage of cutting edge performance artists, has been exhibited internationally and shown on MTV.  In 1980, he received the Adaline Kent Award and in 2008 he was included in California Video at the Getty Museum.


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