Biographical Sketch: Bill Viola
Video artist Bill Viola was born January 25, 1951, in New York City.
From his earliest days, he was captivated by television, and in the 5th
grade, at P.S. 20 in Queens, he was named Captain of the "T.V. Squad."
He attended Syracuse University, where he studied in the Experimental
Studios of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and graduated with a
Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1973. After graduation, he studied and
performed with composer David Tudor in the new music group "Rainforest"
(later called "Composers Inside Electronics"). He worked as technical
director in charge of production at Art/Tapes/22, a video studio in
Florence, Italy, from 1974-76, and as Artist-in-residence at WNET
Thirteen Television Laboratory in New York from 1976-83.
Since 1976, he has traveled extensively: to the Solomon Islands in 1976
to record traditional music and dance; to Java, Indonesia, in 1977 to
record traditional performing arts; and that same year to Australia,
where he met Kira Perov, now his wife and managing director. In 1979, he
traveled to Tunisia to videotape mirages, and he lived in Japan from
1980-81 supported by a Japan/U.S. Creative Arts Fellowship, at which time
he was also artist-in-residence at Sony Corporation's Atsugi
He has had well over 30 one-person exhibitions of his work, and has won
numerous prizes and fellowships, including two Visual Artist Fellowships
from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and,
in 1989, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He
was most recently selected to represent the United States at the 1995
Venice Biennial. One of the works created for that exhibition, The
Greeting, is the subject of this segment of A World of Art: Works
A World of
Art Biographical Sketches