Gerd Stern is a poet and multimedia artist with experience in both film and video. He has published several books of poetry including “First Poems and Others” 1952, “Afterimage” 1965, a serigraphed selection with drawings by David Weinrib “Conch Tales” in 1984, and a chap book “Fragmeants” in 2002. His oral history was published by the University of California (ROHO) Berkeley in 2002 and is available on line and in hard cover..
A founder of the nineteen-sixties media arts collaborative USCO, Stern’s first show of electronic sculptures and collages was at Alllen Stone Gallery in 1962. In 1963 his one person exhibit at San Francisco Museum of Art featured a first multi-media performance “Who R U & What’s Happening” which was also performed at the University of British Columbia with a lecture by Canadian media philosopher Marshall McLuhan -with whom Stern was associated for a number of years.
Stern taught communications and media at Harvard University’s School of Education and at the University of California’s Santa Cruz campus in the 1970’s. He acted as a consultant to the Rockefeller Foundation’s Art Program, and was for many years a panel member in video and film for the New York State Council on the Arts. He consulted and produced for the National Endowment on the Arts and was a director of Planning Corporation for the Arts, a trustee of America The Beautiful Fund and Chairperson of the Woodstock Artists Association.
USCO’s work, and Stern’s own work, has been shown in museums and galleries in the U.S. and abroad including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum as well as the Abbemuseum von Eindhoven in Holland and Vienna’s Museum Moderner Kunst. USCO’s and Stern’s work was featured on two LIFE magazine covers, many publications and books on the art of the period
Three of his video art pieces, “NO OW NOW”, “Teleportraits” and “Artists. Babies, Bodies” were produced at Boston’s WGBH Experimental Television Workshop and broadcast nationally on public television.
In March of 2005 Anthology Film Archives in New York presented retrospective performances of six pieces of Stern’s and USCO’s multi-image works and in May of that year the Tate Museum, Liverpool, exhibited a number of USCO environments and electronic works in their “Summer of Love” exhibition, which traveled to Frankfurt’s Schirn Museum, Vienna’s Kunsthalle opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art summer of 2007. In summer of 2008 several works by USCO and Stern were included in the Centre Georges Pompidou’s 30th anniversary exhibition, “Traces du Sacre” opened at Munich’s “Haus der Kunst” Septemberof 2008.
A new volume, “From Counterculture to Cyberculture”by Professor Fred Turner, University of Chicago Press features USCO and Stern’s work as does Alastair Gordon’s “Spaced Out published by Rizzoli 2008.. Currently, under a foundation grant, Stern and an intern are organizing a substantial archive, spanning a period from the 1950’s through the present. Three parties, the Getty Research Institute, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley have indicated interest in the acquisition of these archival materials, represented by McWhinnie and Horowitz, NYC.
Since 2007 Stern and Judith Sokoloff, the long term editor of Na’Amat Woman Magazine have been assembling work from Israel, The United States and globally for an anthology titled, “Hag Sameach Poems for the Jewish Holidays..” they have collected several hundreds of poems from contemporary and traditional sources and publication by Pleasure Boat Press is scheduled for 2013
During the past few years Stern was artist in residence for DAAD in Berlin, Germany and at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha Nebraska. He read poems and exhibited collages both at the DAAD gallery in Berlin ,Thiess gallery in Munich and at the Bemis Center and the Omaha Library in Omaha. His work was also exhibited at the Ramapo College galleries in New Jersey.
Recent readings of Stern’s poems “Await and Aware” with guitar by Paul Gregory took place at New York City’s “The Stone” as well as a presentation of video effects transformations “Moires on Moires” at New York City’s Optosonic Tea series. A libretto for the opera, “Psyche and Delia” on the psychedelic era, is in process with collaborator Ed Rosenfeld and composer Mark Moebius . A cycle of poems, “Statemeants” was read at the Woodstock Museum, New York. Gerd Stern was an artist in residence at the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice summer of 2010 where hewrote a series of Venetian Cantos poemlets, word collaged bilingually eight Carneval masks in English and Italian and videoed wall, pavement and door fragments which he is editing with San Paolo Basilica church bell sound. He is also working toward the publication of four edited CD’s of 1973 interviews he recorded with Huey P. Newton of the Black Panthers and is preparing a manuscript of unpublished poems from the past two decades.
In January of 2011 Gerd was invited to jury for the Ernesto de Sousa Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal, where he also performed at zdb with Katherine Liberovskya and Phill Niblock and read and sang at Bar Muv. And, the Winter issue of CAA’s Art Journal has a twenty page, profusely illustrated article on USCO by Michel Orin titled, “Getting Out of Your Mind to Use Your Head.” Summer of 2011 “New Yorker Kunst Geschichten” by Kat Schuetz published by Verlag fuer Moderne Kunst, Nuernberg includes a twenty five page chapter about Gerd Stern and hhis work. An exhibition of Gerd’s collage poetry and a series of silkscreened poems with brush work by Thea Herold, “Into the Mind Fire” opened at NYU’s Deutsches House Gallery in December of 2011. More recently he lectured at ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany and participated in a Mcluhan conference weekend at the University of Pennsylvania and will install USCO work at Seville’s Museo de Arte Contemporaneo opening July 2012.
Image: Gerd Stern, Tutti Frutti, film still