Glenn McKay

American (Kansas City, Missouri, 1936 - 2010, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico)

Light Projections 1960s-1970s

video installation | video projection on screen, color, with sound, 18 min.
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    Glenn McKay, Light Projections 1960s-1970s, 1965-1970; video projection on screen, color, with sound, 18 min., 144 in. x 192 in. (365.76 cm x 487.68 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Glenn McKay

McKay's work is emblematic of a radical, freedom-seeking philosophy of social change and sensual pleasure that is commonly associated with the 1960s. His pulsating, large-screen installations once functioned as backdrops to amplified, psychedelic music performances (most notably Jefferson Airplane's stage and television appearances).

A painter by training and an innovator in spirit, McKay uses a combination of fugitive and ephemeral materials — transparent inks and dyes, soluble and water-resistant liquids, and oils and pigments applied to translucent surfaces such as 35-millimeter film, transparency slides, film stock, gelatins, and acetates — to create luminous images for projection.

Expanding the capabilities of audiovisual equipment such as the overhead projector and the automatic slide projector, McKay's installations succeed in drawing an ecstatic form of art from the most commonplace machines.

144 in. x 192 in. (365.76 cm x 487.68 cm)
Acquired 1999
Collection SFMOMA
Accessions Committee Fund purchase
© Glenn McKay


popular culture, musicians, light, light shows, colors, slide, projected image, hand painted, projection, psychedelic, Jefferson Airplane, SFMOMA

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