Aldo Tambellini, painter, sculptor, photographer, video artist, film-maker and poet was born in Syracuse, New York in 1930. Father from Sao Paolo, Brazil – Mother from Italy. He was taken to Lucca (Tuscany) Italy at the age of 18 months. He was enrolled at the A. Passaglia Art Institute in Lucca, Italy at the age of 10. At 14, Aldo survived an air raid, during WWII, which killed 21 of his neighbors and destroyed his neighborhood. He returned to the United States in ‘46. Awarded a full Art Scholarship at Syracuse University, BFA in Painting, ‘54 and a Teaching Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame, MFA in Sculpture, ’58.
In ‘59, Aldo moved to New York city’s Lower East Side. He founded the underground, “counter-culture” group, “Group Center,” which organized public art events and non-traditional alternative ways to present artists’ work to the community, and other activities to raise the political and artistic consciousness of the public. In ’64 Group Center held probably the first Loft Show in what is now SOHO in NYC.
Tambellini pioneered in the video art movement in the 60’s. In ‘65, he began painting directly on film beginning his “Black Film Series” of which, “Black TV,” won the International Grand Prix, Oberhausen Film Festival, ’69 – now in the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Simultaneously, Tambellini began a series of “Electromedia Performances.” “Black,” a work in progress, organically brought together, projected paintings, film, video, poetry, light, dance, sound and improvisational musicians, culminating with “Black Zero” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music performed in “Intermedia ’68” and again in 2009 for Performa09 at the White Box in NYC. In ’66, he co-founded the Gate Theatre, showing avant-garde and independent films daily. In ‘67, he co-founded with Otto Piene, the Black Gate, the 1st space in NYC for live multi-media (Electromedia) performances and installations. Aldo and Otto Piene created at WDR, Cologne, Germany, and the 1stinternational television broadcast by artists, “Black Gate Cologne,” in ’68.
Selected Museum Exhibitions:
He participated in the following pioneering exhibitions: “Some More Beginnings- Experiments in Art and Technology” Brooklyn Museum in collaboration with Museum of Modern Art, 1968 – 1st museum show of arts and technology.
“Television as a Creative Media,” Howard Wise Gallery, N.Y., N.Y., 1969 – 1stcomprehensive show about TV in a gallery.
“The Medium is the Medium,” WGBH, Boston, MA. – 1stU.S. Broadcast by artists, 1969.
“Vision and Television,” Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA. 1970 – 1stmajor museum video exhibition.
“A Special Video Show,” Whitney Museum, New York, N.Y. 1971-1stvideo show at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York.
“First National Videotape Festival,” Minneapolis Art Institute in collaboration with Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.’72.
“Circuit: A Video Invitational,” Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, N.Y., ’72 – 1stexhibition of video artists traveling to museums and galleries.
From 1976 to 1984, Tambellini was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While at CAVS, he collaborated in many projects and participated in the International “Sky Art Conferences” and the Sao Paolo Biennale ’83, remaining in Brazil almost a year. He was the exchange artist to Paris for the interactive media project, “Interface,” Paris American Center for Artists and CAVS MIT, ‘81. With the concept of “communicationsphere” he organized a series of international, interactive, communication projects leading to the wave of social networking, in some way a precursor of the Internet.
Poetry & Film:
As a poet, he is widely published – performing in countless public readings. He produced an anti-war digital film with his poetry, “LISTEN” in 2005. This film won First Place in the “Short Experimental Film by an Independent Filmmaker” at the New England Film Festival in ‘05 and at the Syracuse International Film Festival in ‘06. In ‘07, Aldo was awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from Syracuse University at the ‘07 Syracuse International Film Festival. The same year he received the Keys to the City of Cambridge from Mayor Ken Reeves in recognition of his contribution to the cultural environment of the City.