For Immediate Release

NOTE: High-resolution images available

Ellen Jones Pryor: 615.243.1311, ”, ”
Emily Harper: 615.744.3331, ”

ON VIEW FEB. 13–JUNE 7, 2009

NASHVILLE, TENN.—(Jan. 23, 2009)—The Frist Center for the Visual Arts will open Mike Hoolboom: Imitations of Life Friday, Feb. 13 in the Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery. Working on the fringe of contemporary filmmaking, Toronto artist Mike Hoolboom has gained international acclaim for works that poetically explore cultural desires, memories and visions of the future. In dissecting and reconstructing existing films, Hoolboom strives to give new meanings to this visual language, not by adding to it, but by mixing and recycling things already filmed. The artist will discuss his work at an Artist’s Perspective talk Saturday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. at the Frist Center. The exhibition is organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and will be on view through June 7, 2009.

Hoolboom’s ten-part Imitations of Life film, made in 2003, explores the human experience through a convergence of images drawn from mainstream cinema, newsreels and science fiction films. In the three selected segments on view at the Frist Center, Hoolboom shapes a meta-narrative in which the psychological history of the 20th century—its dreams, nightmares, mass delusions and visions for the future—is played back to us in a mix-tape of personal and cultural memories.

The varied footage Hoolboom uses no longer has its original soundtrack. Instead, his film is accompanied by voices—narrators or commentators whose memories and ruminations on humanity’s dark impulses stand in counterpoint to the original intent of the filmmakers, who may have only sought to entertain or instruct, but who have inadvertently captured something disturbing about the human psyche.

“The artificiality of Hoolboom’s montages reminds us that films are not really about life, but about its imitation in a medium that is often mistaken for reality because it perpetuates so many of the same illusions,” says Mark Scala, chief curator at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. “Imitations of Life interweaves the familiar with the exotic, making connections between personal life and the broad sweep of history.”

Hoolboom’s interest in the medium of film began when he was a teenager growing up in a suburb of Toronto, where he began making movies with his father’s Super 8 camera. Hooked on the medium, he went on to study filmmaking at Ontario’s Sheridan College.

While still in school, Hoolboom developed close friendships with other budding filmmakers interested in pushing the boundaries of the medium. He was a co-founder of Pleasure Dome, a film and video group that created a vibrant underground film community in Toronto during the 1980s and 1990s by sponsoring film festivals and late night showings in the city.

Hoolboom’s works, which include more than 50 videos and films, have been shown in more than 300 film festivals worldwide. Twice, in 1993 and 1996, he received the award for best Canadian short film at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Exhibition Sponsor

The 2009 Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery exhibition sponsor is Welling LaGrone and Morgan Keegan.

Related Programs
Saturday, February 14 Artist’s Perspective: Mike Hoolboom
2 p.m.

Join experimental filmmaker Mike Hoolboom as he discusses his work. Hoolboom’s Imitations of Life integrates compelling images drawn from mainstream cinema, newsreels and science fiction films. In it, sequences of deconstructed and recombined imagery, variously haunting and playful, hypnotically cast the cumulative effects of film as a force that shapes our subconscious image of self in relation to the stream of history and the trajectory of humanity.



Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., is an art exhibition center dedicated to presenting the finest visual art from local, regional, U.S. and international sources in a program of changing exhibitions. The Frist Center’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery features more than 30 interactive stations relating to Frist Center exhibitions. Gallery admission to the Frist Center is free for visitors 18 and younger and to Frist Center members. Frist Center admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and military and $6.50 for college students with ID (college students are free Thursday and Friday evenings). Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more with advance reservation by calling 615.744.3246. The Frist Center is open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. and Sundays, 1–5:30 p.m., with the Frist Center Café opening at noon. Additional information is available by calling 615.244.3340 or by visiting our Web site at

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