Jordan Belson  

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
Jordan Belson (born 1926, Chicago, Illinois –) is an American artist and filmmaker who has created nonobjective, often spiritually oriented, abstract films spanning six decades.

Belson studied Abstract Expressionist painting at the University of California, Berkeley. While he was there he saw the "Art in Cinema" screenings at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1946. This screening series inspired Harry Smith and Belson to produce abstract films. His first abstract film Transmutation (1947) involved careful photography of objects, and is different than his later works because of its referential character. Belson's work was screened as part of later "Art in Cinema" series.

He was the recipient of a grant from the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, which later became the Guggenheim (Oskar Fischinger recommended him to the MoNOP curator Hilla von Rebay). Much of his work is meant to evoke a mystical or meditative experience.

In 1957 he began a collaboration with sound artist Henry Jacobs at the Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco, California that lasted until 1959. Together they produced audio-visual lightshows at the Planetarium, the Vortex Concerts, with Belson as visual director programming kinetic live visuals, and Jacobs programming electronic music and audio experiments. This is a direct ancestor of the "laserium" shows that were popular at planetaria later in the century. These shows involved projected imagery, specially prepared films and other optical projections specifically developed for use on the hemispherical screen. Not just an opportunity to develop new visual technologies and techniques, the sound system in the theater enabled Belson and Jacobs to create an immersive environment where imagery could move throughout the entire screen space, and sound could move around the perimeter of the room.

Belson also created special effects for The Right Stuff (1983).

Belson is still making films and fine art today. His latest film "Epilogue" was commissioned for the Visual Music exhibition at the Hirshhorn/Smithsonian, and completed in 2005. It was produced by Center for Visual Music [1] with support from the NASA Art Program. The New York Times described it as having "lush and misty optics".


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