Gerald O'Grady
[b. 1931, Framingham/Massachusetts]

About Gerald O'Grady | Biography | Works in the Exhibition

With his energy, his ambition, and his enthusiasm, Gerald O'Grady made a groundbreaking contribution to the founding and establishment of film- and media-studies in the U.S. He organized many influential conferences about media art [at MoMA in 1974], or participated in them. He initiated research projects, summer academies, and festivals. Proceeding from the conviction that one can only really take part in society if one understands its communication canals and codes, he set himself the project of improving the mediatic competence of all the people within his sphere of influence. In 1973 in Buffalo, he founded three influential institutions: two departments at the State University of New York-the Department for Media Studies [America's first program for media art and sciences], and the Educational Communications Center [a media library that supplied the 128 academic departments with teaching and learning materials]-and the independent Center for Media Studies of Buffalo, available to the general public. Initiated and directed by O'Grady these three institutions initiated and directed by him existed in continual interaction, and conducted a productive exchange of know-how and valuable technical equipment. In his unique position, O'Grady directed an interdisciplinary apparatus that was active within the domain of media- and communication sciences. As a scholar, he devoted himself above all to the realms of film, photography, and video as well as the digital arts, constantly in connection with civil concerns such as education, the civil rights movement, and democracy. For that reason he also edited a large-format newspaper. As an institutional director, he encouraged and supported the general public's access to the media: he made available the necessary equipment, and always emphasized mediatic practice. At the same time, he shared his knowledge via innumerable lectures, workshops, film showings, discussion panels, and festivals. Up into the present, O'Grady has pursued his politically and socially engaged vision of mediatizing the public.