Art Videen enjoyed his early
childhood on a twenty acre farm in northern Minnesota. Despite the lack of
plumbing and electricity, he was reluctant to move to the Twin Cities
where he graduated from high school and joined the Army. His year in
Vietnam included several hysterical hallucinations that inspired his first
principle “you cannot see what you cannot believe.” He left the Army as a
staff sergeant in the 5th Special Forces. He used the G. I. benefits to
pursue B. F. A. at the University of Minnesota while working the night
shift at Univac Corporation. He married Charlene and had his son, Marc, at
After college, Art moved
west where he sought his Native American relatives and studied the role
they played in his personal evolution, the United States, and the world.
His family’s contact with Europeans started when they were scouts for the
soldiers of Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and entertainers with the Buffalo
Bill Wild West Show. As off-reservation members of the Sisseton-Wahpeton
Sioux, his family became entrepreneurs in the lumber business in Minnesota
and Wisconsin, and masonry construction companies in Oregon and Washington
State. Art became a master mason and moved back to Minnesota where he made
metal sculpture and built stone fireplaces. He set up a studio in a
storefront on Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, where he poured aluminum and
bronze castings. Excesses in the 1970’s forced him into an alcohol
treatment program in 1978 and he has been grateful ever since.
In the early 1980’s, Art
began sharing a large NYC art studio with his friends Don Betts, a
photographer /boat builder, and Martha Antaya, watercolorist. There he
could assemble the metal castings made in Minnesota and market his work in
the city. Art viewed his work as open totems that formed the abstract
patterns of ideas the way a chemist model is used to represent the
molecules in a compound. Often, the easiest way to hold the sculptured
parts in place is to balance the weight of one against the other. Thus,
his sculpture began to have a kinetic quality. Another mechanical
solution to an assembly issue, are the loops that are seen in much of his
work. To Art, the loops immediately took on the meaning of dimensional
bands in space and time. He saw the sculpture as objects suspended within
the bands of space and, therefore, referred to the sculpture as
“suspensions.” Others noticed the anthropomorphic shapes combined with the
technical assemblage and referred to the sculpture as technomorphic . . .
combining anthropomorphic and technical. Technomorphic is a word formed
with the prefix, “techno” which means knowledge or skill and the suffix
“morphic” meaning shape.
Water sports, and sailing in
particular, are Art’s favorite activities so he designed and built a 38
foot catamaran. In November 1995, he set out down the Mississippi River
from St. Paul, Minnesota in the big cat with his son Marc and friends,
headed for Florida. The boat made it to Florida but Art had to leave just
short of Alabama because he was diagnosed with cancer. 1996 was a year
full of radiation, chemo therapy, surgery, prayer, and meditation for Art.
That experience also gave him time to reflect on the events of his life,
and organize his thoughts into a philosophy he calls techno-morphism.
Technomorphism is pragmatism
with the point of view that knowledge shapes matter. For example,
evolutionist believe change is a matter of happenstance, others think
there is some sort of providence directing change, whereas a
technomorphist believes change is brought about through learned events.
Currently, Art is still
sharing NYC space with Don and Martha while designing and fabricating in
Minnesota. Some of his sculpture has opened up to become scaffold like
structures similar to Native American utilitarian and ceremonial
scaffolding. He is now polishing the stainless steel to the look of liquid
and building fountains that reflect a belief in the liquidity of matter.
Through a series of small stainless steel sculpture he calls “Ready Made
Quark’s” he has attached concepts to the abstract and created “Abstract