The Human Condition Media Art from the Kramlich Collection, I

Shannon Jackson

The first of a series of four thematic volumes devoted to the world-class Kramlich Collection, the largest and most significant private collection of modern and contemporary media art including video, film, photography, and performance art. 

How does art respond to contemporary social questions? How especially does media art address the themes that move us most?

The Kramlich Collection of time-based media art—video, film, slides, digital, and performance art is one of the foremost private collections of its kind in the world. Brought together by pioneering collectors Pamela and Richard Kramlich, this unrivalled assemblage includes works by artists such as Marina Abramovic, Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, Dara Birnbaum, Pierre Huyghe, William Kentridge, Steve McQueen, Bruce Nauman, Shirin Neshat, Nam June Paik, and Andy Warhol.

The Human Condition explores these works, which innovate in their hybrid use of sound, image, performance, sculpture, and screen technology to comment on complex political issues: civil war, gender relations, nuclear catastrophe, planetary degradation, and more. The result is a rich survey of pressing social themes viewed through the lens of compelling media art forms.

Edited by Shannon Jackson, this book also features newly commissioned essays from leading curators and scholars including Erika Balsom, Stuart Comer, Adrienne Edwards, Chrissie Iles, Isaac Julien, Barbara London, Mark Nash, and Catherine Wood, among others.

Combining new photography with captivating reflections on some of the most influential art practices of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, The Human Condition presents a fascinating range of works that deeply engage with some of the most urgent questions facing the modern world. 


Shannon Jackson


Shannon Jackson is the Cyrus and Michelle Hadidi Professor of Rhetoric and of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.