Sadie Benning is not only among the country’s most respected and influential video artists, she also broke cultural ground as a founding member of the multimedia feminist band Le Tigre. Suspended Animation, the first monograph on the artist and the catalogue of her first museum exhibition, introduces Benning’s paintings and Play Pause, an ambitious new two-channel video installation. Benning’s videos, which she began making in the late 1980s with a Fisher-Price Pixelvision 2000 toy camera, are known for their explorations of loneliness, alienation, gender ambiguity, and her own developing lesbian identity. Her recent paintings–flat, illustrative, exuberant–are playful imaginary portraits that address similar themes. Play Pause, created entirely from hundreds of Benning’s drawings, offers a rhythmic and affectionate view of contemporary life in a city’s streets, parks, and gay bars. Suspended Animation includes contributions from acclaimed contemporary writers Eileen Myles and Aleksandar Hemon and a conversation between Benning and esteemed New York painter Amy Sillman.

Illustrated with approximately 235 color images and packaged with a DVD of selected videos, Animated Paintingbrings together some of the most compelling recent contemporary art to combine traditional conceptions of painting and drawing with the techniques and time-based elements of animation. As the moving image continues to overwhelm our visual field, artists are using the playful possibilities of time and movement to extend the languages of painting and drawing to literally “animate” them without completely releasing the work of art from the visual codes and conventions of the traditional two-dimensional art object. These artists often wrap their doubts and concerns about society into an aesthetically delightful package, claiming animation techniques for contemporary art, either wholly or as part of a hybrid artistic practice. Animated Paintingfeatures 14 international artists, including Sadie Benning, Jeremy Blake, William Kentridge and Julian Opie.