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Stephen Dean


Not on view



Video installation, color, sound, 7:20 min.

Accession number

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Committee

Rights and reproductions
© 2001 Stephen Dean

Color, exploding into a physical, spatial dimension, is the subject of Stephen Dean’s large-scale video installation Pulse. It was shot in Uttar Pradesh, India, at the annual street festival of Holi, which marks the return of spring and a temporary suspension of caste (or class) barriers and gender hierarchies. Pulse makes no pretense of documentary objectivity; the artist joined a crowd of giddy, ecstatic revelers tossing handfuls of multi-colored pigment into the air and dousing one another’s bodies, and his camera became engulfed in mica glitter and swirling clouds of magenta, blue, and green. Through deft editing, subtle manipulations of the speed of the image, and alternating passages of sound and silence, Dean heightens the viewer’s awareness of the sensuousness and radical disequilibrium of this extraordinary moment. So abstract at times as to become almost painterly, Pulse seeks to propel the viewer into a profound, even metaphysical experience of intense color and space.

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