Michael J. Masucci is an award-winning experimental media producer, video-artist, writer, curator, educator and musician.
Currently, Masucci serves as a Commissioner on the Santa Monica Arts Commission, on the Board of Directors of the Santa Monica Arts Foundation and as a Committee Member of the Santa Monica Public Art Committee.
Masucci, was a founding member of the video art group and alternative theater/gallery space EZTV, and along with computer art historian Patric Prince, created CyberSpace Gallery, one of the world’s first art galleries dedicated to digital art.
Collaborations for which Masucci has served in a principal role have been exhibited internationally, at venues such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Institute of Contemporary Art (London), and the American Film Institute (Los Angeles), on commercial television as well as in festivals, galleries conferences and universities.
In 2011, Masucci’s early video art work “Standing Waves” was included in the Getty Museum and Research Center’s massive 60-venue exhibition “Pacific Standard Time” (PST). Additionally, he moderated a panel of leading Feminist Performance Artists, and organized a five-part series of live events, screenings and panel discussions, “Hacking the Timeline v2.0”, as part of PST. The intent of PST is to present in a scholarly manner, the pivotal role that key Los Angeles artists played, post-WW2, in the development of today’s worldwide contemporary art movements.
Below is a clip of Masucci during a panel discussion as part of PST:
As a curator, Masucci has staged many dozens of exhibitions and has shown literally hundreds of artists, including many of the pioneers of digital art. His work with noted philosopher/psychologist Dr. Timothy Leary, included a series of live EZTV multimedia performance events- “How to Operate Your Brain”. His other exhibitions include a wide range of artists, filmmakers and thinkers, including Jean Luc-Goddard, Robert Altman, gay activist Michael Kearns and performance artist Johanna Went.
Fostering “Artist-run Philanthropy”, he has given free use of his exhibition space to a variety of activities ranging from the Los Angeles Psychological Association, to numerous young independent artists.
His work with California Lawyers for the Arts resulted in his film work being awarded a prestigious Cine Golden Eagle, for his production/direction of the PSA “Art Makes Us Human”. He was named twice to A/V Video Producers Magazine’s “Top 100 Producers”, as well as other awards. Grants for which Masucci was a principal collaborator include awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the California Arts Council. Commissions include the Durfee Foundation and the Cultural Affairs Departments of the County as well as the City of Los Angeles and the City of Santa Monica. He and EZTV are currently commissioned by the City of Los Angeles to create a series of video art documentaries on international artists in Los Angeles. He recently completed his role as producer and photographer on the documentary “LA Woman”, as well as completed his role as co-director (with Kate Johnson) and co-writer (with Esther Kiss) of the video art project “Double Take”.
Earlier in his career, Masucci served as a cinematographer for the Lannon Literary Series, a 32-part series of historical one-hour interview documentaries, directed by Lewis Macadams and John Dorr, on many of the leading living writers and poets of the time, including Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize literary giants . This series is in the collection of many university libraries and appeared on television in Chicago and LA. Masucci also served as Associate producer and Film Editor for the critically acclaimed documentary on filmmaker Robert Altman- “Luck, Trust & Ketchup”, which appeared on the BBC, as well as on BRAVO.
His directorial stage work in the 1990’s, include an authorized production of the play version of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. More recently, he was asked to direct one of the finalists in the Promenade Playhouse’s New Plays Festival.
His recent musical efforts include guest performances on stages with legendary performance artist Barbara T. Smith, pop artist Kate Crash , and multimedia artist Kate Johnson, Over the years he has composed original scores for Donna Sternberg & Dancers, Zina Bethune & Dancers, and throughout the 1980’s in the performance art/media duo Vertical Blanking.
Masucci’s work has been profiledin a variety of media, including on PBS and the Discovery Channel, as well as in a variety of print media, including the Los Angeles Times, Variety, Artweek and the Hollywood Reporter. His original video art work has been critically acclaimed in a variety of print media, including the LA Weekly, and is in collections including the Institute of Contemporary Art, London.
Masucci’s writings have appeared in the SIGGRAPH Journal, Computer Graphics Magazine, the Independent Film & Video Monthly, and in several books, including the seminal “CyberArts-Exploring Art & Technology” (edited by Linda Jacobsen) as well as writing the foreword to “Going Digital”.
Massuci’s earliest professional career (in the mid-late 1970’s) was in the New York photographic industry, where he served most notably, as a photo-muralist at Modernage Photographics, working on museum-level projects for photographers, such as Richard Avedon’s historical “Southwest Project”.
Masucci has a long-standing history as a social activist and over the years has served on the boards of directors of a number of community-oriented cultural institutions, including Fringe Festival/Los Angeles, Avaz International Dance Theater, Highways Performance Space, as well as on the arts advisory board of the LA Free Clinic. He collaborated with the Emmy-award winning group of environmental filmmakers Earth Alert.
He has served as a judge and/or judging panelist to a number of grants and awards, including the American Film Institute, SONY, City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, National/State/County Partnership, 18th Street Arts Center, and for over a decade, as a judge for the Roy Dean Film Awards.
He has taught Digital Media at the Otis College of Art & Design, as well as having guest lectured at CalTech, UCLA, University of Helsinki (Finland), Changchun Film Studios (China), Parsons School of Design, University of Southern California, the Institute of Contemporary Art (London), University of Arizona, the American Film Institute, Claremont College, School of Visual Arts (New York), Santa Monica College as well as the major conferences in the field of digital art, including SIGGRAPH, DV Expo, Internet World, ShowBiz Expo, and the Global Entertainment & Media Summit.
Below is a clip of Masucci addressing the H+ Conference at CatTech:
And an additional clip from his talk at Parsons, New School University:
Masucci’s earliest career achievements include his tenure at Modernage Photographics, working a a master exhibition mural printer for numerous world-class photographic projects, including the printing of the mural version of Richard Avedon’s Dimona with Elephants, for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Masucci is also trained as a mediator and is a member of the Southern California Mediation Association, and has a J.D., receiving four CALI Awards in the legal fields of Environmental Law, Professional Responsibility, Remedies, and Business Organizations.
Here is a collection of press quotes from Masucci’s early video period.