Steve Beck Profile

Contact Stephen Beck

Please send an email

Additional Information

Smithsonian Institute American Art Museum Interview
(By John Hanhardt Video Curator with Greg Zinman 2014)

National Center for Experiments in Television
(Designed and Administered by Don Hallock of Hawaii - Mahalo Don!)

NTT Hive Video Interview with Steve Beck
(Video interview at Casa Beck Studio with Japanese and English Languages)

Electronic "polymediast" Stephen Beck has been sculpting video and multimedia works with electrons since the pre-digital era in 1967. Beck's video works have been broadcast on PBS-TV and on international television networks, and are in collections of major art museums worldwide.

His video performances, compositions, and sculptures have been acquired by both private collectors as well as major art museums worldwide. Commissions for Beck's prolific range of artistic creations have led to presentations at renowned art events, including ARTEC in Nagoya, Japan, Documenta, Kassel, German, 10e Biennale de Paris, the Kwang Ju Biennale in Korea, and Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, as well as in exhibits ranging from the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Zagreb, Croatia, to the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, The Getty Center "California Video: A History" the Smithsonian Hirshhorn "Visual Music", MCASD, and others.

In 2016 The Smithsonian American Art Museum acquired two of Beck’s classic video film fusion works, UNION and CYCLES, for its permanent collection of The Moving Image. (CYCLES was a collaboration between Jordan Belson and Beck.)

Beck's work has been recognized with artist's grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Film Institute. The artist was invited to present his work at the series, "Conversations with Contemporary Artists," at the Museum of Modern Art New York. Earlier in his career, from 1970 to 1974, Beck was an electronic video artist in residence at the Public Television System's National Center for Experiments in Television at KQED-TV in San Francisco.

Beck’s films and videos have been honored with awards including the Prix Italia, the CINE Gold Eagle, commissions from HIH Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, Japan, and HRH Crown Prince Toupoutoa, Kingdom of Tonga, The Rockefeller Foundation, The American Film Institute (AFI), and The National Endowment for the Arts, among others.

The artist holds degrees in electronic engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, and studied electronic music and composition with composer John Cage at the University of Illinois, Urbana. He was a founding member of the Chicago chapter of EAT (Experiments in Art and Technology) in 1968.

Mr. Beck served on the faculty of the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, from 2005-2013 in various appointed positions; Visiting Fellow (a Jolly Good One!) in EECS, Appointed Lecturer and Executive in Residence, Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, CITRIS Technology Artist in Residence, Guest Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), mentor to students in engineering and other fields of study. His Art and Technology classes (IEOR 190F) served hundreds of students the years he was teaching them.


Filmography / Videography (partial listing of classic works – others remain unpublished):

  • Prextaphia (1969)
  • Point of Inflection (1970)
  • Conception (1971)
  • Cosmic Portal (1972)
  • Methods (1972)
  • Videospace Electronic Notebooks (1973 – National Television Broadcasts on PBS Network USA)
  • Illuminated Music Series (1972-1973)
  • Anima (1973)
  • Dance of Shiva (1972 – Live performance at The Electric Concert, Dallas, Texas)
  • Video Weavings (1974)
  • CYCLES (1974 – co-directed with Jordan Belson)
  • Video Visionaries (1976 – National Broadcast on PBS Network USA)
  • UNION (1976 – National Endowment for the Arts)
  • Voodoo Chile (1982 – Jimi Hendrix Music Video)
  • The Lone Breaker (1984 – SIGGRAPH Art Show Award)
  • Solaris Series Videons (1994-2012)
  • NOOR (Light) Series Preamble (2008) NOOR (Light) Part 1 of a Trilogy (2011)


Where to view Steve Beck Video: