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.
Michael J. Masucci, Founding Member and Director of EZTV since 1979
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.
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.
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.
As moderator for a panel discussion at CrossRoads School, Michael J. Masucci shares opening remarks about early EZTV and desktop digital video history. Part of Pacific Standard Time's 2011 COLAB exhibition, curated by Alex Donis at 18th Street Arts Center, sponsored by the Getty Museum and Research Institute. Video documentation by Kate Johnson.
Michael J. Masucci on Mediating the Transition: Can art minimize a at Humanity+ @ Caltech 2010.
Masucci argues that artists continue to be among the best voices for introducing a reluctant and often suspicious public to the great steps in cultural evolution that stand before us. This lecture about the inter-relationship between the arts and sciences presents a 'call to arts, not arms' for thinkers of any discipline, to work together to overcome the growing bias of fear, doubt and ignorance.
Titled "Hackers, the Media, Truth, Trust & Alternative Facts", this 1 hour and 48 minute video clip of various dates was held at "Hack in Paris 2017".
With: Michael J. Masucci, Deral Heiland, Annie Machon
Moderator: Winn Schwartau
"To Serve Man AI, Machine Learning & Deep Learning in Security" by Winn Schwartau, Michael J. Masucci, and Gregory Carpenter.
Michael Masucci delivers a talk titled "Brain Bursts of Arts and Sciences" at the Humanity Plus Post-Pandemic Summit, July 7, 2020.
During the height of print journalism, EZTV received a good deal of press coverage. In the 1980′s and 1990′s Michael J. Masucci received both local and national attention in a wide variety of mainstream, tech-specific and art-specific media:
“That (Jack) Valenti and EZTV foundation director Michael Masucci should be reinforcing each other’s arguments about budgetary propriety is a jaw dropper in itself, even if they don’t necessarily agree on the means of achieving said propriety. Certainly Masucci’s idea that using digital media for all aspects of production (not just effects and set pieces) has immediate applications for animation, feature or otherwise, where the experimentation phase can be utilized in the name of budget reduction in a way that can’t yet be done with live action." - John Voland
On Production (a Variety Publication)
“media revolutionary with digital panache, demonstrating how Hollywood production values can be achieved using today’s desktop technology” - Top 100 Producers Award, AV Video and Multimedia Producer
“media artist and visionary Michael Masucci… the director of EZTV Foundation, a not-for-profit multimedia center, is widely known as a pioneering media artist, but he’s also been teaching filmakers cost-cutting techniques since 1984.” - David Fiedler, internet.com
“His ‘guerilla’ videotapes have been hailed by publications ranging from the L.A. Weekly and the L.A. Times to the trade papers Hollywood Reporter and Variety. An arts activist and musician, Michael divides his time between producing original works, judging tapes for contests and grants, and curating the EZTV Gallery.”
- Linda Jacobson, (From the Book) CyberArts-Exploring Art and Technology
“He is a person who looks into the future and takes action to make it happen…It can be postulated that in the years to come we will see Masucci’s visions come true one way or another.”
- Oiva Knuuttila, Tekniikan Nakoalat (Translated from Finnish by the author)
“a big-picture guy concerning video and multimedia in an art context.” - Miles Beller, Artweek
“With a clear chronology of work, it’s evident that affordable technology was able to radically reshape the aesthetic vision.” - Austin Bunn, Wired.com
“There is a place where dance and technology can coexist harmoniously and create beautiful moves together…Masucci and Bethune use technology as a means to an end, a tool to express a point, to get the message across. They understand that technology featured as the principal performer will soon wear out its novelty and star quality.”
- Discovery Channel International
“Video artist Michael Masucci-scruffy, intense, cerebral.” - Jody Leader, Daily News
” phenomenal…the artists also had the opportunity to hear from moderator and videographer Michael Masucci of EZTV who offered his technical expertise. His suggestions for tactics he has used to produce videos on a shoe string budget were both reassuring and inspiring.” - Nola Mariano, California Arts Council
“His affinity for the visual arts had already been nurtured through his job at Modernage Photographics in New York…The company’s client list ranged from giant corporations to famed artists like Richard Avedon..But Masucci’s aesthetic is at odds with the narrative stories and Hollywood film values…He prefers interpretive collaborations with performance artists, dancers and actors looking to stretch themselves.” - Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times
About Some of Michael Masucci’s Productions:
Dschungel!, “This is very much state-of-the art LA alternative filmmaking, radically edited”
- Rodger Clark, The (London) Independent
Killer Apps, “a demonstration of the power of artistic vision”
- Robert Gelman, Live Netcast, 10th Anniversary Digital Be-In
“striking and original, “Deposition” combines surreal imagery and haunting narrative to evoke the experience of post-abduction trauma-and, daringly, relates it to the UFO experience.” - Kevin Thomas, L.A. Times
“Deposition presents a surprisingly poetic condensation of various UFO-abductee experiences”
- Greg Stacy, OC Weekly
“Far from hysterical, it’s eerie and often visually poetic” - Mark Chalon Smith, LA Times (Orange County)
“Weekend Pick.” - Elmer Dills, KABC-TV
“I was really impressed with this…it could be used not just in video organizing and exhibition, but to raise consciousness about issues relating to mental illness and to women, and to empowerment.”
- Arian Manov, KPFK
Galileo, Jupiter, Apollo The video artistry of Michael Masucci is as beautiful as it is poignant and intentionally disturbing.”
- Joseph Rosen, Daily Breeze
Theater of Dreams, “Knows how to harness the raw energy of video with imagery, editing and a haunting soundtrack that makes a memorable statement.”
- Mary Beth Crane, LA Weekly
” Pick of the Week…Museum level.” - Peter Frank, L.A. Weekly
“Fast Art for an Accelerated Culture”, “Curated by Michael Masucci, director of West Hollywood’s EZTV video salon and the CyberSpace Gallery, and KCRW’s Liza Richardson, who hosts the experimental performance program Man on the Moon, the show exhibits artists ranging from young unknowns to acid guru and neo-virtual realist Timothy Leary. Something of a Lollapalooza of the art world, the multimedia sideshow will feature works by the newest wunderkinds to roll off the information superhighway, including computer-generated prints (some of which could pass for stills from Metropolis ), images stored digitally on disk, performance-art pieces, experimental videos and even works that sample and manipulate images the way rappers sample sound bites.” - Laura Meyers, Los Angeles Magazine
Cradle of Fire,”Cradle of Fire is an unrelenting exposition, illustrating in the broadest and most heart rending scenarios, how the forces of darkness assail the hearts of humankind.”
- Joe Rosen, Santa Monica Evening Outlook
“a poignant ‘must see’…served well to illustrate as only pictures can, the horrors of the Death Camps, and brought into sharpest focus the very real results of what happens when prejudice is allowed to run its course.” - The Outlook
Ballet Lemuria/BADD TV, “a good, experimental non-narrative video program…two provocative dance videos by Michael Masucci.” - Michael Wilmington, LA Times
Dance Outreach in the People’s Republic, “An inspiring profile…successfully captures Bethune’s uniquely positive approach to dance and life which transcends the barriers of language, hearing and sight impairment…into a world of physical and mental liberation.” - Mary Beth Crane, L.A. Weekly
Bird of Passage, “Arresting video images.” - Hollywood Reporter
Murrha, “striking video lyric on images of women and self” - Michael Wilmington, L.A. Times