The Intermedia Program in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Iowa was created by Hans Breder in 1968 and directed by him until 2000. From its inception, the Intermedia Program coalesced around several concepts. But to understand the program, the first of its kind to grant the MFA, one must understand Breder as “auteur.”
Breder, trained as a painter in Hamburg, Germany found early success in New York City with his constructivist aligned sculptures. Lured to The University of Iowa’s School of Art and Art History in 1966, Breder first conceived of the Intermedia Program as an arena in which he and his students could explore, in theory and in practice, the liminal spaces between the arts: art, music, film, dance, theater, poetry. Aware that he was making art in an intellectual environment, Breder in the second and third decade of the Intermedia Program extended his collaborative reach to the liberal arts: comparative literature, anthropology, psychology, communication studies. The exploration of liminal space and a collaborative approach to aesthetic theory and practice were essential to Breder?s conception of Intermedia, efforts to utilize the diverse artistic and intellectual community in Iowa City. Also key to his notion of Intermedia was the recognition that to develop the experimental arts in an entirely rural environment, an active visiting artists program was necessary. One of Breder’s first visiting artist was Robert Wilson, who developed Deafman Glance in Iowa City in 1970. Breder’s European sensibility ensured an internationalist perspective both in the visiting artist program and the curriculum in general.
For over three decades, the Intermedia Program at The University of Iowa offered courses which explored liminal spaces, boundaries between artistic and scholarly practices, between media, between genres, between social and political universes, between viewer and artist. During this time, students of the program interacted with a diverse roster of visiting artists, and traveled with Breder to Mexico, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, creating time-based works, performances, rituals, events, site-specific installations, etc., a dynamic environment in which process was always emphasized over product.
Over the last thirty years Breder has worked with distinction in and between a number of media: painting, sculpture, photography, performance, video and electro-acoustic media: his media work, for example, was included in the Whitney Biennials in 1987,1989, and 1991; ” ’68 – Kunst und Kultur,” Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Germany; The First Group Exhibition of American Art in Moscow, 1989; The 3rd Fukui International Video Biennale, Japan, 1989; 2nd Videonale, Bonn, Germany, 1986; International Architecture Exhibition, Technische Universität, Berlin, Germany, 1884; The Kitchen, Center for Video And Music, New York, New York,1975; “Kineticism: System Sculpture in Environmental Situations” (Cultural Olympiad), Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte, Mexico City, 1968; Collections include Cleveland Museum, Cleveland, Ohio; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Graden, Washington, D.C.; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York. His work is represented by the Mitchell Algus, New York and Hachmeister Gallerie, Muenster, Germany.