The Blanton Museum
ICA Philadelphia


Born and raised in New York City, Joshua White studied theater and design at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) and filmmaking at the University of Southern California. After college, he returned to New York and became interested in multi-media, especially creating multiple projector/lighting and slide shows. Soon thereafter he started designing environments for the first generation of NY discotheques. In 1967, as the idea of synesthesia between music and light was becoming part of the culture, he founded the Joshua Light Show. JLS was a group of artists who performed together, improvising multi-media projections in live concert venues. While much of their work was created for classical music and jazz, a major turning point came with the opening of Bill Grahamís Fillmore East on Manhattanís Lower East Side in the spring of 1968.

The Joshua Light Show were resident artists at Fillmore East and performed live behind all the major musical artists of the time: Frank Zappa, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Doors, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, and Jimi Hendrix. They also performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, and other renowned music venues. During this same period, JLS toured Europe and created the legendary party scene for John Schlesingerís film, Midnight Cowboy. After performing at Woodstock and observing the explosive growth of audiences for popular music, White invented Joshua Television, an electronic light show using large screen video projection. Then, as network television discovered rock and roll, White segued into a full-time television-directing career.

For the next thirty years, White worked as director on an eclectic range of shows such as Seinfeld, The Jerry Lewis Telethon, The Max Headroom Show, Club MTV, New York Philharmonic Young Peoples Concerts, and The TV Food Network. He received an Emmy nomination for an ABC special starring Cat Stevens. In addition, White continued to work with art and artists; he directed the O Superman video for Laurie Anderson, created a light show for Bette Midlerís film, The Rose, and staged the first rock concert ever at Radio City Music Hall.

In recent years, the Joshua Light Show has received renewed attention in the art world. White collaborated with artist Gary Panter, regenerating spectacular light shows at The Anthology Film Archives, NY (2004) and for the exhibition, Visual Music: Synesthesia in Art and Music Since 1900, organized by the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C., (2005), which also toured to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 2006, the Tate Museum/Liverpool featured the JLS in their Summer of Love exhibition, which toured throughout Europe and to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In 2008, a JLS Liquid Loops film will be included in Traces du Sacre at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Joshua White and Michael Smith met in 1988 and started working together on Mike's Kiddie Show (1990) and Doug and Mike's Adult Entertainment (1991), both of which White directed. In 1997, White and Smith created Mus-Co: 1969-1997 at the Lauren Wittels Gallery in New York. Since then, the two artists have jointly created Open House (1999), The QuinQuag Arts and Wellness Centre Touring Exhibition (2001), Take Off Your Pants! (2005), and the design for this exhibition, Mike's World, as well as its orientation room and timeline.