Aldo Tambellini, painter, sculptor, photographer, video artist, film-maker and poet was born in Syracuse, New York in 1930. Father from Sao Paolo, Brazil - Mother from Italy. Tambellini was taken to Lucca (Tuscany) Italy at the age of 18 months. He was enrolled at the A. Passaglia Art Institute in Lucca at the age of 10. At 14, Tambellini survived an air raid, during WWII, which killed 21 of his neighbors and destroyed his neighborhood. He returned to the United States in 1946. In 1954 Tambellini was awarded a full Art Scholarship at Syracuse University, where he received his BFA in painting. Tambellini was awarded a Teaching Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame, to study with world renowned sculptor Ivan Mestrovic earning his MFA in sculpture, 1958.
In 1959, Tambellini moved to New York's Lower East Side. He founded the underground, “counter-culture” group, “Group Center,” which organized public art events and non-traditional alternative ways to present artists’ work to the community, and other activities to raise the political and artistic consciousness of the public. In 1964 'Group Center' held what is believed to be the first Loft Show in what is now the SOHO Arts District in NYC.
Tambellini pioneered in the video art movement in the 1960’s and awarded the first ever New York State Council of the Arts grant for Video. In 1965, he began painting directly on film beginning his “Black Film Series” of which, “Black TV,” won the International Grand Prix, Oberhausen Film Festival, 1969 - now in the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Simultaneously, Tambellini began a series of “Electromedia Performances.” “Black,” a work in progress, organically brought together, projected paintings, film, video, poetry, light, dance, sound and improvisational musicians, culminating with “Black Zero” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in “Intermedia 1968” and performed again in 2009 for Performa09 at the White Box in New York City. In 1966, Tambellini co-founded the Gate Theatre, showing avant-garde and independent films daily and in 1967, he co-founded with Otto Piene, the Black Gate, the 1stspace in NYC for live multi-media (Electromedia) performances and installations. Tambellini and Otto Piene created at WDR, Cologne, Germany the first international television broadcast by artists "Black Gate Cologne," in 1968.
Tambellini participated in the following pioneering exhibitions:
1968 -Some More Beginnings- Experiments in Art and Technology, Brooklyn Museum in collaboration with Museum of Modern Art
1969 -Television as a Creative Media, Howard Wise Gallery, New York., N.Y. (the first comprehensive show about TV in a gallery)
1969 -The Medium is the Medium, WGBH, Boston, MA. (the first U.S. broadcast by artists)
1970 -Vision and Television, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA. (the first major museum video exhibition)
1971 - A Special Video Show, Whitney Museum, New York., N.Y. (the first video show at the Whitney Museum)
1972 - First National Videotape Festival, Minneapolis Art Institute in collaboration with Walker Art Center" Minneapolis, MN.
1972 - Circuit: A Video Invitational, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, N.Y., (the first exhibition of video artists travelling to museums)
From 1976 to 1984, Aldo Tambellini was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While at CAVS, he collaborated on many projects and participated in the International Sky Art Conferences and the Sao Paolo Biennale in 1983. Tambellini was the exchange artist representing CAVS, MIT for the interactive media project, Interface, at the Paris American Center for Arts in 1981. With the concept of Communicationsphere, Tambellini organized a series of international, interactive, communication projects leading to the development of what is now known as social networking, in some way a precursor of the internet.As a poet, Tambellini is widely published and has performed in countless public readings. He produced an anti-war digital film with his poetry, LISTEN in 2005. LISTEN won First Place in the Short Experimental Film by an Independent Filmmaker at the New England Film Festival in 2005 and at the Syracuse International Film Festival in 2006. In 2007, Aldo Tambellini received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Syracuse University at the 2007 Syracuse International Film Festival. The same year Tambellini received the Keys to the City of Cambridge from Mayor Ken Reeves in recognition of his contribution to the cultural environment of the City.