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 in creating multiple projector/lighting and slide shows. In 1967, as the idea of synesthesia between music and light was becoming part of the culture, he founded the Joshua Light Show (JLS), a group of artists who performed together, improvising multi-media projections in live concert venues.
While much of JLS’s work was created for classical music and jazz, a major turning point came with the opening of Bill Graham’s Fillmore East on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the spring of 1968, where the JLS became resident artists 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.
After performing at Woodstock and observing the explosive growth popular music, Joshua White invented Joshua Television, an electronic light show using large screen video projection. Then, as network television discovered rock&roll, White segued into a full-time television directing career, producing and directing 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 more.
In recent years, the Joshua Light Show has received renewed attention in the art world. White collaborated with artist Gary Panter to recreate aspects of his legendary light shows at The Anthology Film Archives (2004), and with the artist Bec Stupac at The Kitchen (2007), both in New York. The Joshua Light Show was featured in 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 in Los Angeles. In 2006, the Tate Museum/Liverpool included the Joshua Light Show in their Summer of Love exhibition, which toured throughout Europe and in the summer of 2008 was on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
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