Throughout the 1970s, experimental filmmakers such as Hollis Frampton, Stan Brakhage, Kenneth Anger, Carolee Schneeman, Bruce Conner, Robert Breer, Yvonne Rainer, Michael Snow, and Paul Sharits presented their work to audiences of up to 300 people in the CMA Theater, and many left prints of their work to the museum’s burgeoning collection. The museum thus became a hub for a vibrant local film community, presenting and preserving rare filmic works and collaborating with a network of neighbor institutions such as Pittsburgh Filmmakers to offer artists editing facilities, teaching or workshop positions, and society.
In the 1980s, as artists began experimenting with new technologies such as video, the museum began in earnest to acquire video works by artists such as Vito Acconci, Lynda Benglis, Dara Birnbaum, Peter Campus, Gary Hill, Joan Jonas, Fischli & Weiss, and William Wegman. The film and video department was dissolved in 2001, but the collection continues to grow today through the efforts of the contemporary art department. Films and videos from the permanent collection are regularly presented in the museum galleries and are sometimes shown at special screening events.