Gene Youngblood is an internationally known theorist of media arts and politics, and a respected scholar in the history and theory of alternative cinemas. His Expanded Cinema (1970), the first book to consider video as an art form, was seminal in establishing media arts as a recognized artistic and scholarly discipline. The term "expanded cinema" has become generic, and the book is considered a classic. Spanish and Italian translations were published in 2012 and 2014 respectively, 42 years after the book first appeared.
Youngblood is also widely known as a pioneering voice in the media democracy movement, and has been teaching, writing, curating and lecturing on media democracy and alternative cinemas since 1970. A documentary about his career, titled Secession From the Broadcast: Gene Youngblood and the Communication Revolution, is currently in production
Youngblood has lectured at more than four hundred colleges and universities throughout North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia, and his writing is published extensively around the world. He has received research grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Andy Warhol Foundation, the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts, The New Mexico Arts Division, and the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities.
He has curated numerous film and video exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad; organized an international conference on the future of television at the Annenberg School of Communication at USC; served on twenty juries and selection panels for film and video festivals and foundations, and served on advisory boards of arts organizations, foundations, and publications, including Leonardo, the journal of the International Society for Art, Science and Technology.
Youngblood has been a consultant to academic, philanthropic, governmental and business organizations including the U.S. Library of Congress, the Council of Europe, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Metropolitan Museum, the Rockefeller Foundation and the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.
In the 1960s he was a journalist for newspapers, television and radio in Los Angeles -- reporter and film critic for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner; reporter for KHJ-TV, and arts commentator for KPFK, Pacifica Radio. From 1967 to 1970 he was associate editor and columnist for the Los Angeles Free Press, the first and largest of the underground newspapers of that era.
Youngblood was a founding member in 1970 of the Faculty of Film and Video at the California Institute of the Arts (Calarts), where he taught for nineteen years. He has also taught at the California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and in the film departments at UCLA and USC. In 1988 he joined the founding faculty of the Department of Moving Image Arts at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico, where he taught for nineteen years, retiring in 2007.