The Annotated Video Exhibition List (1963-1975)
by Davidson Gigliotti
Editors Note: This list is as complete as my current resources
allow. Catalogues, CVs, announcements, and memory were all called
into play. Particularly useful was Barbara London's 1983 Circulating
Video Library catalog, a publication of the Museum of Modern
Art. If anyone has a show, event, or artist inclusion to add
to the list, please send your information to: email@example.com.
European, Canadian, Australian, African, and Asian exhibitions
of this time period are especially interesting. The idea is to
compile a complete list.
Personal experience of attending some of these shows and events
is included to enliven a bare list of names and dates. Also,
there are sometimes brief discussions of artists' work. Some
shows are included that did not feature video art, but still
set the stage for it.
Special mention should be made of Lucio Fontana, who identified
television as a medium for artists in his Television
Manifesto of the Spatial Movement, Milan, 1952.
Nam June Paik. Galerie Parnass, Wuppertal-Elberfeld,
FDR. March 11-20th, 1963.
Nam June's contributions to video are so many, so important,
and so early, that it's hard not to conclude that all later video
art is a gloss and commentary on his work. Paik became video's
public spokesman very early, and an ensuing array of brilliant,
glittering, and often magical video artworks sealed the connection
in the public's and, to some degree, the art world's collective
Still, I dissent, somewhat. Video, and video art stems directly
from other sources as well. Consider the influence of avant-garde
filmmakers like Brakhage Warhol, Snow, and Belson, and more reality-based
filmmakers like Wiseman, Leacock, and the Maysle brothers. Remember
also the early computer artists like the Whitneys, DeWitt, Stehura,
and Vanderbeek, the utopian vision of the New York video collectives,
the input from conceptually-based artists like Acconci, Iimura,
Oppenheim, Nauman, Graham, Jonas and others, and the work of
photographers too numerous to mention. All of these also contributed
mightily to the edifice of video as we know it today.
Nam June remains the giant in the field, known for his good
nature, generosity to other artists, wonderful conversation and
insight, as well as for his work. He is still pre-eminent, as
such things are counted, though crowded a bit now by Bill Viola.
It's not as lonely at the top as it used to be. He still stands
on the gold medal platform, however.
Wolf Vostell:Television De-Coll/age. Smolin Gallery,
New York, 1963.
Television was, and still is, for many artists, the evil box,
a grand corrupter of culture doing its dirty work directly in
the living room. Not an altogether incorrect view, of course.
So, some of the early works of artists tended to heavy irony.
Understanding Media, the work which brought Marshall McLuhan
to public attention and which first suggested the degree to which
television was an invasive, though not always evil, agent for
cultural change, was not to see print for another year.
New Cinema Festival I. Filmmaker's Cinematheque, New
York, November, 1965.
curated by John Brockman
Nam June Paik, USCO & Carolee Schneeman, Ken Dewey &
Terry Riley, Les Levine, et al.
A name to conjure with, even today! Literary agent, cultural
entrepreneur, and bringer together of intellects of what he calls
The Third Culture, Brockman has always been actively engaged
at that point in the matrix where art, science, and prediction
meet. See his website: http://www.edge.org/.
Nam June Paik: Electronic TV, Color TV Experiments,
3 Robots, 2 Zen Boxes & 1 Zen Can.
New School for Social Research, New York, 1965.
Robot 456, performance pieces.
Nam June Paik:Electronic Art. Bonino Gallery (Galeria
Bonino), New York, 1965 .
Nine Evenings:Theater and Engineering. 69th Regiment
Armory, New York. October, 1966.
curated by Billy
Billy Kluver is a professional electrical engineer with a
mission to bring together artists and engineers (well, all types
of scientists) in collaboration. He himself began working with
artists as early as 1960, and assisted such artists as Jean Tinguely,
Jasper Johns, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage and
Andy Warhol. In the process he became an impresario of art and
technology. His base of operations was Bell Labs.
Nine Evenings took place in the 69th Regiment Armory,
located at 25th & Lexington, which, of course, housed the
Armory Show of 1913. Nine Evenings included Robert Rauschenberg,
Robert Whitman, Steve Paxton, Alex Hay, Deborah Hay, John Cage,
Merce Cunningham, David Tudor, and several others. As its title
suggests, it occurred over nine almost consecutive evenings.
It was, by all acounts, an exciting series, attended by over
10,000 people. Michael Kirby described it in The Art of Time
as, "probably the most elaborate and expensive presentation
of avant-garde performance ever attempted in this country."
Some video projection was used. But the major contribution, aside
from the performances themselves, was that the idea of art becoming
more and more technologically informed was firmly implanted in
the minds of many for the first time.
The organizers of Nine Evenings -- Kluver, Rauschenberg,
and Whitman -- founded E.A.T., Experiments in Art and Technology,
a group dedicated to bringing together engineers and artists
in collaborative projects. After a brief high profile existence,
E.A.T went low profile and existed, doing its quiet good works,
right up until the mid-nineties. Kluver is still involved in
large projects from time to time.
Down by the Riverside:The USCO Show. TheRiverside Museum,
New York, Spring, 1966.
curated by Gerd Stern & USCO
This show was an amazing juxtaposition of historic Tibetan
and other Buddhist art with contemporary psychedelia, both visual
and audible, produced by USCO, a collective located in an old
church in Garnerville, New York. USCO was fairly active in the
mid-sixties, then the group dispersed. It was certainly prescient
in terms of cultural change, offering a sort of new-age appetizer.
Many people attended, and though the show is basically unwritten
about today, it was quite influential. There was no video, but
it rates a mention as an early use of technologically sophisticated
art in a museum setting. Gerd "Beardo" Stern, Michael
"Electro" Callahan, and Steve "Wierdo" Durkee,
Jud Yalkut. Barbara Durkee, Judi Wilson, Bob Dacy. The Riverside
Museum, located on Riverside Drive, had a fine collection of
Tibetan art. Unfortunately, the museum no longer exists.
New York Annual Avant-Garde Festival (1963--1980).
In 1978 the Festival was held in Cambridge, Mass. There was no
Avant-Garde Festival in 1979. The last Festival was held in 1980
at the Passenger Ship Terminal, pier 92.
curated by Charlotte Moorman
Charlotte Moorman (1933 - 1991) staged fifteen Annual
New York Avant-Garde Festivals at locations around the city.
The first one, in 1963 at CAMI Hall on 57th Street, was mainly
intended as a showcase for avant-garde music (Charlotte was a
cellist), and featured the work of John Cage, David Behrman,
Edgar Varese, Earle Brown, Morton Feldman, and Frederic Rzewski.
The one-day Festivals grew, year by year, to include a diverse
group of artists, as many as two or three hundred, and did as
much as anything to create a sense of community among New York's
avant-garde. Not that the Festival had a great deal of status.
Charlotte was not selective -- the main requirement for inclusion
was a sincere desire to participate.
Still, although artists from many aesthetic persuasions participated,
the event did have a certain Fluxus flavor about it. Many of
the regular participants - Nam June Paik, John Cage, Yoko Ono
and John Lennon, the Hendricks brothers, Alison Knowles, Phil
Corner, Yoshi Wada, etc, were identified with Fluxus, as was
Charlotte herself to some extent.
The public and the media came in numbers to the unusual locations
that Charlotte chose - Shea Stadium, Grand Central Station, the
Alexander Hamilton (an old excursion steamer) at the South Street
Seaport Museum, the World Trade Center, Floyd Bennett Field -
and the Festival experience was always chaotic.
Artists crammed their pieces into unlikely spaces, often overflowing
into the aisles. Video installations, marathon performance pieces,
piles of soil, piles of leaves, piles of spaghetti, aromatic
dead fish, miles and miles of black polyethylene (to create darkness
for projections of every sort), food art, light art, noise art,
were all jammed cheek by jowl into spaces clearly not meant for
the purpose - a great optimistic feat of cacophonous chaos.
Video was a part of the Festivals from 1967 on, and the culmination
of the day's events was frequently a collaborative performance
piece, often involving video, with Nam June Paik and Charlotte.
Like altogether too many events, the Festival's importance
is most clearly recognized after it's gone. The impact of this
great event, coming year after year created a definite sense
of community among the artists, and introduced a bewildered public
to avant-garde art. They were quite wonderful. Someone should
write a book about them.
Festival of Lights. The Howard Wise Gallery, New York,
[See Light/Motion/Space below]
Light/Motion/Space. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
curated by Howard Wise
This exhibition grew out of the Festival of Lights
show at the Howard Wise Gallery which, with some additions, moved
to the Walker. There were 44 artists in the show and among them
were Nam June Paik, Jackie Cassen, Rudi Stern, Chryssa, Otto
Piene, Martial Raysse, Thomas Tadlock, Takis, USCO, and Thomas
Wilfred. Willoughby Sharp wrote the catalog essay.
A note about Thomas
Wilfred (1889-1968). His work inspired many. From the early
60s his clavilux (light organ) Lumia Suite was a fixture
at MOMA; a tall metal cabinet located not far from the film theater,
with a screen of constantly changing colored light shapes and
forms. It seemed magical then. Wilfred, who was born with the
name Richard Edgar Lovstrom, was from Denmark. He began his career
in music as a singer, and while in New York became strongly inluenced
by the work and personality of Claude Bragdon, an architect who
developed early light shows. Wilfred built is first clavilux
in 1921. He also made several versions for home use.
Light shows were a common phenomenon in the sixties and not just
in discos and nightclubs, but in other venues as well. Jackie
Cassen and Rudi Stern came to video from their show called Theater
of Light. Pablo Light Show and Joshua Light Show were also among
the big ones in New York. They often accompanied music performances,
but some light shows stood on their own.
Cybernetic Serendipity:The Computer and the Arts. Corcoran
Gallery, Washington, D.C.,1968.
curated by Jasia Reichardt and James Harithas.
Traveling exhibition, included work by Nam June Paik and
Jim Harithas' peripatetic career as a museum director is legendary.
From the Corcoran he went to the short-lived Reese Palley Gallery
in SoHo (where The Blood Show crowned his Reese Palley
career), and from there to the Everson Museum in Syracuse, and
on to the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston. At every job he
created a high degree of cultural and iconoclastic excitement
and deserves a reputation for excellent, well-mounted exhibitions
of very unusual stuff. He was the first museum director (while
at the Everson) to initiate a regular program of video art exhibitions.
He hired David Ross right out of Syracuse University and, in
his way, taught him the museum business. Ross became his video
curator, the first in the country.
Harithas never really fit the mold of the typical Museum director.
He was aggressive, tough, bold, short-tempered on occasion, and
truly dedicated to the power of living art and living artists.
He was an artist-centered Director rather than a Board-centered
or even visitor-centered Director. Directors like that tend to
be popular with artists, but not always with their Boards.
Harithas is currently the Director of the Art
Car Museum in Houston, Texas.
Nam June Paik:Electronic Art II. Bonino Gallery (Galeria
Bonino), New York, 1968 .
Intermedia '68. Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1968.
Nam June, Paik, Ken Dewey, Les Levine, Aldo Tambellini, Terry
Riley, Jud Yalkut. USCO, etc.
curated by John Brockman
This show traveled in New York State, and included occasional
live performances, including Nam June Paik, Trisha Brown, Simone
Forti, and films by Jud Yalkut.
Bruce Nauman. The Castelli Gallery, New York,1969.
Commercial art galleries, uptown and downtown, were very wary
of video art. There were reasons for this; they didn't know the
artists, they didn't understand the art, and didn't see how they
could sell it. Not only that, but no one was writing about it
in any major art publications. There were other reasons as well.
The New York art world of the late sixties and early seventies
was being battered by new ideas based on premises that just didn't
compute with traditional painting and sculpture.
Abstract expressionism, pop art, color field painting, minimalism
-- whatever you might say about them, at least they were painting
and sculpture, and therefore marketable. But what could they
say about Dennis Oppenheim creating patterns in wheatfields with
snow-fencing, or Carl Andre with his rows of bricks, or Michael
Heizer digging holes in the ground, or Vito Acconci who seemed
to be making art by encouraging people to whisper confidences
in his ear? Who knew?
The Castelli Gallery was, for a time, one of the a lone exceptions.
As the 70s rolled on, Leo Castelli and his staff were willing
to show video art by artists known to them, who had reputations
in other media. Under Joyce Nereaux and Pat Brundage, Castelli-Sonnebend
Tapes and Films was formed and an interesting group of conceptual
and performance artists got their video showcased and distributed
-- Bruce Nauman, Keith Sonnier, Vito Acconci, Dennis Oppenheim,
Joan Jonas, and several others. Castelli-Sonnebend was always
careful to refer to their product as "artist's videotapes"
rather than video art, the implication being that these artists
were mostly busy making art, and sometimes had the time to make
the odd videotape or two, which might be of interest to collectors.
Black and white, reel-to-reel, they were still an awkward
sell. Most of Castelli-Sonnebend's tape business was in rentals
The videotapes themselves were often astonishing, and good;
Richard Serra's still relevant "Television Delivers People",
Vito Acconci's chaotic "Red Tapes", Dennis Oppenheim's
haunting "Bar Time". "Organic Honey's Vertical
Roll" by Joan Jonas was an inspired utilization of certain
aspects of early reel-to-reel video by a extraordinarily talented
video, film, and performance artist.
Bruce Nauman:Corridor. Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los
This might have been the first gallery video exhibition on
the West coast.
The Medium is the Medium. WGBH-TV, Boston, 1969.
Produced by Fred Barzyk.
Nam June Paik, Aldo Tambellini, Otto Piene,
James Seawright, Thomas Tadlock, Allen Kaprow.
Fred Barzyk always suspected that you could do more with television
than they taught at broadcast school and he first began experimenting
with the medium in 1964. By 1967 he was broadcasting "What's
Happening, Mr. Silver" with a British host, David Silver,
who had very few inhibitions. Nudity was not unknown. But it
was much more than that. For those days, they went wild. There
was much spontanaity and role reversal, and before they knew
it, their show was very popular. The hardest job was getting
the broadcast technicians to cooperate.
In early 1969, the Medium is the Medium, a thirty minute
program incorporating the work of each artist was aired to bewildered
Bostonians. Allen Kaprow's piece "Hello" was probably
the most successful, using, as it did, features of the broadcast
medium for spontaneous multi-directional communication.
Television As A Creative Medium. Howard Wise Gallery,
New York, (1969)
Nam June Paik, Moorman, Serge Bouterline, Aldo Tambellini, Frank
Gillette, Ira Schneider, Paul Ryan, Earl Reiback, John Seery,
Wynn Chamberlain, Thomas Tadlock, Eric Seigal, Joe Weintraub.
curated by Howard Wise.
Howard Wise (1903-1989) loved kinetic art. His uptown gallery
became known for championing kinetic art in the sixties, and
he numbered some important collectors as his clients. One of
them, David Bermant, was a developer of shopping malls. Bermant's
Long Ridge Mall, in Greece, New York, was encrusted with a quite
incredible collection of kinetic art, much of which came through
the Howard Wise Gallery. Bermant had a special crew of workers
whose job it was to maintain the art, and the mall provided Rochester
area inhabitants with a unique aesthetic experience. People who
have visited the Long Ridge Mall recently have told me that it's
all gone now. Too bad. It was a wonderful environment.
TV As A Creative Medium opened in the Spring of 1969
and featured some interesting video art, but WipeCycle
by Ira Schneider and Frank Gillette took the cake. It was right
in front of you as you stepped off the elevator.
It was an array of monitors and decks. The images on the monitors
kept changing, and some were broadcast feeds and some were pre-recorded
tapes, and, most interesting of all, there was a camera pointed
at the door of the elevator, so you saw yourself as you came
In front of the monitor array were three decks rigged in the
following manner: deck one was a record deck, and it was recording
the output from the camera located in front of the door. The
tape, however, came off the supply reel, passed over the recording
head, but instead of accumualting on the take-up reel, the tape
was fed over to the next deck, Deck Two, and passed over the
playback head , initiating an 8-second delay. The effect was
to initiate a delay. The taped again bypassed the take-up reel
and went on to Deck Three, initiating a 16-second delay. So you
saw yourself coming in (if you were alert) and then you saw yourself
coming in again eight seconds later, and then you saw yourself
coming in again, eight seconds after that.
Now people see themselves on videotape all the time and it
is quite possible that some experience the effect of this in
an interesting and revealing manner, and it also might be true
that some are blasé to the whole idea, but in those days
that particular effect was much discussed -- a psychological
phenomenon, if you will. Also it was in black and white, with
a bad signal to noise ratio, and so the effect was certainly
Wise discovered video in the late sixties. You might say that
was unusual -- he was himself in his mid-sixties; not an age
when people of his generation were usually susceptible to new
ideas. But Wise was engaged in the events of the time. Deeply
concerned about societal issues, keenly disturbed by the Vietnam
War and the prospect of nuclear annihilation, he saw his video
artists as involved with the same issues he was, and saw their
work as directly concerned with questions of cultural change.
The artists whose work he supported include Nam June Paik,
Frank Gillette, Ira Schneider, Juan Downey, Eric Siegal, and
ultimately quite a few others. He at once understood that gallery
exhibitions were not a medium that suited the work of many artists
and he closed his uptown gallery and founded Electronic
Arts Intermix, a tape distribution and editing facility.
Originally located in a building on the northwest corner of 5th
Avenue and 14th street, EAI was a very busy place. Now located
in Chelsea, it has one of the largest and most important collections
of video art in the country.
Wise was also an important sponsor of Charlotte Moorman's
New York Avant-Garde Festival, an annual exercise in artistic
freedom which sprouted every Fall somewhere in the city. Wise
was a kindly and generous man and, well, wise.
Channel One. 1969
Ken Shapiro, Chevy Chase, Eric Segal.
Channel One had a movie theater ambiance, with a projector and
several monitors showing a program shot and edited by the principals.
They often featured Chevy Chase, of course, and I don't know
if you could say that this was where he started, but it certainly
was a passage in his life. I remember seeing Channel Ones in
other cities as well as New York, so Shapiro et al may have franchised
them. They were a short-lived phenomena though. Sadly, I don't
remember Channel One's location in New York, but it was somewhere
on the lower east side.
Vision and Television. The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis
University, Waltham, Mass. 1970.
curated by Russell Connor
In 1970 Russell Connor was the Rose's Assistant Curator, and
Vision and Television was his project. Connor has had
a varied background in the arts; a painter, a cultural TV host
at WGBH, and an arts administrator of note. He was the first
head of TV Media at NYSCA, the executive director of Cable Arts,
the Director of Education at the the Whitney Museum under Tom
Armstrong. Now he is a painter again, and a writer, and a happy
Vision and Television , the first group video
exhibition to take place in an actual museum, was an install-it-yourself
show; nearly the entire New York video community traveled to
Waltham, Mass., to set it up. Inevitably it became a "family"
event as well. Good thing - it was January and there was a blizzard
the night of the opening which lasted the entire weekend, so
attendance was, uh, concentrated.
Artists included Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman, Frank Gillette,
Ira Schneider, Paul Ryan, Aldo Tambellini, the Videofreex (most
of them), Eric Siegal, Paul Ryan, Les Levine, Ted Kraynik, John
Reilly & Rudi Stern, Jud Yalkut, Joe Weintraub, USCO/Intermedia,
and Eugene Grayson Mattingly. Incidentally, the catalog, written
by Connor, may have contained the first usage of the term "video
art." Gene Youngblood also used the term, but his book,
Expanded Cinema, didn't hit the shelves until a few months
later. Up until that time writers weren't sure what to call it
-- neither were the artists.
Body Works. Museum of Conceptual Art, San Francisco.
Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman, William Wegman, Keith Sonnier Dennis
Oppenheim, Terry Fox.
curated by Willoughby Sharp.
A distinguished show in another museum that no longer exists.
Willoughby Sharp was, and is, a prominent personality in New
York's avant-garde art world, and has been from the sixties on.
With Liza Bear, he was the editor and founder of Avalanche
Magazine, a well designed and influential publication of
the late sixties and early seventies, the first to concentrate
solely on conceptual art. Eccentric, witty, smart and big; a
nattily dressed wearer of the black long before it was fashionable,
Sharp has been a gallery owner, editor, curator, artist, cultural
entrepreneur, and an important contributor to the development
of video art.
The Major Museum Exhibition Climate (1967-70)
Software. The Jewish Museum, 1970.
curated by Jack Burnham
The Machine as seen at the End of the Mechanical Age.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1968
curated by Pontus Hulton.
Information. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. 1970
curated by Kynaston McShine
By 1968, thanks in part to the previous efforts of Kluver
and the E.A.T. people, Nam June Paik and his robots, and Howard
Wise, John Brockman, USCO and others and the activities they
were supporting, the major museums had accepted that art and
technology were in some way linkable, and these three shows were
their response. These shows are well-documented so I won't discuss
them right now.
Back to the top of the page.
The New York Video Collectives
Frank Gillette, Harvey Simon, David Cort, Howard Gutstadt,
The proto video collective, although perhaps more a discussion
group than a real collective. Still, the idea of cooperation
as opposed to competition was a strong element in the early video
community, though sometimes more honored in the breach than in
the actuality. Ultimately the members went off to form their
own collectives, but Commediation was a nucleus. Nam June Paik
sometimes sat in on their sessions.
Skip Blumberg, Nancy Cain, David Cort, Bart Friedman, Davidson
Gigliotti, Chuck Kennedy, Mary Curtis Ratcliff, Parry Teasdale,
Carol Vontobel, Ann Woodward.
The Videofreex was started by Cort, Teasdale and Ratcliff
in the summer of 1969. That autumn it started to grow into a
cohesive group, mainly around a CBS initiative set up by Don
West, who was then Assistant to the President of CBS at the time,
Frank Stanton. It was West's idea to gather New York's then tiny
video community around the concept of a "counterculture"
television show, shot and edited by the video community, and
aired, perhaps, by CBS. CBS broadcast executives like Mike Dann
and Fred Silverman approached that idea with silver bullets,
bags of garlic, and wooden stakes, but West had accumulated a
lot of favors owing, and got some money from CBS to give it a
The actual result, entitled Subject to Change, was
an interesting program for the time. Edited by Cort, Teasdale
and Ratcliff, it featured an interview with Fred Hampton, a Black
Panther leader later killed in his bed by the Chicago police;
a visit to Pacific High School in Palo Alto, one of the country's
first alternative schools; an afternoon with Hovey Burgess and
his troupe of jugglers and clowns; and several other features
not usually found on television in 1969.
The boys at Blackrock didn't buy it though, in fact they were
repelled by the whole idea. West's position next to Stanton didn't
save him. He was fired immediately and went on to become the
editor of Broadcast Magazine.
The Videofreex, however, refusing to be downhearted by events,
went on with a program of their own; applying for grants, teaching
video, shooting numerous records of counterculture lifestyle,
and founding other media centers around New York state.
In 1970, shortly after they finished off CBS, the Videofreex
initiated a series of Friday night open video shows at their
top floor loft at 96-98 Prince Street. Attendance grew, and the
event became a weekly social gathering for some members of the
In 1971 they moved to Lanesville, New York, where they continued
their statewide activities, published a book, The Spaghetti
City Video Manual, operated an editing room for the use of
artists and video producers, and founded a tiny broadcast TV
station, Lanesville TV, in the Catskills of Greene County.
Almost from the beginning, a steady stream of visitors from
all over the country and the world began to drift through Maple
Tree Farm, studying the Videofreex, making videotapes, enjoying
cook-outs, sleeping in the well-appointed guest rooms; the Videofreex
became video hoteliers.
They began to disband in 1975 as the recession took hold and
the Carey administration began cutting back NYSCA funding for
media. The last Videofreek moved out of Maple Tree Farm in 1978.
Mediabus, their non-profit agency, continues to this day, headed
by Bart Friedman, with headquarters in Woodstock, New York.
Lively and good-natured, the Videofreex were very social and
readily formed fairly strong relationships with other groups.
Two more different outfits than Raindance and the Videofreex,
for example, could hardly be imagined, yet there was always a
bond between them. Elements of the Videofreex also had strong
relationships with the Ant Farm, a West coast art collective;
with TVTV, an ad hoc production company put together by Michael
Shamberg; and with other collectives in New York State and elsewhere.
Their location in the Woodstock area gave them ready access both
to Manhattan and the cities of upstate New York, and this, plus
their general out-goingness and amiability, worked for a time
to give the Videofreex a central position in the video community
of New York State. Read Parry Teasdale's Videofreex,
Black Dome Press, 1999, for a first person account of life with
the Videofreex. Nearly all the Videofreex are still active in
Peoples Video Theater, 1970
Ken Marsh, Howard Gutstadt, Elliot Glass.
People's Video Theater's main thrust was community video,
and they were videotaping on the streets of New York regularly.
Marches and demonstrations, the Young Lords, Black Panthers,
community boards, and neighborhood issues were among their subjects.
Disillusioned with network television's 'objective' covering
of local events, People's Video Theater sought to fill the gap
with the opinions and points of view of people the networks never
covered. Part of their program was to use videotape recording
and playback as a means of ameliorating differences, and there
were plenty to choose from in those days.
Evenings were given over to their video theater at 544 6th
Avenue, where they would play their tapes back and hold lively
discussions afterward with participants and viewers.
There will be an interview with Ken Marsh appearing on the
Articles page soon. Howie Gutstadt went on to form another group,
Survival Arts. He then moved to Jamestown, New York, and operated
a video facility there for a while, later moving to San Francisco.
For many years he was an associate at Diaquest, a manufacturer
of video animation equipment and other hardware in Oakland. He
is now with Autodesk. Serving with him at Diaquest was Bill Claghorn.
Claghorn himself, complete with white shirt and pocket protector,
was a very important video technician and inventor of early video
equipment in New York; an important consultant for artists with
technical problems. Marsh is a painter and graphics designer,
and lives in Westchester county. Elliot Glass lives on Long Island
and operates Crossroads Video.
Frank Gillette, Ira Schneider, Paul Ryan, Beryl Korot, Michael
Shamberg, Megan Williams, Louis Jaffé
While the Videofreex represented the world around them with
videotape, and People's Video Theater attacked social problems,
Raindance had quite different aspirations -- to bring together
the world of video and the world of cultural and cybernetic thinkers:
McLuhan, Fuller, Bateson, Wiener, Shannon & Weaver, C.S.
Peirce, Michelet, Vico -- these were the names that got bandied
around at Raindance. They were visionaries, at home with ideas
and dedicated to evolutionary change. They made videotapes, too,
but probably their most significant production was the periodical
Radical Software. It was the brainchild of two women,
Beryl Korot and Phyllis Gershuny. Working in a Chinatown loft,
Korot and Gershuny cut, pasted, interviewed writers, selected
art, and worried over what to call it. From a number of sources
and suggestions, the title Radical Software emerged.
It was a great title, and the first two issues, edited by
Gershuny and Korot, contained interesting material and an interesting
graphic style, and it did not take a great leap of imagination
to see that Radical Software could have had a real future
as a video magazine and, later, journal. The first Radical
Softwares were quarterfolds, a popular style in those day
for publications somewhere between a magazine and a newspaper,
and printed in blue ink. Later editions reverted to a more conventional
Still, while some later editions did keep the implied promise,
Raindance's democratic decision to farm out the publications
to various video groups resulted sometimes in spotty quality.
The publication was later taken over by Gordon and Breach, and
was discontinued in 1974.
Raindance also did another publication, a book, Guerrilla
Television, written by Michael Shamberg and published by
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, but largely informed by the Raindance
staff. It was very enthusiastic.
Gillette, Schneider, Ryan and Korot are significant and influential
artists. Ryan, like Gillette and Schneider, tends to reclusivity,
but his keen insights into information and culture, coupled with
his passion for interaction, still has impact with many. Beryl
Korot went on to career in video installations and is active
in the field today, mainly collaborating with her husband, composer
Steve Reich. Phyllis Gershuny returned to painting. Michael Shamberg
is a Hollywood film producer.
Global Village, 1969
John Reilly, Rudi Stern, Ira Schneider (for a short while).
A list of all of the people who took video production classes
at Global Village through the 70s and 80s would probably turn
up some surprises. It became one of the more active video teaching
organizations in New York that grew out of the collective experience,
introducing hundreds of students to the intricacies of shooting
and editing videotape. A look at the credits of any evening's
television programming would possibly reveal some former Global
But it did not begin that way. In the beginning Global Village
was a place for open-screenings and a headquarters for John and
Rudi's video activities. Reilly was a controversial character,
active, aggressive, and politically astute, but not always easy
to get along with. He had his dedications, however. At real risk
of life and limb he journeyed with Stefan Moore to Belfast at
the height of the troubles to shoot "The Irish Tapes,"
a dangerous odyssey that was not for wimps. Reilly now lives
and teaches in Hampton Bays, Long Island.
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Rudi Stern had started with light shows, working with another
artist who also later became involved with video, Jackie Cassen.
Ultimately he left Global Village, got interested in art-neon,
published a book on the subject (Let There Be Neon), and
opened a neon art gallery in SoHo of the same name. He is now
developing light shows again.
Keith Sonnier. Museum of Modern Art, New York,
Projects Room curated by Riva Castleman.
Tapes from All Tribes. Pacific
Film Archive. Berkeley, Cal., 1971.
Curated by Video Free America.
Video Free America was an early West coast video collective based
in San Francisco. They were very active in the early days. Who
will ever forget the video saga of Carol and Ferd?
Douglas Davis:Electronic Hokkadim. The Corcoran Gallery,
Washinton, D.C., 1971
An interactive event involving telephone callers and broadcast
Ten Video Performances. Finch College Museum of Art,
New York, 1971.
Curated by Elayne Varian.
Included Nam June Paik, Vito Acconci, Peter Campus, Steve
Reich, Dan Graham, Douglas Davis, Robert Rauschenberg, Eric Seigal,
Simone Forti, Alex Hay, Bruce Nauman, Claus Oldenburg.
Another museum that no longer exists. Elayne Varian was hip,
smart, and highly opinionated, and she explored some interesting
areas. She mounted one of the first holographic art shows, and
conducted interesting panels on occasion. She took no prisoners.
Poor Steve Beck showed a piece at one of them, only to be told
immediately after, in public, that his work was "not art."
The Television Environment. University Art Museum,
William (Billy) Adler, John Margolies
Electronic Art III. Bonino Gallery (Galeria Bonino),
Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman, 1971.
Paik Abe Synthesizer.
A film was made by Jud Yalkut of this show. It is available at
Electronics Arts Intermix.
New American Filmmakers Series: Videoshow. Whitney
Museum of American Art, New York, (1971).
curated by David Bienstock
Davis, Paik, Tambellini, Vasulkas, et al.
Peter Campus. Bykert Gallery, New York, 1972.
curated by Klauss Kertess
From the start, Peter Campus's video art didn't look like anybody
else's. I reminded him of this once, and he tersely informed
me to "make sure it stayed that way." Campus's work
deserves major space in any discussion of early video art.
Consider, for a moment, Campus' Interface (1972), a
visually elegant, unself-consciously involving installation created
with a minimum of equipment; a video camera, a video projector,
and a piece of glass.
One's attention is called specifically to the large (6'x8')
glass screen hanging about nine feet in front of a white wall.
By the wall, just off center, is a black-and-white camera on
a light tripod with a long lens pointing through the glass and
focussed at a point twelve feet or so in front of the glass screen.
The signal is routed to the projector, located just under the
screen, projecting the image onto the white wall. As with many
of Campus' installations, part of the game is finding out where
you have to stand. When you find the place, both your projected
image and your reflected image come together on the glass screen,
both about life-size. Of course, they are reverse images to each
other, emphasizing both the difference between the reflected
mirror image and the actual right-side-to image, and black-and-white
from natural color. Interface tends to be a solitary experience.
It is a powerful work, though typically the viewer is never completely
sure why. One reason might be that it allows the viewer to look
directly and correctly into ones own eyes; a more rare and unusual
event than it seems at first thought.
First Annual National Video Festival. Minneapolis College
of Art and Design, 1972.
Curated by Tom Drysdale
Peter Campus, Ed Emshwiller, Nam June Paik, Ira Schneider,
Aldo Tambellini, et.al. There were panels. Panelists included:
Russell Connor, Barbara Rose, George Stoney and Gene Youngblood.
Video Exhibition. Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn.,
Douglas Davis:Inside and Outside. Everson Museum,
Syracuse, N.Y., 1972.
Douglas Davis is both an artist and a professional art writer,
and has expounded on video in print from the early 70s on. Davis
was always one who believed that video was much bigger than its
place in avant-garde art would indicate, consistantly projecting
the idea that video art was an important step in the development
of a much larger informational world.
Concerto for TV Cello/TV Bra. Everson Museum, Syracuse,
Nam June Paik with Charlotte Moorman.
First Women's Video Festival. The
Kitchen, Mercer Arts Center, 1972.
Curated by Susan Milano
Jackie Cassen, Maxie Cohen, Keiko Tsuno, Steina Vasulka,
Yoko Maruyama, Susan Milano, Elsa Tambellini, Judith Scott, Queer
Blue Light, Women's Video Collective.
"Attention must be paid" as Ralph Kramden used to
say, and certainly the Kitchen merits a large measure of attention
in any discussion of video history. It was founded in 1971 in
what was the kitchen of the Broadway Central Hotel, and was originally
part of an ill-fated though very well-intentioned effort called
the Mercer Art Center. The old hotel spanned the block between
Mercer and Broadway, and the entrance to the Art Center was on
Mercer. The Art Center contained a Cabaret, two small theaters,
and the Kitchen. Founded by Woody and Steina Vasulka with Andy
Mannik, a lover of new music, it was dedicated to video and the
performance of new music. The founders were ably assisted by
Shridar Bapat (now deceased), Bob Harris (now teaching at Ithaca
College), and Dmitri Devyatkin.
One day the old Broadway Central mysteriously fell down in
a heap - really! - so the Kitchen moved to Broome Street. Great
directors (Bob Stearns, Mary MacArthur) and a great board kept
it going and growing. The Kitchen still exists, now on West 19th
Street, a much larger and quite different organization. This
institution is too important for a short and somewhat impromptu
discussion like this to do it justice. The Kitchen needs a biographer.
It is a book waiting to be written.
A sidenote: The old Broadway Central (just north of Houston
Street) also housed, from about 1969 to 1970, a very large, interesting
and lively bar and restaurant called St. Adrian's, a frequent
late night hangout for downtown artists of all kinds, rivaling
Max's Kansas City for while. A very large number of people in
New York in those days, some video artists among them, never
went to bed before 4am and never got up until noon.
St. Jude Video Art Invitational. de Saisset Gallery
and Art Museum, Santa Clara, Cal., 1972.
Curated by David Ross
John Baldessari, Lynda Benglis, Douglas Davis, Taka Iimura,
Shigeko Kubota, William Wegman, et al.
Works from the Experimental TV Center. Binghamton.
Everson Museum, Syracuse, 1972
curated by Ralph Hocking
Since its founding in 1971 by Ralph Hocking, The
Experimental Television Center, located in Binghamton, New
York, has been a rock of support for video artists. From the
beginning they offered residencies for artists and technical
solutions implemented by David Jones, a brilliant video engineer
Ralph Hocking himself was the driving force: bluff, direct,
determined, and with a good sense of humor. Hocking is also an
astute cultural politician of the type that seems to breed in
upstate New York. Nathan Lyons of the Visual
Studies Workshop is another prime example.
In recent years the Center, directed by Sherry Miller, has
expanded its role to include conferences, seminars, and websites.
If you thought that this was the only website devoted to early
video, think again. Though parts are still under construction,
their Video Chronology page is amazing, an absolute "must
The Center also supports early video research with excellent
links, and has a pretty complete collection of early video equipment.
Women in the Arts. Finch College Museum, New York,
Curated by Elayne Varian.
White, Black, Red, and Yellow. The Kitchen, Mercer
Arts Center, 1972.
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Mary Lucier, Shigeko Kubota, Charlotte Warren, Cecilia Sandovar.
Women's Video Festival. University of Illinois, Circle
Campus, Chicago, 1973.
Shigeko Kubota. Wabash Transit Gallery, School of the
Art Institute, Chicago, 1973.
International Computer Arts Festival. The Kitchen,
Mercer Arts Center, 1973.
curated by Dmitri Devyatkin.
The Irish Tapes. The Kitchen, Mercer Arts Center, 1973.
John Reilly and Stefan Moore.
Electronic Video. The Kitchen, Mercer Arts Center,
Nam June Paik.
Videotapes from thePerpetual Pioneer of Video Art.
The Kitchen, Mercer Arts Center, 1973.
Nam June Paik.
Whitney Biennial. Whitney Museum of American Art, 1973.
Joan Jonas, Peter Campus, et al.
William Wegman. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los
Curated by Jane Livingston.
Frank Gillette:Video Process and Meta-Process. Everson
Museum, Syracuse, 1973.
Frank Gillette (built and installed by Bill Viola)
One of the first of the big muli-channel installations. Gillette
was a pioneer of the form.
Circuit:A Video Invitational. Everson Museum, Syracuse,
Curated by David Ross
Traveling exhibition, 65 Artists: went to several museums including
the Koelnischer Kunstverein (Cologne, Germany), Boston Museum
of Fine Arts, LA County Museum, Cranbrook Academy, Henry Gallery
in Seattle, Everson Museum, etc.
Vito Acconci, David Atwood, John baldessari, Stephen Beck, Lynda
Benglis, George Bolling, Chris Burden, Donald Burgy, Elizabeth
Clark, Peter Campus, Frank Cavestani, Douglas Davis, Dmitri Devyatkin,
Ken Dominick, Juan Downey, Ed Emschwiller, Terry Fox, Charles
Frazier, Hermine Freed, Howard Fried, Frank Gillette, Joel Glassman,
Cynthia Grey, Mike Goldberg, Ron Hays, Ralph Hocking, Nancy Holt,
Jeff Hudson, Taka Iimura, Joan Jonas, Steve Kolpan, Beryl Korot,
Paul Kos, Shigeko Kubota, Jane Logermann, Richard Landry, Andy
Mann, Robert Morris, Rita Myers, Bruce Nauman, Jack Nelson, Dean
Nimmer, Dennis Oppenheim, Nam June Paik, Anthony Ramos, Peter
Van Riper, Van Schley, richard Serra, Willoughby Sharp, Eric
Seigal, Keith Sonnier, Aldo Tambellini, Woody Vasulka, Bill Viola.
Videa 'n Videology.1974.
Nam June Paik
Projects: Video. Museum of Modern Art, New York,
Curated by Barbara London
Art Now: A Celebration of the American Arts, John F.
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., 1974.
Perhaps the first major exhibition where video artists were included
in a context with artists of other disciplines, ratifying to
a degree video art's 'arrival' as a fine art.
Artists showing video included: Vito Acconci, Lynda Benglis,
Peter Campus, Douglas Davis, Juan Downey, Terry Fox, Hermine
Freed, Frank Gillette, Joel Glassman, Nancy Holt, Joan Jonas,
Beryl Korot, Paul Kos, Shigeko Kubota, Andy Mann, Nam June Paik,
Ira Schneider, Keith Sonnier, Bill Viola, William Wegman.
New Learning:Spaces and Places. Walker Art Center,
Frank Gillette, James Byrne,Peter Campus, Juan Downey, Ira Schneider,
William Wegman, Andy Mann, and University Community Video.
Women in Film and Video. SUNY Buffalo, Buffalo, 1974.
Shirley Clarke, Hermine Freed, Julie Geiger, Jenny Goldberg,
Sami Klein, Beryl Korot, Shigeko Kubota, Joan Jonas, Susan Milano,
Steina Vasulka, Jane Wright.
Projekt 74, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Köln,
Electronic Art IV. Bonino Gallery (Galeria Bonino),
New York, 1974.
Nam June Paik.
Collector's Video. Los Angeles County Museum of Art,
Los Angeles, 1974.
Curated by Jane Livingston.
Peter Campus, Terry Fox, Frank Gillette, John Baldessari,
Nancy Holt, Bruce Nauman, Robert Morris, Paul Kos, Dickie Landry,
Andy Mann, Richard Serra, Joan Jonas, Keith Sonnier, Richard
The title was probably a hint.
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Radical Software. Kölnischer Kunstverein, Köln,
Video Art. Institute of Contemporary Art. Philadelphia,
Curated by Suzanne Delehanty.
Group show, tapes and installations. Traveled to five cities
including Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Steina Vasulka, Frank Gillette, Joan Jonas, et al.
Everson Video 75, Everson Museum, Syracuse, 1975.
Curator: Richard Simmons.
Ant Farm, Community Video/Cast, David Cort, Dance Media, Dimitri
Devyatkin, Electron Movers, Dieter Froese, Beryl Korot, Shigeko
Kubota, Andy Mann, Paul Ott & Fred Kesler, Peter Van Riper,
The Southland Video Anthology, Long Beach Museum of
Curated by David Ross
Both an exhibition and a tape anthology. Included Alan Ackoff,
Billy Adler, Dave Anderson, Eleanor Antin, John Baldessari, Dede
Bazyk, Lynda Benglis, Chris Burden, Thomas Burton, Shelly Chamberlain,
Brian Connell, Lowell Darling, David Dashiell, Susan Davis, Ken
Feingold, Charles Frazier, Roberta Friedman, John Gordon, Eileen
Griffin, Thomas Jancar, Bryan Jones, Alan Kaprow, Donald Karwellis,
Stanton Kaye, Rodger Klein, John Knight, Lisa Koper, Shigeko
Kubota, Suzanne Lacy, William Leavitt, Jane Logemann, Joan Logue,
Fred Lonidier, Bruce Lyon, Cynthia Maughan, Jay McCafferty, Paul
McCarthy, Susan Mogul, Bruce Nauman, Tim Owens, Nam June Paik,
Michael Portis, Tom Radloff, Raindance, Anthony Ramos, Martha
Rossler, Allen Ruppersberg, David Salle, Van Schley, Michael
Scroggins, Ilene Segalove, Alan Sekula, Barry Singer, Barbara
Smith, Nina Sobel, Phillip Steinmetz, Marc Stern, Wolfgang Stoerchle,
John Sturgeon, Telethon, Ben Thrall, Michael Tucker, Peter Van
Riper, William Wegman, James Welling.
Americans in Florence/Europeans in Florence. Long Beach
Museum of Art, 1975.
Curated by David Ross and Maria Gloria Bicocchi
Media Burn. 1975.
Cow Place, San Francisco.
Performance and Media Event.
Bill ViolaInstallation. Everson Museum, Syracuse, 1975.
His first museum show, I believe.
Commissioned Video Works. 1975.
Curated by Jim Melchert.
Tapes. Antin, Baldessari, John Fernie, Dennis Oppenheim,
Bob Watts, Wegman, et al.
Video Art: an Overview. San Francisco Museum of Modern
Art, San Francisco, Cal., 1976.
Curated by David Ross
Twenty-nine artists' tapes and installations.
First Ithaca Video Festival. Ithaca, New York, 1975.
Phillip Malory Jones.
Annual travelling video show.
Projected Video. Whitney Museum of American Art, New
Nam June Paik, Shigeko Kubota, Peter Campus, Douglas Davis, Hermine
Freed, Bill Etra, Steina and Woody Vasulka, John baldessari,
Keith Sonnier, William Wegman, Lynda Benglis, Richard Serra.
Moebius Video Show. San Francisco Art Festival, San
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Terry Fox, Skip Sweeney, Ant Farm, Joanne Kelly, Phil Garner,
Alternate Media Conference. Spring, 1970.
Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont.
No-one who attended the Alternate Media Conference with ever
forget this wonderful mini-Woodstock for about 300 alternate
media people. There were, in fact, lectures and panels, but it
was Spring, the weather was perfect, and there were a number
of quite naked Californians walking around to the amazement of
the New Yorkers who, for the most part, had skins the color of
fishbellies. The Videofreex were there with a huge blue and pink
inflatable bubble with a rear-projection screen heat sealed into
it designed and built by Davidson Gigliotti and sculptor Pedro Lujan.
A Hog Farm detachment was there, nice people, and evenings were
given over to Jordan Belsen and Scott Bartlett films and Dr.
John, the Night Tripper.
The conference went on for several days, full of networking
and conversation in a pleasant wooded environment, complete with
swimming hole, tents and tipis, music and fun. The setting was
Goddard College in Vermont,
a semi-rural and pleasant place in those days. Goddard was, and
continues to be, a very unusual school.
Open Circuits:The Future of Television. 1974.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Fred Barzyk, Douglas Davis, Gerald O'Grady, Willard van Dyke.
A stream of lectures, pontification, and chance social meetings:
Hans Magnus Enzenberger, Vilem Flusser, Hollis Frampton, Richard
Serra, et al. When Richard Serra was asked his opinion of matters
he put his hand to his chin and said, "Well, actually, I
was trying to decide if this room was a perfect square or not."
Hollis Frampton read his contribution, and an hour or so later
Michael Snow got up and read it again! I hope I don't sound like
I'm putting this conference down. It WAS interesting. I don't
recall if there was a resulting publication. There should have
been, of course.
Video and the Museum. 1974.
The Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York.
David Ross, Jim Harithas.
This particular conference was a bit more lively than Open
Circuits, and featured some interesting art and entertainment
as well as panels. Juan Downey did a macho performance with Carmen
Beuchat, lashing video cables around like whips as he did a furious
dance with his camera and his black leather outfit and boots.
Andy Mann, Ira Schneider, and Frank Gillette also had less aggressive,
but still nice pieces in the Everson for the occasion. There
was a pretty good band and I danced the night away with Lucy
Kostelanetz. Those were the days.
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