Vito Acconci (b. 1940) is known as a conceptual designer, installation and performance artist. In the 1960s he embraced performance in order to "define my body in space, find a ground for myself, an alternate ground from the page ground I had as a poet." Acconci’s early performances, including Claim (1971) and Seedbed (1972), were extremely controversial, transgressing assumed boundaries between public and private space and between audience and performer.
Dennis Adams (b. 1948) is an American conceptual artist whose work includes photography, text, and installation. Adams is best known for his projects involving structures placed in urban bus shelters, uncompromisingly inserted into the public sphere. These politically charged photographs and their accompanying texts are not used to make overtly ideological statements, but are open-ended in ways that challenge viewers to test their own convictions.
This video presents a history of alternative spaces in New York City during the late 1960s and early 1970s, focusing on two galleries that no longer exist. The work produced in these two spaces forms the basis of the New Museum of Contemporary Art’s 1981 exhibition Alternatives in Retrospect: An Overview 1969-1975. Curator Jacki Apple, who produced the video, assembled documentation from the galleries and reconstructed artworks for the exhibition.
A documentary about Holt’s public installation work Dark Star Park in Arlington, Virginia, this video is about the process of developing and building the park. It includes commentary from the architects, contractors, foremen, and engineers who worked on the project, as well as with people who frequent the park. Holt transforms a site of urban blight into an aesthetically stimulating spot that addresses environmental issues.
This project on family violence, spanned two years and several sites across the country, and involved wrecked cars in sculptural installations. The cars were reconfigured by women and children who suffered violence at the hands of loved ones. Linked to each other through common experience, women from a domestic violence shelter in Pittsburgh, a family violence program at Bedford Hills prison, children from shelters in Niagara Falls and Cleveland, teenage girls in Oakland, and politicians on Staten Island all collaborated in making the cars.
During her graduate studies at Hunter College, Alice Aycock (b. 1946) began to forge links between personal and more inclusive subject matter and form. In her quest for contemporary monuments, Aycock wrote her Master’s thesis on U.S. highway systems. Aycock’s large environmental sculptures create intense psychological atmospheres. Although she uses primitive rites and architecture as sources, her implementation of contemporary materials removes those specific connotations.
Blood and Guts in High School features actress Stephanie Vella in a series of video installations* that re-imagine punk-feminist icon Kathy Acker's book of the same title. The book received noteriety from 1978-1982 during the rise of Reagan republicanism and the emergence of punk rock. In Parnes' interpretation, each video-chapter presents a typical scene in the life of Janie bracketed by U.S. news events from the time period in which the book was written.
Video Data Bank is proud to present the wonderful work of artist Laura Parnes. This two-volume box set features four video works that highlight her interest in the deconstruction of narrative film conventions, including her reimagining of Kathy Acker's 1984 novel, Blood and Guts in High School. Included in the set is a 44-page monograph containing an essay on the collection and interview with Parnes by writer and novelist Chris Kraus.
Judy Chicago (b.1939) is an artist, author, feminist, educator, and intellectual whose career now spans four decades. In 1974, Chicago turned her attention to the subject of women’s history to create her best known work, The Dinner Party, which was executed between 1974 and 1979 with the participation of hundreds of volunteers. This monumental multimedia project, a symbolic history of women in western civilization, has been seen by more than one million viewers during its 16 exhibitions held at venues spanning six countries.
Matthew Coolidge is a founder and director of The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), an organization dedicated to raising awareness about how land is apportioned, used and perceived by its inhabitants. Through exhibitions, publications, and guided tours, Coolidge and the CLUI seek to foster and encourage a heightened sense of awareness of natural surroundings. In this interview, Coolidge defines a ‘land art spillover effect,’ in which the perceived significance of the landscape seems to increase the closer people get to a piece of environmental art.
Berlin-based Danish artist Olafur Eliasson complicates and simulates perception through his installations, sculptures, and photographs. He has created disorienting artificial illuminations and reproduced natural phenomena such as clouds, glaciers and the sun through large-scale, high-tech installations.
This installation is based on the re-enactment of Franz Kafka’s allegory "Before the Law", interpreted live over a telephone line by Katharine Gun. Gun was a translator (specializing in Chinese to English translations), working with the British secret service, who chose to leak information compromising the U.S. and U.K. governments in their push for a U.N. resolution for the invasion of Iraq.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles — drones — have become an everyday feature of contemporary military activity, replacing humans in reconnaissance flights, small-scale combat missions and covert operations. The U.S. Army operates some ten thousands UAVs — a six-fold increase during Obama's term — deploying them over locations like Pakistan and Yemen.