Performance

1970
Acconci, Vito, Sounding, Board

Acconci literally feels the music in this tape as he lays down on speakers playing jazz. The sound pulses through his body while a collaborator massages his nude back in time with the music, occasionally striking Acconci like a rhythm instrument.

This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.

1972
Videofreex, Soup in Cup

A Japanese Kabuki-influenced performance piece, shot in the woods in Winter. A masked woman emerges from a snowy forest and approaches a stone dwelling, where another woman is waiting.  The pair enact a tea ceremony in silence. 

In the next scene the tea tray appears in the road, and then disappears after a car passes.  Image processing magic.

Please note, production year is approximate.

2015
Spectacle: A Portrait of Stuart Sherman, Robin Deacon

“We lose good artists to the past all the time because their work was ephemeral, or difficult, or fashion wasn’t on their side. The performance artist Stuart Sherman, who died of AIDS in 2001, was a candidate for disappearance on all three counts.” 

— New York Times, 2009

1990
Sphinxes Without Secrets

Sphinxes Without Secrets is an energetic and transgressive acount of outstanding female performance artists, and an invaluable document of feminist avant-garde work of the 70s and 80s. No Mona Lisa smiles here, as performance artists spill their guts about what outrages and delights them. Performers, curators, and critics unravel the mysteries of a new art form and ponder the world women confront today. Since its inception, performance art has provided a forum for artists who create work that challenges the dominant aesthetic and cultural status quo.

2007
Smells Like Teen Spirit

Patti Smith asked if I would do a short film to accompany the release of her version of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. As neither of us are fans of the music video format or industry, we approached the project as a short film, with no lip sync, that would simply try to get at the heart of her version of the song. I shot in Super 8 film and pulled a few things from my archive. The film is a domestic portrait of Patti and her son, Jackson. William Blake was invited in the form of a plaster cast of his death mask.

1970
Spit Sandwich

Spit Sandwich is a compilation of 19 comical and entertaining works from the master of deadpan. Experiments with the video signal combine with visual jokes and one-liners to hilarious effect. Includes: II got . .Spit Sandwich is a compilation of 19 comical and entertaining works from the master of deadpan. Experiments with the video signal combine with visual jokes and one-liners to hilarious effect. Includes: II got . .

1989
A Spy in the House that Ruth Built

Thinking of herself as a spy assigned by the female sex, Green reinterprets baseball’s symbolism—its womblike landscape, its cycles and rituals—and constructs an iconography that pays homage to the female. In one magnificent montage, numerous phallic symbols pass by as Green sees the real purpose of the game: baseball is the only sport about returning home—and where is home...? In a mother’s belly. With humor and irony, Green creates a tape that is both a personal revelation and a heretical portrait. 

1968
Stamping in the Studio

From an inverted position, high above the floor, the camera records Nauman’s trek back and forth and across the studio; his stamping creates a generative rhythm reminiscent of native drum beats or primitive dance rituals. However, Nauman is not participating in a social rite or communal ritual—he is completely individualized. Isolated in his studio, his actions have no apparent reason or cause beyond his aesthetic practice.

This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.

2001
The Stench of Satan

An All-American boy and girl are swept into an international intrigue of demonic content as items cursed with the stench of Satan make their way to a museum dedicated to the spiritual overthrow of family values. Loaded with romance, thrills, and exotic adventures, this electronic tele-play, with its colorful moments of scenic horror, leads the viewer on a fast-paced voyage that speeds through the ruins of Egypt, the jungles of equatorial erotica, and the puritanical Wonderland of Middle America.

2018
Stephen Varble: A Lecture by David Getsy

Stephen Varble (1946-1984) staged gender-confounding costume performances on the streets of 1970s Manhattan, and became infamous for his anti-commercial disruptions of galleries, banks, and boutiques. In 1978, he retreated from this public work to focus on the making of an epic, unfinished piece of video art, Journey to the Sun, until his death in the first days of 1984. Lush, ribald, and unorthodox, the video mixed non-narrative costume performances with a surrealist fable of a messianic martyr, the Warbler.

1993
Story of Ruthy

Made with my students at the San Francisco Art Institute, this video drama explores the thrills and terrors of the Big Top as a travelling circus comes to town bringing with it the promise of cotton candy, eternal youth, and high-flying beefcake. A mother and son become enmeshed in a web of sin and sawdust, licorice and lust, as a town confronts its own hideous image in a maze of mirrors at a carnival of lost and found souls. 

1996
Suji's House of Shame

Male escorts and crytozoologists battle behemoths and bulemics in this student-teacher collaboration about undying evil and those that escape it via the LOVE CANAL.

2014
Mike Kuchar, Summer's Sins

... There is a garden in the dark hunger of his psyche where forbidden fruit grows.

— Mike Kuchar

2014

The Surface Tension Trilogy is comprised of three experimental videos tracking the rise and fall of the Weimar Era in Berlin through the perspectives of Frida Kahlo & Anita Berber, Hannah Hoch, and Leni Riefenstahl & Eva Braun, each of them women who lived and worked in the city at this time.

1995
Surveying the First Decade: Video Art and Alternative Media in the U.S.  1968-19

Since its original release in 1995, this comprehensive two-volume, eight-program package on the history of experimental and independent video curated by Christine Hill was available only on VHS tape. The DVD launch brings this essential tool for the understanding of the development of media arts to a whole new generation of teachers, libraries, students and researchers.