Early Video Art

Early Video Art is a collection of titles that are central to an understanding of the historical development of video art. This collection includes, but is not limited to, many titles from the original Castelli-Sonnabend collection, the first and most prominent collection of video art assembled in the United States. All of the work in this collection was produced between 1968 and 1980. These works represent important examples of the first experiments in video art, and include conceptual and feminist performances recorded on video, experiments with the video signal, and "guerilla" documentaries representing a counter-cultural view of the historical events of the 1960s and 70s. Many of these tapes represent a desire for a radically redefined television experience that is centered on the innovative, the personal, the political and the non-commercial.
Vasulkas Inc
1982 | 18:40
Summer Salt

This tape is part of a larger work entitled Southwestern Landscapes, a series exploring the landscape surrounding the Vasulkas’ New Mexico home, manipulating space and time through various recording methods. Experimenting with a video...

 

Bill Viola
1977 | 09:07
Sweet Light

Viola has referred to Sweet Light and other tapes from this period as “songs”—personal, lyrical statements. Articulated through precise editing, Sweet Light incorporates symbolic imagery, changes of scale, and a radically mobile...

 

Susan Mogul
1974 | 10:30
Take Off

"I made Take Off in my studio apartment on Myra Avenue during my second year living in Los Angeles. As a member of the Feminist Studio Workshop, I was writing an essay at the time comparing male artists’ representations of their...

 

Teaching a Plant the Alphabet

“[A] rather perverse exercise in futility,” this tape documents Baldessari’s response to Joseph Beuys’s influential performance, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare. Baldessari’s approach here is characteristically subtle and ironic,...

 

Dara Birnbaum
...
1978 | 05:45
Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman

A stutter-step progression of "extended moments" unmasks the technological "miracle" of Wonder Woman's transformation, playing psychological transformation off of television product.

 

Television Delivers People

Television Delivers People is a seminal work in the now well-established critique of popular media as an instrument of social control that asserts itself subtly on the populace through “entertainments,” for the benefit of those in power—...

 

Tetragramaton

Taking its title from the four consonants of the ancient Hebrew name for God, Tetragramaton contemplates the relationship between man, technology, and ecological systems. The sweeping camera movements, sudden changes of scale, and layers...

 

Vito Acconci
1973 | 33:17
Theme Song

In a vile and ingenious way, Acconci pleads with the camera/spectator to join with him, to come to him, promising to be honest and begging, "I need it, you need it, c'mon... look how easy it is." Acconci addresses the viewer as a sexual partner,...

 

There But For

There But For resembles a soap opera; its characters—a couple whose relationship has seen better days, a ball-and-jack playing adult/child, and a couple that comes to visit the family—are in the midst of their day-to-day lives (an...