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.
Barbara Aronofsky Latham, Curtain: An Untold Story

In this video, the unseen narrator describes her inability to communicate to the camera what she wants to say and to whom she wants to say it. The curtain is the central metaphor for the piece, representing how Latham hides behind the video...

 

Lynda Benglis
1973 | 13:44
Discrepancy

This structurally simple video, shot through Benglis's apartment window, contains a, "distinct disjuncture between the visual and aural components of the work. The viewer, initially presented with a contemplative view of nature, is frequently...

 

Joan Jonas
1974 | 15:00
Disturbances

Jonas uses reflections on a lake as a mirror to displace reality, creating a disruption and the illusion of presence.

“Disturbances begins with a Symbolist-like image of two women, dressed in white, seen only as reflections in water.…...

 

Divided Alto

Utilizing a four-way split screen, Divided Alto documents Landry’s improvised flute performance—focusing on the harmonics of the instrument as he plays double and triple chords. The camera centers on the elements that make the music—the...

 

Do You Believe in Water?

The performers are seated around a pink octagonal table on pink, violet, and silver cinder blocks. One performer (Robert Stearns) stands up, recites the credits for the piece, and then says, “Do you believe in water? Robert Stearns.” He claps and...

 

Lynda Benglis
1972 | 06:08
Document

With Benglis standing in front of a photograph of herself, which is then affixed to a monitor bearing her image, the notion of "original" is complicated—making the viewer acutely aware of the layers of self-images and layers of "self" that are...

 

Domination and the Everyday

Rosler calls Domination and the Everyday, with its fragmented sounds, images, and crawling text, an artist-mother's This Is Your Life. Throughout this work, we hear—but do not see—a mother and small child at dinner and bedtime...

 

Lawrence Weiner
1974 | 23:00
Done To

Done To (alternately titled It Is, Done To) consists of simple still-frames accompanied by a complex, incongrous soundtrack, or silence. There are instances where image and sound coalesce; however, the majority of the images are...

 

Down in the Rec Room

Like all of Smith’s videotapes, Down in the Rec Room is based on a performance that finds Mike once again all dressed up with nowhere to go. Smith mimes along with a children’s “let’s play make believe” record, and then repeats the...