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James Rosenquist: Forty-seven Dirty Bandaids

Hermine Freed

1972 00:25:40 United StatesEnglishB&WMono4:3Video


Freed documents artist James Rosenquist at home in an East Hampton, N.Y studio in March 1972. Rosenquist and his collaborators work on a project entitled 47 Dirty Band Aids with blaring music dominating the environment while they paint. Somewhat ironically Rosenquist describes each colour for the black and white video as he applies it to a large panel. With the camera roaming between the two of them Freed interrogates Rosenquist in a quieter moment, probing him for the intentions and ultimate destination of his work. They test fog machines that will accompany the paintings at an upcoming exhibition in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s gardens and express some apprehension toward their viability. Rosenquist describes his body of work at this time as paintings consisting of nothing but colour and fog - he claims a reckless approach that is cathartic for him rather than intentional. Freed expresses great familiarity with his painting, perhaps linked to her own history with the medium and keenly pushes her subject to reveal more about his process than it seems he anticipated. This initial interview in Freed’s series of encounters offers an intimate glimpse of the chaos, anticipation and excitement as an artist prepares for a major show - it set the precedent for her further exploration of artists working at the time.

About Hermine Freed

Hermine Freed studied painting at Cornell University and New York University. During the late '60s she taught at NYU, working as program editor for an NYU-sponsored series on art books for WNYC. Assisted by colleague Andy Mann, she began using video to produce a series of contemporary artist portraits, beginning with painter James Rosenquist. Although the program did not meet WNYC's broadcast standards, Freed continued to produce the series, showing the tapes to her students and at other venues. In 1972 she was invited to participate in the groundbreaking exhibition Circuit: A Video Invitational by Everson Museum curator David Ross, whose encouragement led her to explore other aspects of the medium and produce a new body of work. Freed continued to produce both documentaries and artworks exploring female perception and self-image. Art Herstory (1974) was made while she was an artist-in-residence at the Television Lab at WNET. Freed taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York from 1972. She passed away in 1998.