Conceptual Art

Hiker, 2003

The camera follows behind a woman on a mountain hike. An alpine peak can be seen in the distance. This piece uses the trope of the horror soundtrack to build a tension that is never released.

Hole, 2002

A portrayal of retail-workers engaged in a repetitive act of hiding merchandise in a hole in the wall.

This title is also available on Sterling Ruby: Interventionist Works 2001-2002.

There are times when concurrent multiple realities of place demand at least an attempt to determine who in fact has, and where is, this place in the sun. Hearts and Helicopters occurs at that moment in the lives of four people.

This title is also available on Lawrence Weiner: Hearts and Helicopters - A Trilogy.

"how looking at what has become the skeletons of photographs is a visual lecture on aesthetic pleasure or emotion. and how being, almost entirely denied of this pleasure, or having the pleasure merely suggested induces a viewer to ruminate on the act of viewing and that of wanting to view. and maybe it is evolution which causes this anxiety and art form."

A celebrated landscape painter hypnotizes through brush stroke and voice.

This title is also available on Sterling Ruby: Interventionist Works 2001-2002.

Turning an ordinary object into a mystical experience, Life Saver Mandala is a short meditation on disintegration. This piece was made in collaboration with Peter Ivers.

Lip Sync, 1969

An upside-down close-up of the artist’s mouth, Nauman repeats the words “lip sync” as the audio track shifts in and out of sync with the video. The disjunction between what is seen and heard keeps the viewer on edge, struggling to attach the sound of the words with the off-kilter movements of Nauman’s mouth.

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

Live in San Diego is my first live performance. David Antin, my mentor when I was a graduate student at the University of California at San Diego, encouraged me to perform in front of an audience. Why? Since my videos directly addressed the camera- why not take the next step and address a live audience?

“I thought perhaps you’d like to see a demonstration of the new massage chair that we just got in. It — the reason for its — it looks revolutionary, it doesn’t look really like a typical massage chair, and that’s because I think Mies van der Rohe had a part, or at least he was a consultant, to the firm that designed this…”. William Wegman opens the video short titled Massage Chair with this grand statement to describe what looks like an ordinary plastic chair. At first the artist’s head is cut from the frame, but he eventually sits down to “demonstrate” the extraordinary qualities of the chair. 

Baldessari presents photographs to his friend Ed Henderson and asks him to reconstruct the meaning of the image. In each case, Baldessari's strategy is to appropriate an existing image and remove it from its context in order to deconstruct the process of interpretation, and call the supposed objectivity of interpretation into question. The tape implicates the viewer in Ed Henderson's groundless exegesis, as he hypothesizes about the meaning of several photographs, speculating on their actual or staged reality.

Performance artist/sculptor Ana Mendieta used the raw materials of nature: water, mud, fire, rock, and grass. The consciousness of her politics and the poetics of her expression fill her work with an emotionally charged vision that is powerfully conveyed in this posthumous video profile. Drawing upon the raw spiritual power of Afro-Cuban religion, Mendieta used her art as a ritualistic and symbolic activity to celebrate the forces of life and the continuum of change.

In the case of Carlos Motta’s career, the impetus has always been on, not adhering to particular medium or a particular style, but rather using media as it becomes appropriate tell a story that has heretofore been stifled by dominant power structures. The technical variability of his work is only matched by its potential to generate conversation and discourse in the arenas of sexuality, gender, democracy and colonialism – usually as a conflux of all four through historical excavation.

Mumble, 1972

Part of an ongoing video correspondence with sculptor Robert Morris, Mumble brings together repeated scenes and gestures, featuring Morris and Jim Benglis (the artist's brother), and a narrative of irrelevant, confusing, and often purposefully untrue, statements. Although the viewer is inclined to accept Benglis's narrative as true, such trust is called into question by her statements about actions taking place off-camera — actions that cannot be verified.

This is not a sight-seeing film, but a poetic journey through light and darkness reflected on the city of New York, where I often found empty spaces and times like Ma in Japanese.  You do not often see the people walking on the streets or in the buildings, but you may feel the air and the light coming and going.  It's not a deserted city, but a city full of energy that is there even without the people.  You see the wind is blowing as the bubbles are floating over Wall Street, then up, up to the sky.  The Sun sets under the Washington Bridge, where all the cars are running slowly like ants s

In this interview, Kori Newkirk (b.1970) describes his interest in the space that exists between categories. Hailing from the Bronx, earning a BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and finally settling on Los Angeles as his base of operations, Newkirk has always been motivated by a desire to eschew provincialism. In this conversation, he discusses the idea of regional identity, his complex relationship with the Los Angeles art community, and how his experience as a student at SAIC helped him move beyond the boundaries of a simple material definition of painting.

Noise, 1972

The earliest of Benglis's videoworks, Noise calls attention to the assemblage element of video by allowing the image to disintegrate into static between edits. Benglis also plays back several generations of image and soundtrack to introduce increasing amounts of distortion. Conversation is reduced to unintelligible noise, resulting in the disassociation of sound and image that to some extent characterizes her later work.

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

Hirsch’s most ambitious film to date and the pinnacle of his trilogy, Nothing New depicts the epic rescue mission of a man whose parachute is caught on electricity power lines. Involving hundreds of participants in a desolate field facing the Jordanian border in the Jordan Valley of Israel, this communal cinematic endeavor aims to re-unite, if only for a brief moment, the collective spirit of the socialist Kibbutz movement in Israel, a movement that has undergone significant ideological modifications.

On Screen, 1972

"Benglis manipulates generations of video footage to confound our sense of time; she implies an infinite regression of time and space — Benglis making faces in front of a monitor of her making faces in front of a monitor of her... ad infinitum. The viewer retains a sense of the images sequentiality, although the sequence of creation is not revealed in a logical, orderly fashion, and is heavily obscured by the random layering and continual repetition of aural and visual components."

Dennis Oppenheim was a prominent figure in various art developments throughout the ’70s. Oppenheim moved through body/performance art and related video work to earthworks to his current large-scale “factories.” In all of his work, the transference of energy is an underlying concern.

Partially Buried explores a web of genealogical traces. In this work the artist probes the notion of sites of memory as well as site-specific work by focusing on the location of Kent, Ohio. Partially Buried references the year 1970 during which the artist Robert Smithson produced his site-specific work, Partially Buried Woodshed at Kent State University. By chance the mother of the child in the video was present also in Kent State in May of that year, studying experimental music. In May of 1970, four students were shot while attending a rally protesting the U.S.

“Video is a fugitive medium,” said Getty Research Institute’s Glenn R. Phillips, and he should know. As curator for California Video, a 2008 at the Getty Museum, he enjoyed the luxury of a massive archive produced during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Most of the tapes, recorded in obsolete formats, were crusted with oxidation, making the work unwatchable and threatening to ruin any deck that would play them. Jonathan Furmanski, an Assistant Conservator at the Institute, describes one particularly unruly video installation, Philo T.

Produced in 1974, and restaged in 2002, near Pilot Butte in southwestern Wyoming.

The artist makes a pilot light using ice, which he has fashioned into a magnifying lens to start a small fire.

This piece was originally shot using 1/2" open reel video and later incorporates edits from DV video.

Primate Cinema: Apes as Family is a drama made expressly for chimpanzees – and the chimps' reaction to its screening at the Edinburgh Zoo. Chimpanzees watch television as a form of enrichment in captivity. But no filmmaker had made a film for a specifically ape audience.

Pryings, 1971

This extraordinary performance carries a wealth of associative meanings in the sexual dynamics of privacy and power -- man and woman pitted against each other in a struggle for mental and physical control.

 "In Pryings, one of his earliest and least verbal tapes, the artist is seen trying to force open and gain entry into any and all of the orifices of a woman's face. His persistence outlasts the running time of the tape, as does the persistence of the woman under attack, who manages to persevere in her attempt to guard her metaphysical privacy."

Ramp, 1980

On a gradually inclined plane, attempts are made to scale the rise, and rubber shoe marks leave evidence of the point where all of humanity fails.

This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.