How's Tricks

1976 | 00:34:00 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: Media Analysis, Performance, Video History

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There is a crudeness to How's Tricks, Benglis's first venture into narrative fiction. No attempt is made to hide the mechanics of making the tape. At one point, while Benglis and [Stanton] Kaye argue about the tape they are making of [Bobby] Reynolds (a real-life carny who also appears in The Amazing Bow-Wow), Kaye is seen reaching over to turn off the video recorder — and thus the scene ends...

The Nixon footage exposes the media structure that props up public personae, thus revealing the disjuncture between the media's presentation and the behind-the-scenes reality. How's Tricks points out how easily television's 'magic box' is able to distort and deceive. The glee and transparency with which the magic tricks are presented also points to the willingness by which a captive audience is misled."

— Carrie Przybilla, "Synopses of Videotapes", Lynda Benglis: Dual Natures (Atlanta: High Museum of Art, 1991)

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