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Curated by Irene Hofmann and co-organized by iCI, New York, and the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore
September 12 through December 28, 2008
Ranging in date from 1966 to 2007, the works in Broadcast make use of one of two strategies: broadcasting and re-broadcasting. The former refers to works that involve an artist intervening into existing broadcasts or broadcasting channels by participating in a live broadcast (either as an invited or uninvited participant) or by creating a broadcast. The latter features the use or manipulation of previously existing TV or radio material. Within each of these strategies, there are two impulses followed by the artists—either an iconoclastic, aggressive position, at times intended to question FCC regulations, or a more cooperative and collaborative position on the other.
While this exhibition focuses primarily on more recent artists' explorations of broadcast themes, Broadcast includes a selection of important early works that traces the development of this increasingly relevant area of artistic production. Some artists in the late 1960s and 1970s began to broadcast on their own, seeking a parallel system to commercial broadcast television, while others began to cooperate with progressive public television stations that invited artists to participate in residency programs.
Artists in this exhibition include:
Doug Hall, Chip Lord and
Nam June Paik
TVTV (Top Value
Some of the first works by the guerrilla television group TVTV were edited at WNET's TV Lab such as the landmark documentary, Four More Years, (1972). An iconoclastic view of the American electoral process, Four More Years is TVTV's irreverent coverage of Richard Nixon's 1972 presidential campaign and the Republican convention in Miami.
In a hostile intervention, Chris Burden's TV Hijack, (1972) was his response to a TV station's repeated rejection of his proposals for TV programming ideas, and was a challenge to what Burden viewed as the control television has on our lives. During a live broadcast on Channel 3 Cablevision in Irvine, California, on February 9, 1972, Burden took his interviewer Phyllis Lutjeans hostage with a small knife held to her throat and threatened her life if the station stopped the live transmission of the incident. At the end of the recording the artist destroyed the tapes of the interview.
Instances of critical reuse of previously broadcasted material include Hostage (1994) by Dara Birnbaum that uses archival media coverage from the 1977 kidnapping of the German industrialist Hanns Martin Schleyer by the Baader Meinhof group, or Antonio Muntadas' The Last Ten Minutes, (1976-77) which studies broadcasting conventions in cities worldwide at different moments in history.
Christian Jankowski's video work, Telemistica, (1999) which was first shown at the 1999 Venice Biennale, features footage from live broadcasts of psychics on local Venetian television stations. Jankowski called a number of these popular shows and posed questions to the psychics and astrologers about how his work would be received at the Biennale. Some of Jankowski's questions include: “What will the public think about my work?” “Will they like it?” “Will I be successful?”
12 Miles Out, (2005) by the artist group neuroTransmitter, explores the practice of offshore pirate radio prevalent in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, and in the US a decade later. Merging analog radio technology with line drawing, this visual and sound installation uses ambient sound and archival audio material broadcast from a transmitter incorporated into the representational drawing of the 1964 host ship of Radio Caroline, one of the most infamous radio ships that occupied international waters off the coast of Great Britain.
Whether appropriating its conventions and programs, or engaging in a live TV or radio broadcast, the artists in this exhibition subvert the authority and influence of a pervasive and powerful medium.
About the Curator
Irene Hofmann is the curator of Broadcast, and the Executive Director of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore. Prior to moving to Baltimore, she was Curator of Contemporary Art at the Orange County Museum of Art, in Newport Beach, California where she was the curator of the museum's New Media “Orange Lounge”, co-curator of the 2002 and 2004 California Biennial, and curator of solo exhibitions by Jason Dodge, Fabrice Gygi, and Marjetica Potrc. From 1996-2001 she served as Curator of Exhibitions at Cranbrook Art Museum where she organized exhibitions with artists such as Buzz Spector, Kutlug Ataman, Mark Dion, Joseph Grigely, and Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle.