"Stay Tuned"
July 25 - September 10 1981
"The title of this exhibition was selected because it suggested two things. For those artists who have worked with video as a singular investigation, it suggests a prevailing attitude of keeping their ideas sharp and a flexibility necessary for those who continually seek to renew and expand their creative enterprises. For those who have more recently ventured into the world of video with the possibility of further exploration, the title offers an imperative to the viewers to continue to watch for future works in video by these artists. Ultimately, for all eight of the artists in this exhibition the experience of realizing works that use video has been of lasting value and will inevitably nourish new ideas and fresh insights in their work in the years to come." Ned Rifkin, Stay Tuned catalogue. “ This exhibition examined the influence of video in expanding the sensibilities of eight contemporary artist better known for their work in other media, who share a common use of video as a means of escaping the confines of their earlier art form and enlarging the scope of their work…Video tapes were juxtaposed with the [artists’] earlier work.” -From The New Museum Annual Report, 1981-1984 “Cumming is best known for his photographs of deceptive situations, constructing elaborate tableaux with fabricated sculptural props employed as subjects for his photographs. In one of his three videotapes (‘Line Refinements for the Pen,’ 1976) he uses several artificial writing implements which he has devised. These include the ‘seven-pen lining device;’ a large cardboard pen point form which four smaller points can be extended in sequence; and a pair of arm-sized metal pen points (which are to be dipped in buckets of paint strapped to the artist’s legs). Cumming’s wry sense of humor, his concern with props and ‘stage sets,’ and his use of dramatic lighting are evident in both his video and other works. Frazier’s interest in the projected images began 30 years ago when he studied drawing at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles with Don Graham, then head of Disney Studios. His animation drawings led to kinetic sculpture for which he became well known in the early 1960’s Frazier’s video piece, ‘Illumination’ (1976), represents a significant crystallization of his evolving consciousness of the process of perception. His imagery illustrates the merging of information and gradual process of its transformation. ‘Illumination’ is in three parts, all of which uses a flame or burning image…All of the images change from a geometric to an organic shape, often creating a vivid sense of landscape. His pastel drawings also evoke a landscape, with diffuse light filtering throughout. Music is extremely important to Frazier, and he includes both Western and Chinese classical pieces on the soundtrack. Eno’s medium is music…Eno uses the recording studio as his instrument and has expanded the breadth of his recording work form purely sonic art to an audio-visual form by composing video imagery coupled with original music. He creates what he calls ‘ambient music’ and explains that it is ‘intended to induce calm and a place to think.’ “Two of Tepper’s videotapes…are extremely humorous satirical sketches in which he portrays two different women—a southern belle adulating and artist at a social gathering, and an ’art collector’ requesting changes in a painting she has just purchased. He lip synchs two monologues by the late stage and radio entertainer Ruth Draper…Tepper’s third piece…”another Night of Dreams’ is based on the entries on a woman’s dairy which he found in a transient hotel in San Francisco…Tepper’s ‘grid’ drawings of inanimate objects…include daily notations of his activities while creating the work. Lipski, known for ‘Gathering Dust,’ a piece begun in 1973, and for his site sculptures, has also don several video pieces. In ‘Art Exercises’ (1977), he leads the viewer in various movements that require extereme dexterity and endurance. While there is a certain intensity and strain in the performance of these exercises, humor is also present…Since the completion of ‘Art Exercises,” significant changes have surfaced in Lipski’s sculptural works…As opposed to the earlier work’s uniformity of presentation, the new pieces display a freedom of placement, occupying both floor and wall spaces. ‘Free, White and 21’ (1980) is Pindell’s only video work to dated, This work is a radical departure in subject matter, style and to a large degree, disposition from her previous work. In this respect, she has chosen the most succinct manner by which and artist can make a statement—using herself as directly as possible. Pindell begins the piece by recounting racist incidents that have structured her life. She portrays both herself and a ‘white’ woman, by appearing in whiteface and a blonde wig. As Pindell discusses these incidents, from her childhood through recent years, the ‘white’ woman continually challenges the validity of her statements and position in a condemning and assaulting manner. The techniques she uses on the video, such as quick, silent intercutting of close-ups. Create an extremely personal yet universally accessible essay on racial attitudes on the world at large and in the art world in particular. The videotape ‘Slap Pals’ (1980), similar to much of Rifka’s work manifests a subtle yet deliberate dualism. Made in collaboration with Julius Kozlowski, the take is like one of Rifka’s paintings or collages brought to life. The rhythm and motion intrinsic to her plastic works seem to pulse through each of the seven segments of the tapes, animating her characteristic universal shapes and figures. While deceptively lively and upbeat in style and rhythm, the subject matter of Rifka’s art is foreboding. Laced with jet bombers in radar scopes, collisions, references to heroin, and crippled figures in wheelchairs, the subjects seem camouflages in simple cut-out shapes and press-type lettering that move across the screen. ‘Slap-Pals’ was originally conceives and produced for playback on video screens in such New York City clubs as Danceteria and the Mudd Club. Ruppersber’s single video work is entitled ‘A Lecture on Houdini (For Terry Allen),’ 1973. Rupperberg, while restrained in a straight jacket, sits in a chair and reads form separate pages placed on a table in front of him. He is reading about significant events spanning the life of Houdini. As the reading progresses, great anxiety is produced through a combination of the incidents described and Ruppersberg’s restrained physical state.” -From The New Museum Press Release, July 21, 1981
New Museum curator
Courtesy the Artist and New Museum