The word-based art and performances crafted by world-renowned artist Alison Knowles (b.1933) are central to the 1960s international Fluxus movement and its enduring legacy. Describing her experience as a student at Pratt University in the 1950s where she learned from Richard Lindner and Adolf Gottlieb, Knowles recalls her transition from Abstract Expressionist painting to the chance operations initiated by John Cage and Bertolt Brecht.
Julie Ault is an artist, curator, and founding member of the artist collective Group Material, which has organized exhibitions on themes such as the U.S.’s involvement in Central America, AIDS, education, and mass consumerism. Her exhibitions question traditional gallery and museum systems by asking “how is culture made and for whom?”
The Videofreex tape a group of young people working on a farm run by Chris Locke and his wife in Shandaken, NY. After learning how to take care of the chickens, they are taught how to kill and pluck one. Later they sit down for a communal dinner, and one of the group exclaims "Mmmmm, tastes good!"
Matthew Coolidge is a founder and director of The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), an organization dedicated to raising awareness about how land is apportioned, used and perceived by its inhabitants. Through exhibitions, publications, and guided tours, Coolidge and the CLUI seek to foster and encourage a heightened sense of awareness of natural surroundings. In this interview, Coolidge defines a ‘land art spillover effect,’ in which the perceived significance of the landscape seems to increase the closer people get to a piece of environmental art.
In 1975, the Feminist Studio Workshop (I was a member) at the Woman’s Building in LA, the Women’s Interart Center in New York City, and another feminist organization in Washington DC, attempted to set up a video exchange among feminist art organizations. This was the first videoletter on our end. I don’t know if another one was ever made.
The videoletter is a tour of the Woman’s Building. Pam McDonald, with microphone in hand, another workshop member, and myself, served as guides through the building. It was shot with a black and white video portopack.
This video captures the playfulness of the Videofreex as they frolic in the first snow of 1971. With joyful excitement, David, Bart, Chuck, Nancy and Skip pass the camera back and forth to explore the possibilities for video under the new weather condition offered by flurries. While Nancy tapes, David and Bart create fictional characters stranded after a plane crash. Annie, Francis and the resident dog, Mushroom, join the group for further snowy shenanigans. Later, Bart tries to interview the local snowplow driver for an episode of Lanesville TV, but without success.
In a radical action like Nam June Paik destroying a violin, and rolling up in bandages the bodies of the players in in a concert by Yoko Ono, the international avant-garde group Fluxus changed not only art, but the concept of it.
This extensive interview with California artist Doug Hall (b. 1944) provides unique insight into the culture and politics of experimental artistic production during the 1970s. Discussing the founding of the performance group TR Uthco, Hall offers context for his contribution to the field of video art, and shares stories of his collaborations with Ant Farm, Videofreex, and others. Ranging from his early years as an art student, to his romance with artist Diane Andrews Hall, to reflections on technology in art, this interview importantly extends the discourse surrounding topics of archive, performativity, and autobiography—subjects that have come to define the contours of video art today.
“Trolling for news we call it,” says Bart Friedman a minute into this video, as he pushes down a road the Lanesville TV News Buggy – a baby carriage filled with video equipment, spilling over with wires. The buggy allows for easy transportation of equipment as the Videofreex make their way throughout Lanesville, interviewing residents on their daily activity. Although fairly ordinary – a visit to the lake, a small bit about a neighbor’s new electric golf cart, and an introduction to a newborn baby – the footage has an air of genuineness and all of the interactions are amicable.
On April 6th, 1974, this episode of the Videofreex’s production of Lanesville TV aired, including four segments: a choreographed piece by the Elaine Summers Dancers, a Vietnam tape titled “Where do you get your money?,” several phone conversations with local audience members, and a comical interview with a fictional fish, Sam Trouta.
Timely concerns about the future of video, artists’ complicity in the money making system of the ‘establishment,’ and the effect of the camera’s presence on personal encounters, is discussed and debated in this late night video produced by David Cort, Chuck Kennedy, and Skip Blumberg.
A Videofreex performance. Bart Friedman plays the pump organ and David Cort sings. He asks Bart to "Play something that I can laugh to," and much laughter ensues. Then, "because of American society," there is a sad song, and much wailing ensues.