Portrait

In Dani Leventhal's video, 17 New Dam Rd., we are invited along on a house visit with a familial group. There's trash in the garden, guns on the sofa, and marshall arts in the living room. A photo session records a young woman throwing punches at a man, playacting for the camera, but sweating anyway. A kitten ignores the bullets littered on the ground. Despite the foregrounding of violent pursuits, lost teeth and pool hall fights, there's a rough camaraderie here, a feeling of loyalty and belonging.

Mexican video artist Ximena Cuevas documented the preparations and opening of the Marina Abramovic Videoinstalaciones exhibit at Mexico City's Laboratorio Arte ALameda, the first Abramovic exhibition ever to take place in Mexico, in November of 2008.  Cuevas captures the self proclaimed "performance grandmother" in a number of personal and performative moments as she readies for the opening.

A brief visit with a graduate student in the painting department of the art college where Kuchar teaches and the discussion that follows the unveiling of his work. Stroll through a gallery of acryllic-rendered innocence gone awry and the yo-yo generation in heat.

A son discreetly records fleeting moments in his parents’ suburban home. An intimate portrait of a stable life lived according to the rules of society.

amaurosis, 2002

amaurosis is an experimental documentary about Dat Nguyen, a blind guitarist living in Little Saigon, Orange County, California. Dat Nguyen was a "triple outcast": blind, Amerasian, and an impoverished orphan. His American father left Viet Nam in 1973, and his mother died in 1975. Living on the streets of Saigon, he sold lottery tickets for food money. At the age of 12, Dat met a classical music teacher who was also blind and who taught him to read Braille as well as supported him.

A musical portrait of Vic Chesnutt and company recording the song, CHAIN.

The piece was shot during the recording session for the album, At the Cut, at the Hotel2Tango studio in Montreal, and features appearances by musicians including Efrim Menuck, Guy Picciotto, Jessica Moss, and Chad Jones. CHAIN was written by Chesnutt after viewing Cohen's feature film of that name.

A cold stone structure stands in frigid defiance to the moral decay which shrivels the leaves of erect extensions to the human lust for creative expression. This video portrait of art in the making and cats on the prowl will let out of the bag a Pandora's mix of cat chow and chit chat befitting upright blokes.

This video features California artists: drawer and painter Deanne Belinoff, sculptor and poet Sana Krusoe, wood relief carver and painter Palema Holmes, and New York-based video artist Shirley Clark.

The Artists: Part 1 was produced in concert with the exhibition Four Solo Exhibitions at the Long Beach Museum of Art in 1988. The artists are introduced by LBMA’s senior curator Josine Ianco-Starrels. The video presents and contrasts the diverse styles, media, and personalities of these four women artists.

Atomic Ed & the Black Hole tells the story of a scientist-turned-atomic junk collector known as Atomic Ed. More than 30 years ago, Ed quit his job making “better” atomic bombs and he began collecting what he calls “nuclear waste,” non-radioactive high-tech discards from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. As the self-appointed curator of an unofficial museum of the nuclear age called “The Black Hole,” Atomic Ed reveals and preserves a history of government waste that was literally thrown in a trash heap.

Spanish subtitled version available.

CB, 2011

CB is an experimental bio-pic: its heroine, Charlotte Brontë. A collaboration between Doug Ischar and Tom Daws, CB was commissioned by the Laumeier Museum, St. Louis, for their inaugural Nightlight series.

A young man in self imposed exile sits at the edge of the known world, looking "beyond" and looking within! 

From 1970 to 1972, Arthur Ginsberg and Video Free America recorded the private life of a not-so-average American couple-Carel Row and Ferd Eggan. She is a porn actress and filmmaker; he is a bisexual junkie. The video verite camera captures the desires and frustrations of their evolving relationship and their responses to the ongoing videotaping exercise. The tape, a study in "the effect of living too close to an electronic medium," reveals attitudes and discussions that also render it a fascinating social document of the west coast counterculture.

Stephen Varble (1946-1984) staged gender-confounding costume performances on the streets of 1970s Manhattan, and he became infamous for his anti-commercial disruptions of galleries, banks, and boutiques. In 1978, he retreated from this public work to focus on the making of an epic, unfinished piece of video art, Journey to the Sun, until his death in the first days of 1984. Lush, ribald, and unorthodox, the video mixed non-narrative costume performances with a surrealist fable of a messianic martyr, the Warbler.

Uncomfortable journeys through the work and ideas of Christopher Cozier, a leading contemporary artist in the Caribbean. The video presents Cozier's witty and incisive drawings, installations and videos in the context of post-independence Trinidad with its oil-rich economy, complicated ethnic politics, and vibrant cultural forms.

A portrait of Luce Vigo, film critic, educator, and the daughter of pivotal French filmmaker Jean Vigo. Commissioned by the Spanish documentary festival, Punto de Vista, the film incorporates Luce's memories of her extraordinary life, reflections on her father, and images of Northern Spain.

Gay Tape: Butch and Femme is Cecilia Dougherty's first video work. She was immersed in two things at the time: making artwork, and being a part of the Oakland, California lesbian bar scene. The tape is the child of those two activities. Dougherty asked her friends, Ann and Joanne, and her girlfriend at the time, Rosa, to speak on camera about dating and the emergence of butch-femme relationships, which alluded to not so much a regression to old-time lesbian subculture, as to a quotation of those times, and an appreciation of that kind of lesbian eroticism.

“A soldier’s trip to Syria is complicated when he accidentally impregnates a friend. Meanwhile, a horse breeder from Ohio is driven away from home by her own desire to become pregnant. In Hard as Opal the lines between truth and fiction, fact and fantasy, are reined in and treated not as fixed, divisive markers but as malleable threads of narrative potential. Buckhiester and Leventhal perform alongside other non-actors who are filmed in their own varying domestic and professional environments.

A portrait of a studio photographer, Her + Him VAN LEO also examines the photography of the 1940s and 50s from a critical perspective rather than a nostalgic one. This documentary utilizes traditional portrait photography and video in a dialogue between two media: crafted black and white print, and the electronically colored and manipulated screen. This dialog comments on the transformations in art practices and terminologies, and evokes some of the social/urban/political transformations that took place in Egypt over 50 years of its recent history.

Sable Elyse Smith's How We Tell Stories to Children is a single channel video that combines found footage, music clips, and audio of the artist reading with video clips of her father recording himself from prison. Focal points and significant moments seem to always occur just offscreen, or quickly flash away.

Matt Wolf returns to Joe Brainard's iconic poem I Remember (1970) in this videowork. His archival montage combines audio recordings of Brainard reading from the poem, as well as an interview with his lifelong friend and collaborator, the poet Ron Padgett. The result is an inventive biography of Joe Brainard, and an elliptical dialog about friendship, nostalgia, and the strange wonders of memory.

J. Morgan Puett is an internationally renowned artist living on a 95-acre compound in the deciduous forests of northeastern Pennsylvania. Touching on ideas of creative domestication, radical pedagogy, and a critical engagement with one’s environment, Ms. Puett describes her unique home, which she calls Mildred’s Lane.

“It (J. Morgan Puett: A Practice of Be(e)ing) tells a unique story of an important artist that truly lives her art. It’s an exclusive biography of a woman who is widely known to the art world but, as yet, undiscovered by our culture.”

—Roderick Angle

 

Joe, 2018

A portrait of New York author Joe Westmoreland. Joe is reading from his short story Sweet Baby Joe. This video was shot in 2014 in Joe's Chelsea loft, and the reading was recorded in 2016. 

"Between March 1972 and February 1977, the Videofreex aired 258 television broadcasts from a home-built studio and jerry-rigged transmitter in an old boarding house they rented in the tiny Catskill Mountain hamlet of Lanesville. It was a revolutionary act in defiance of FCC regulations — the first unlicensed TV station in America."

Lay Bare, 2012

"It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances" wrote Oscar Wilde. Lay Bare is a composite portrait of the human body, revealing it as it is only rarely seen in the most intimate relationships we have with our family or our lovers -- erotic and comic, beautiful and vulnerable.

Music, sound design and mixed by Andy Cowton

Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.

 

A collaboration with writer Luc Sante made in Tangier, Morocco, a city where neither of us had ever been. En route from the airport to the city center, we found ourselves amazed by the landscape outside of the car windows; a massive construction project under way in all directions. While not in itself unusual, we were by struck dumb by the epic scale and seemingly incomprehensible plan of the development and were drawn to return together to this puzzling zone.

-- Jem Cohen