Early Video Art

Early Video Art is a collection of titles that are central to an understanding of the historical development of video art. This collection includes, but is not limited to, many titles from the original Castelli-Sonnabend collection, the first and most prominent collection of video art assembled in the United States. All of the work in this collection was produced between 1968 and 1980. These works represent important examples of the first experiments in video art, and include conceptual and feminist performances recorded on video, experiments with the video signal, and "guerilla" documentaries representing a counter-cultural view of the historical events of the 1960s and 70s. Many of these tapes represent a desire for a radically redefined television experience that is centered on the innovative, the personal, the political and the non-commercial.
Nothing To Lose

Footage from a performance produced at Forum en Scene in Middleburg, Holland of the players continually enacting the same tasks. Nothing To Lose opens with a young, androgynous sailor standing between two buildings, while the song...

 

Lynda Benglis
Now
1973 | 11:45
Now

Throughout the video, Benglis asks "Now?" and "Do you wish to direct me?" and repeats commands like "Start the camera" and "I said start recording." As in On Screen, she makes faces and sounds in reply to the images on a monitor; at one...

 

Nancy Angelo + 1 other
1976 | 20:28
Nun and Deviant

A classic example of feminist performance videos of the 1970s, which often incorporated autobiography, expansion of self through personae, and assertions of a new identity for women. In Nun and Deviant the performers come to happier...

 

On Death and Dying

Three nuns in dark sunglasses sit at a table playing cards while a nurse is inteviewed about "what death looks like” on the soundtrack. As the nurse speaks, in medical detail, of death as a natural process, the nuns sit with party hats on their...

 

Lynda Benglis
1972 | 07:45
On Screen

"Benglis manipulates generations of video footage to confound our sense of time; she implies an infinite regression of time and space — Benglis making faces in front of a monitor of her making faces in front of a monitor of her... ad infinitum....

 

On Subjectivity (About TV)

On Subjectivity examines how information is disseminated, how people read, screen, and interpret images; how mechanisms function and articulate information. How are we affected by what the networks choose to give us, and how do we choose...

 

Vito Acconci
1974 | 09:10
Open Book

Acconci's open mouth is framed by the camera in an extreme close-up, bringing the viewer uncomfortably close. A desperate sense of strained urgency comes across as Acconci gasps, "I'll accept you, I won't shut down, I won't shut you out.... Im...

 

Passage to the North

Passage To The North is a companion film to Plowman's Lunch. It is set in the same location as Altered To Suit, and some of the players appear for a second or third time—Coosje van Bruggan and Kirsten Vibeke Thueson...

 

Lawrence Weiner, Plowman's Lunch

Plowman's Lunch is called a documentary because its intent was to explore actual occurrences—be these the building of the work, or what befalls the players. It still uses an open form, but the characters are more developed; they have "...