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Then, Not Nauman: Conceptualists of the Early Seventies

Wednesday, April 4, 2007
7:30 p.m. The Medium Is

Works by Lynda Benglis, Peter Campus, Hermine Freed, Dan Graham, Richard Serra

With its instantaneous feedback and image manipulation, video technology creates a nowness of perception along with the distraction offered by any good spectacle. In Now, Lynda Benglis's first color tape, the eponymous word is repeated, questioning the currency and the command. Then, over-driving the color image, Benglis collapses the notion of the medium as neutral. Wearing headphones in Richard Serra's Boomerang, Nancy Holt repeats phrases that are heard, then heard again in delay. The effect is of feedback effectively devouring its own message. Using a split screen in Two Faces, Hermine Freed faces herself, caressing her mirrored image. Suspended between images, Freed exists as a doubled person, alienated and adrift. Recorded in San Francisco, Dan Graham's Performer/Audience/Mirror is a study of mediated relations, a mirror standing in for the TV as the artist describes the audience before him. The circularity of the exchange captures the phenomenology of feedback. In Peter Campus's seminal tape Three Transitions, inherent properties of the medium become potent metaphors for the depiction of internal states and the breach between reality and illusion.

—Steve Seid

Now (Lynda Benglis, 1973, 12 mins, Color, Mini-DV, From VDB). Boomerang (Richard Serra, 1974, 10.5 mins, B&W, DVD, From The Museum of Modern Art, New York). Two Faces (Hermine Freed, 1972, 8 mins, B&W, Mini-DV, From VDB). Performer/Audience/Mirror (Dan Graham, 1975, 23 mins, B&W, DVD, From EAI). Three Transitions (Peter Campus, 1973, 5 mins, Color, Mini-DV, From EAI).

• (Total running time: 59 mins, U.S.)