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Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area

Sunday, January 23, 2011
5:30 p.m. Post-Conceptual Performance: Video, 1977 to 1997

Tony Labat and Anne McGuire in Person

By the mid-seventies, the concept of the artist’s body as medium had evolved from arid performance to effusive provocation. Tony Labat emerged in 1977 with the remarkable series Solo Flight in which the artist’s identity is given sudden form through subtle ethnic gestures. With pithy performances like Laurie Sings Iggy and the Madonna Series, Leslie Singer took on the celebrity industry with an economy of parodic impersonation and food flinging. In These Are the Rules, Doug Hall enacted an authoritarian pose to deflate the power vested in political symbols. Where Cecilia Dougherty dismisses the patrimony of past mentors with her remake of Howard Fried’s Fuck You, Purdue, Jordan Biren reinstates The Body as a nervous engine of desire. Finally, Anne McGuire’s tortured evocation of psychic disarray, I Am Crazy and You’re Not Wrong, gives way to the frantic activation of domestic space in the HalfLifers’s highly caloric Actions in Action.

Solo Flight (Tony Labat, 1977, excerpts, 20 mins, B&W, Video, PFA Collection). Laurie Sings Iggy (Leslie Singer, 1987, 4 mins, Color, Video, PFA Collection). Fuck You, Purdue (Cecilia Dougherty, 1987, 12 mins, B&W, Video, PFA Collection). These Are the Rules (Doug Hall, 1983, 4:39 mins, Color, Video, From EAI). My Life as a Godard Film by Whitney Houston (Leslie Singer, 1988, 4 mins, Color, Video, PFA Collection). The Body (Jordan Biren, 1990, 15 mins, B&W, Video, PFA Collection). The Madonna Series: 1-5 (Leslie Singer, 1987, 4 mins, Color, Video, PFA Collection). I Am Crazy and You’re Not Wrong (Anne McGuire, 1997, 11 mins, B&W, Video, From the artist). Actions in Action (HalfLifers, 1997, 10 mins, Color, Video, From the artist).

—Steve Seid

• Total running time: c. 80 mins