Critical Writing Index

Curatorial Quirks and the Camera Arts: 1981 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Feb. 1 - April 5

by Marita Sturken

Afterimage, Summer 1981, v. 9, no. 1 & 2, pp. 6-7

A review of the 1981 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney. The author laments the orphan status of video and film art, which are included as their own self-contained categories rather than allowed to permeate the "areas of shared concern"(6) which encompass the other arts into areas of influence and dialogue. She applauds the Biennial for its large film and video programme, which is much more innovative than the inclusions in the staid, painterly photography section. Among the video work, she is struck by Bill Viola and Davidson Gigliotti, whose use of landscapes abstracted by environmental phenomena - heatwaves and distance, respectively - results in a portrait of place that "transcends the level of electronic imagery" (6), entrancing the viewer with images rather than dwelling on the medium. However, she is impressed by Gorewitz's rhythmic and colorized work for its ethereal portraits, emphasizing the diversity of the video art represented rather than a single trend.

ITEM 1981.052 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

PhaseJames Byrne

CreationStan Brakhage

Journeys from Berlin/1971Yvonne Rainer

Grand OperaJames Benning

GloriaHollis Frampton

Magellan CycleHollis Frampton

OtherStan Brakhage

Circus RidersMartha Haslanger

EurekaErnie Gehr

T.Z.Robert Breeze

Lucifer RisingKenneth Anger

Painting Room LightDavid Haxton

Episodic GenerationPaul Sharits

Aransas: Axis of ObservationFrank Gillette

In Real TimeBuky Schwartz

Chott el-Djerid (A Portrait in Light and Heat)Bill Viola

After MontgolfierDavidson Gigliotti

El CoranderoShalom Gorewitz

Delta VisionsShalom Gorewitz

HeartsBarbara Buckner

Lake Placid 80Nam June Paik

Olympic FragmentsKit Fitzgerald

Olympic FragmentsJohn Sanborn

CondomHoward Fried