By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
There’s a live in-studio performance by the beloved L.A. post-punk band Monitor (as yet unissued on CD), Suzanne Lacy reading police-blotter reports of recent sexual assaults on women in L.A., near-psychotic verbal riffing by Jim “Hippies Are Living Proof That a Nigger’ll Fuck a Dog” Roche, a prescient hourlong lecture by media-democracy visionary Gene Youngblood, an “opera” for car horns and windshield wipers performed by Ant Farm in the Sydney Opera House parking lot, an artist posing as a veterinarian and dispensing spurious advice, and eight minutes of “dead air” (silence — the greatest sin in conventional broadcast wisdom) by Barton Patrick Bolin. There’s exquisite new music from Jim Fox and the Improvisers Orchestra, Musica Veneris Nocturna, and Bruce Fier, as well as more-difficult listening from the LAFMS, Hermann Nitsch, and Duncan, who performs a Reichian breathing exercise live on air naked!
The survival of the master tapes was a small miracle — during a panel discussion at the Getty featuring Duncan, McCarthy, sometime collaborator Nancy Buchanan and curator Glenn Phillips, Otis poetry guru and late-’70s KPFK cultural-affairs director Paul Vangelisti recounted the ongoing internecine struggles at the countercultural broadcast stronghold.
“There was a group at the radio station — myself among them — that believed that what was progressive artistically was progressive politically. The other group, which was a different kind of group on the left, didn’t necessarily believe that, and that was the basis of constant bickering, and a few times I had to say, ‘If they go, I go.’ ”
The final straw was Chris Burden’s second, hourlong performance, Send Me Your Money, during which he relentlessly repeated a request for the public to “imagine that I asked everyone listening to send me money — to send it directly to me. It would be such a small sacrifice for all of you, and it could really do something for me, if you could just send it directly to me, Chris Burden, 823 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, California 90291.” A blatant violation of then-current FCC regulations for nonprofit media, it gave the anti-Close faction the excuse they needed.
“When we were kicked off the station that day,” recalled McCarthy, “we were going out the door and I said, ‘Well, what about the tapes?’ and the person who was the head of KPFK said, ‘Take ’em — we don’t want ’em!’ and I kind of shuffled these cardboard boxes to my studio. I offered them to MOCA, MOMA, Long Beach Museum, and no one wanted these tapes. And it went that way for 25 years.”
But, hey, all’s well that ends well, right? While John Duncan’s 2001 tussle with the Swedes over a revoked residency (again provoked by Blind Date!) shifted some art-world sympathies in his favor, what could be a more public retraction of his pariah status than being feted at the Getty? And the GRI — which also ended up with the Long Beach Museum’s legendary neglected video archive — is probably the best home for this material. After the Internet. After actual publicly broadcast radio waves.
EVIDENCE OF MOVEMENT | Getty Research Institute, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles | Through October 7
CLOSE RADIO | www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/evidence_movement/audio/index.html