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
So, you know, how provisional things were out here, how new the community was, together with this new approach to the body that was being utilized both in feminist art and more generally in performance art — those sorts of things distinguish California video. The humor. The works are so funny — really easy to watch. Video has a reputation for being boring, but it’s not, at least these works are not.
Has it been difficult to narrow the selection down?
It was really hard. There are quite a few artists, and it is jam-packed in there. I mean, this show is full — kind of bursting at the seams, which is good because part of the idea is to convey this explosion, not to make it rarefied, not filter it out, but to show the jumble that video was then. So it’s really packed in there. If I’d had twice as much space, I would have had twice as many artists and I still would have loved every piece. There was so much happening here. I’m still finding artists I didn’t know about, and I looked really hard. They’re still coming out of the woodwork.
This is the first show of its kind — to look at video in California specifically — but what is your sense of the state of the field generally, in terms of scholarship and exhibition?
Well, in the ’90s, when funding started drying up, the video and media-art programs that had been developed at museums started dropping like flies. In recent years, video has become more popular again because it’s now quite collectible, so you’re seeing a lot more.
The weird thing for me is that I think people will receive this show better now than if I’d done the exact same show 10 years ago. It’s kind of silly, but I honestly think YouTube has something to do with it. We all watch YouTube now and it’s prepared us: People are now comfortable with the idea of someone alone with a camera, turning it on and doing whatever they want to in front of it. That’s really what ’70s video art is. You can theorize about it all you want, you can make as many high-minded claims as you want — and most of the artists that would be applicable to — but they’re really just playing with the camera, and your average museum visitor is now a little more comfortable with that.
CALIFORNIA VIDEO | Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Dr., Brentwood | March 15 through June 8 | (310) 440-7300