You’re only as young as the last time you changed your mind.
Broadcast: Alternate Meanings in Film and Video employs the innate immediacy of time-based art to spark reflection on the here and now. Looking to the late 1960s—a historical moment marked by deep uncertainty, social unrest, and radical transformation—the online exhibition loosely adopts famed psychologist and countercultural icon Timothy Leary’s mantra “turn on, tune in, drop out” as a guide for negotiating our present moment.
The second chapter presents six films and videos by artists who elaborate on themes of social topography and myth, at times intertwining the two. Ed Ruscha’s L.A. Restaurants (2019)—which will premiere in Broadcast—uses the moving image to “tune in” to the outside world, capturing the vast history embedded in Los Angeles’s distinctive vernacular restaurant architecture from Hollywood’s “golden years.” Meanwhile, in Twelve Years Over Hollywood (2008–20), Piero Golia offers a highly personal perspective on the Los Angeles milieu by “turning on” to his immediate environment through a compilation of still photographs taken from his own balcony. In NGO (Beninese Solidarity with Endangered Westerners) (2011), Romuald Hazoumè counters with a cutting reversal of the concepts of wealth and financial aid between the global North and South that reveals the impoverishment of strictly monetary valuation in determining prosperity.
Other artists in chapter two present works that focus on legend, allegory, and social commentary while still operating within the three curatorial categories. Carsten Höller consumes psychedelic substances on camera to introspectively explore childhood memories and alternate realities in Muscimol 3. Versuch (1997), while Rachel Feinstein considers gendered conventions of femininity using the framework of a children’s fairy tale in Spring and Winter (1994–96). Nam June Paik’s Good Morning Mr. Orwell (1984), in contrast, responds to a global landscape by staging a celebratory, avant-garde transatlantic broadcast that “drops out” of the conventions and norms of commercial television.
Each chapter of Broadcast will introduce a new set of films and videos on Tuesdays. The next chapter will debut on June 30.
Muscimol 3. Versuch, 1997
The subject of his own experiment, Höller consumes fly agaric mushrooms and is ostensibly affected. He describes his experience before he starts to sing a German Christmas carol for children, “Ihr Kinderlein Kommet” (O, Come, Little Children) more or less comprehensibly in overtones.
A Decade of Wondering above Hollywood, 2009–19
A Decade of Wondering above Hollywood comprises thousands of still photographs of the Hollywood sign taken from Golia’s Los Angeles balcony over a twelve-year period. The resulting 35mm film captures the artist’s personal documentation of his surroundings, condensing a vast temporal duration into a fleeting clip that serves as a metaphorical shorthand for broader experiences at the core of all art making.
L.A. Restaurants, 2019
L.A. Restaurants opens with a panned shot recorded while driving past Cole’s P.E. Buffet in downtown Los Angeles, which was founded in 1908 and claims to be the oldest restaurant and bar in the city. In a manner reminiscent of the typological catalogues of gas stations and buildings on the Sunset Strip first explored in his seminal artist’s books of the 1960s, Ruscha documents sixty-four restaurants emblematic of “Old Hollywood” across the LA region. This visual perambulation moves in a spiral formation, from the outer limits of the San Fernando Valley along Ventura Boulevard to the centrally located restaurants near Culver City.
Spring and Winter, 1994–96
Feinstein’s Spring and Winter explores themes present throughout her oeuvre. The narrative is derived from Giambattista Basile’s “Sun, Moon, and Talia” (1634), which is considered the original version of the “Sleeping Beauty” story. Fairy tales, kitsch, and the intricacies of femininity commingle as Feinstein performs as a paper doll, maiden, and crone. The spaces between the dichotomies of fiction and reality, young and old, sexual and pure are disclosed within the scope of feminine identity within this film.
NGO (Beninese Solidarity with Endangered Westerners), 2011
Hazoumè’s NGO (Beninese Solidarity with Endangered Westerners) reflects on issues of immigration, economic disparity, and perceptions of wealth. Taking a critical eye toward the vast numbers of local and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating in his country of Benin, the artist created his own NGO to aid poor Westerners, thereby reversing conventional assumptions concerning poverty and the distribution of capital from so-called developed nations. In an attempt to expose the often hidden realities of the income inequality that exists in global Northern countries, he asked Beninese celebrities to solicit donations from Africans, who commonly associate Westerners with affluence. For Hazoumè, the driving concept of the project is to uncover such illusions: “To all appearances, it’s a matter of reversing the help, from south to north. But in reality—it is about making the Africans cogitate differently.”
Nam June Paik
Good Morning Mr. Orwell, 1984
On New Year’s Day in 1984, Paik premiered Good Morning Mr. Orwell, his first worldwide satellite “installation.” Featuring short prerecorded and live video performances by Laurie Anderson, Merce Cunningham, Peter Gabriel, and Allen Ginsberg, among many others, this international broadcast linked viewers across cultural and physical boundaries within the shared space of television. Paik oversaw the event and produced original graphics for the interludes between segments. Exploiting the vast potential of broadcast television when wrested from commercial enterprises, Good Morning Mr. Orwell offers a joyous yet freewheeling refutation of the concepts of mass surveillance, pervasive repression, and propaganda imagined in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984.
The Art History of Presidential Campaign Posters
Against the backdrop of the 2020 US presidential election, historian Hal Wert takes us through the artistic and political evolution of American campaign posters, from their origin in 1844 to the present. In an interview with Quarterly editor Gillian Jakab, Wert highlights an array of landmark posters and the artists who made them.
“Things Fall Apart”: Ed Ruscha’s Swiped Words
Lisa Turvey examines the range of effects conveyed by the blurred phrases in recent drawings by the artist, detailing the ways these words in motion evoke the experience of the current moment.
Gwen Allen recounts her discovery of cutting-edge artists’ magazines from the 1960s and 1970s and explores the roots and implications of these singular publications.
The artist discusses her life and work with Alan Yentob.
Eilshemius and Me: An Interview with Ed Ruscha
Ed Ruscha tells Viet-Nu Nguyen and Leta Grzan how he first encountered Louis Michel Eilshemius’s paintings, which of the artist’s aesthetic innovations captured his imagination, and how his own work relates to and differs from that of this “Neglected Marvel.”
Alexander Wolf explores the economic, social, and methodological concerns of Piero Golia’s art practice, revealing the real-world implications of the artist’s experiments with form and process.