Conceptual Art

2012
Tehching Hsieh: An Interview

At the age of twenty-four, Taiwanese artist Tehching Hsieh (b.1950), moved to New York, where he has created and documented time-specific, conceptual art performances since the 1970s. In this interview, Hsieh discusses his formative years and philosophical moorings. This dialogue includes description of the artist’s early period of painting, his military service in Taiwan, and the cultural atmosphere of a country then undergoing massive political change. Much of the discussion focuses specifically on Hsieh’s understanding of the relationship of art and life, his investment in “free thinking,” and the politics of documentation. For Hsieh, the ability to think freely is art’s bottom line—he believes the essence of his work lies in human communication. To this end, Hsieh insists that his work, though incredibly personal, is not autobiographical, but philosophical.

1988
Long Beach Museum of Art, Thank You You're So Beautiful

This tape is a media arts collaboration between Joe Leonardi, Cathleen Kane, and radio artist Joe Frank. It is a synthesis of three “dark humored” radio pieces adapted for video.

2018
Edward Rankus, The Cage of Sand

If asked to say what this work is about in one word, the answer — which is woven into the electronic musique concrète soundtrack — would be a Joycean one: it’s a “collideorscape.” The imagery is a return to materials Rankus dealt with as a young man in the video Naked Doom (1983). He has recycled imagery such as cages, a toy robot, and brain convolutions; newer motifs include a winged ballerina, Victorian corsets, and alchemical vessels containing birds.

1973
Theme Song

In a vile and ingenious way, Acconci pleads with the camera/spectator to join with him, to come to him, promising to be honest and begging, "I need it, you need it, c'mon... look how easy it is." Acconci addresses the viewer as a sexual partner, acting as if no distance existed between them. The monitor becomes an agent of intimate address, presenting a disingenuous intimacy that is one-sided and pure fantasy, much like the popular love songs in the background with which Acconci croons, "I'll be your baby, I'll be your baby tonight, yeah, yeah."

2014
Rirkrit Tiravaniha: An Interview

Rirkrit Tiravanija’s work explores the social role of the artist, and that role’s ability to create interactive spaces for people to come together. Focusing less on the construction of discrete objects, he maintains a practice predicated on diffuse forms of installation that facilitate the activities like cooking, reading, and general collectivity. The particularly conceptual nature of his work is a central theme in this interview. While in art school, a teacher Tiravanija greatly admired told him to “stop making art” and this was something he took very seriously.

1972
To and Fro. Fro and To. And To and Fro. And Fro and To.

Reportedly shot in the back office at Leo Castelli’s New York gallery, an ashtray is used to demonstrate five different actions related to artistic work. With the camera static, the video opens with the ashtray in the center of the screen. A hand approaches from above and slides the object up and down, then back up and back down. Each time an act is completed, the hand retreats from the object, marking a separation from the next “possibility.” The actions (or movements) mimic language (e.g. “to and fro”) as it is spoken.

2009
Transient Trilogy

Transient Trilogy comes close to "being a real film, with an actor, a setting and something of a narrative scheme. Ruby himself plays a bum, who transits a marginal landscape, neither nature nor manmade, where he occupies himself crafting what can only be called artworks from string, cast-offs and other bits of trash." --Walter Robinson, Editor, Artnet Magazine

2009
Triviality

Triviality features a scene of Tom Colt, a Los Angeles porno actor, standing naked in a bare room masturbating, trying unsuccessfully to bring himself to orgasm.

1972
Paul Kos, A Trophy/Atrophy

A two-headed calf died when one head atrophied. It became a trophy that the artist used as a source for this 16mm film transferred to video.

This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

2008
Truth in Transit

They just flew in from New York, and boy, are their arms tired... Out in the Nevada desert, against the windblown backdrop of Air Force bomber training sites, artists Hajoe Moderegger and Franziska Lamprecht — better known as eteam — gathered testimonials of stranded passengers, crew members, and local residents to recall an episode in the lost annals of American aviation: the 2006 "unscheduled layover" at International Airport Montello (IAM). Truth in Transit reaches beyond simple documentation.

1974
Turn On

Acconci again confronts both the viewer’s and his own expectations of his performance, saying, "I've waited for the perfect time, for the perfect piece, I'm tired of waiting... but no, you want me to have something ready for you, something prepared." Acconci addresses the artist's perpetual wait for both inspiration and appreciation. He pulls apart the relationship of the artist to the audience, which for Acconci constitutes a mixture of independence and co-dependence, relying on the viewer to both validate and motivate his work.

2010
Twelve Scenes

Originating from personal affection toward Seoul, Twelve Scenes portrays the spectacles in daily life by juxtaposing urban space in a twelve month sequence. As the individual particles in a kaleidoscope create splendid illusions by being reflected on a mirror, Twelve Scenes shows our individual life, seemingly separated by time and space, actually composes the scenery in the kaleidoscope of Seoul. Twelve Scenes represents a 'moment for self-reflection' or 'small, but precious enlightenment on life'.

1971
Two Track

Acconci sits with a man and a woman before a microphone. The man and the woman read from two different texts (novels by Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler), and Acconci repeats everything the man says. From time to time, an off-screen voice asks Acconci something about what the woman has been saying, and he tries to answer. The focus of the tape is the relationship between modes of attention, direct and peripheral, in a situation where simultaneous strands of information are being presented.

This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.

2011
Type A: An Interview

“Collaboration is competitive” – this is the tag line for the artist collective Type A, composed of Adam Ames and Andrew Bordwin. Their projects stretch across the mediums of video, photography, sculpture, and installation – using different formats less for their own sake and more for their appropriateness in relation to a given idea. This malleability allows them to stage installations that are more like interventions in various non-art spaces such as the city streets or a high school gym.

1972
Undertone

In this now infamous tape, exemplary of his early transgressive performance style, Acconci sits and relates a masturbatory fantasy about a girl rubbing his legs under the table. Carrying on a rambling dialogue that shifts back and forth between the camera/spectator and himself, Acconci sexualizes the implicit contract between performer and viewer—the viewer serving as a voyeur who makes the performance possible by watching and completing the scene, believing the fantasy.