Thursday, 25 September 2014

Robert Hughes on video art

"Mention video to some people and watch their faces fall. If the cliché of "modern sculpture" used to be a piece of stone chewing gum with a hole in it, and that of "modern painting" was a canvasful of drips, then the cliché of "video art" is a grainy closeup of some U.C.L.A. graduate rubbing a cockroach to pulp on his left nipple for 16 minutes while the sound track plays amplified tape hiss, backward."

From the review of the retrospective for Nam June Paik at the Whitney published in Time magazine on May 17th 1982.

This quote popped up in Part 2 of Howard Jacobson's documentary 'Brilliant Creatures', a study of the careers of Barry Humphries, Clive James, Germaine Greer and Robert Hughes. The quote is not only a timely reminder to myself about what I am trying to achieve in video art (visual poetry perhaps?), but classic Hughes cutting to the chase with acerbic wit underpinned by a profundity that most art commentators could only hope for at best. At a time when Australia sadly accelerates backward politically at an alarming rate towards totalitarianism, there is a slight optimism in feeling proud of our cultural heritage and larrikin attitude and honouring those pathfinders who espoused a 'cause' because they believed in it more than their own self-aggrandizement...  

No comments:

Post a Comment