Circa 1971: Early Video & Film

Dia Art Foundation
September 17, 2011 – December 31, 2012

Circa 1971 presents a selection of video and film works by key figures in early video art from the collection of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), a nonprofit organization that fosters the creation, exhibition, distribution, and preservation of moving-image art.

Comprising 20 moving-image pieces from the Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) collection of over 3,500 media artworks—spanning the 1960s to the present—Circa 1971 initiates provocative exchanges with the art from the same time period that is in Dia’s collection and on view at Dia:Beacon.

Circa 1971 includes pieces by Vito Acconci, Eleanor Antin, Ant Farm, John Baldessari, Lynda Benglis, Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, Joan Jonas, Gordon Matta-Clark, Nam June Paik, Carolee Schneemann, TVTV, Steina and Woody Vasulka, and others. Their pioneering moving-image art works will be shown continuously on CRT monitors and as projections at Dia:Beacon where in-depth installations by artists of the same generation, including Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, Smithson, and Lawrence Weiner, are on view.
The selections for Circa 1971 reflect this first generation’s interest in the conceptual, political, formal, and cultural implications of video’s immediacy and reproducibility. They also reveal several key themes, including the political activism that informed much of the early video subculture; inquiries into the production, reception, and circulation of media images; and explorations of identity, gender, and self. Therein, the works themselves are remarkably eclectic: while many of the pieces engage with the prevailing discourses of contemporary art at the time–including body art, performance, Process art, Minimalism, and Conceptual art–others reference avant-garde cinema, and still others take the form of “guerrilla television” documentaries or experiments in image processing.

By focusing on a specific period in time (1970–72), Circa 1971 presents a snapshot of a diverse cultural moment—or, more accurately, a countercultural moment—and the fertile political and artistic landscape from which these works emerged. EAI was created as an alternative paradigm to support a burgeoning art form that was neither supported by the commercial art market nor the commercial television system. In this respect, its founding parallels Dia’s own. Taken from the Greek prefix meaning “conduit” or “through,” Dia was launched to enable artists to create projects that due to their scale or scope could not be accommodated by traditional galleries or museums.


Nam June Paik and Jud Yalkut, with Charlotte Moorman
TV Cello Premiere, 1971
16 mm film transferred to video (color, silent); 7:25 min.


Joan Jonas
Vertical Roll, 1972
Video (black-and-white, sound); 19:38 min.


Vito Acconci
Centers, 1971
Video (black-and-white, sound); 22:28 min.


Valie Export
Facing a Family, 1971
Film transferred to video (black-and-white, sound); 4:44 min.


Nam June Paik and Jud Yalkut
Video-Film Concert, 1966/1972
16 mm film transferred to video (black-and-white, color, sound); 26:32 min.
Video Commune (Beatles Beginning to End), 1972
16 mm film transferred to video (color, silent); 8:36 min.



Four More Years, 1972
Video (black-and-white, sound); 61:33 min.


Dan Graham
Past Future Split Attention, 1972
Video (black-and-white, sound); 16:51 min.


Carolee Schneemann
Plumb Line, 1971
8 mm and 16 mm film transferred to video (color, sound); 14:58 min.


Eleanor Antin
Representational Painting, 1971
Video (black-and-white, silent); 37:53 min.

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