Beryl Korot, Selected Video Works: 1977 to Present
Selected Video Works: 1977 to Present
March 22 – May 5, 2012
bitforms gallery is pleased to announce its first solo exhibition with artist Beryl Korot. Featuring her landmark video installation Text and Commentary (1977), the show also includes two of Korot’s more recent investigations into the medium, Florence (2008) and Yellow Water Taxi (2003).
Recognized since the early 1970s as a pioneer of video art and of multiple channel work in particular, Beryl Korot explores the physical mark of human history and the programmatic structures of data that convey it. The rhythmic impulse in her compositions embraces text, weaving, and video.
“The thing that attracted me to the loom was its sophistication as a programming tool— it programs patterns through the placement of threads, in a numerical order that determines pattern possibilities,” said Korot to Grace Glueck in a 1977 New York Times article. “It’s like the first computer on earth.”
An active player in New York’s then emergent video art scene, Korot had, by 1977, been featured in exhibitions at The Kitchen, the Leo Castelli Gallery, Everson Museum of Art, the Whitney Biennale, Documenta 6, and several important traveling shows: Circuit Invitational, Radical Software, and ICI’s Video Art USA in the Sao Paulo Biennial. Korot’s first multiple-channel works, Text and Commentary and Dachau 1974, are groundbreaking efforts that moved the video medium beyond the television’s frame and into a vocabulary of installation, both of which were featured at the Whitney Museum of Art in 1980.
When Text and Commentary debuted in 1977 at the Leo Castelli Gallery, Jeff Perrone of Artforum described the installation’s systematic approach: “Process was reduced to a small set of actions repeated in space (repeated diamond designs in each hanging, and on each screen) and time (repeated in the work in the loom and repeated on the tape). The patterns in drawing, in making, in editing, in form and design—all converged little by little, after close scrutiny, creating a unified work which reflected a larger reach of human time¬— from primitive loom to modern video”.
The installation is illuminated by two scores, also on view in the exhibition. Instructions for Korot’s five-channel weavings are marked on graph paper in pencil. A pictographic notation indicates the rhythm and pacing of her video editing, which was recorded and edited on ½” reel to reel tape.
As with many artist’s videos of the 1970s, Text and Commentary is a reaction against television. The three-dimensional form of a cathode ray monitor, its dials and buttons, are intentionally masked by a recessed wall. The piece also takes a radical approach to time, running 30 minutes in length, and challenges the authority of a singlechannel linear narrative. It expands the video frame into a multiple-channel viewpoint. By banding a horizontal strip of video screens together, the visual structure references celluloid film (which was typically cut by women who were film editors, another reference to handiwork such as weaving)
Florence, a more recent single-channel video by Korot, is organized by a black and white grid comprised of waterfalls, boiling water and snowstorms. Taking the form of a soliloquy or poem, the ten-minute piece condenses various texts by Florence Nightingale and unfolds linearly as a meditation on the transcendence of fear– not in a momentary instinctual way, but over a sustained period of time. It is floating poetry, using other people’s words, with each word moving vertically down the screen with its own position, transparency and speed.
Yellow Water Taxi presents the viewer with a colorful scene of movement, bound by a woven grid underlying its electronic image. Korot remarks in a recent catalog about the work: “A morning walk to the Esplanade, near where the Towers had been– just to watch and record water taxis ferrying people between New Jersey and New York City– then riding across a piece of handmade canvas scanned into the computer.”
Concurrent and upcoming exhibitions with Beryl Korot
“Project 35”, a touring group exhibition organized by Independent Curators International
April 1- 29: CentrePasquArt, Biel, Switzerland
August 29 – December 7: Richard E. Peeler Art Center, DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana
August 19, 2012 – June 2, 2013 North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
Closing June 24 Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts
Closing July 31: SPACE Gallery, Portland, Maine
Interviews by Art 21 with Beryl Korot
Text and Commentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlKyrFPljFg
Dachau 1974 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWMbLK1awLI&feature=related
Radical Software http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIXlB1CHmOQ
Since the early 1970s, Beryl Korot has been recognized as a pioneer of video art and of multiple channel work in particular. She was co-editor of Radical Software, the first publication to discuss the possibilities of the new video medium in 1970, and co-edited Video Art: An Anthology with Ira Schneider in 1976. Her study of the technology of the loom, in 1974, marks a critical shift in her own investigations and played a significant role as a thinking tool in her subsequent video work. Her first multiple-channel works, “Text and Commentary” and “Dachau 1974”, are important efforts that moved the video medium beyond the television’s frame and into a vocabulary of installation. By 1980, these and earlier works were featured at Documenta 6, The Kitchen, Leo Castelli Gallery, The Everson Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, among others, and was featured in Video Viewpoints at the Museum of Modern Art. Later interested in painting and language development, Korot exhibited text based hand-woven canvases at the John Weber Gallery in 1986, and at the Carnegie Museum in 1990.
Bringing video installation art into a theatrical context, Korot began a collaborative period with composer Steve Reich in 1989. The Cave (1993) and Three Tales (2002) were first presented in major performance festivals throughout the world including London, Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, Torino, Berlin, and Hong Kong. In 2011 and 2012 both works were revived in performances in Krakow, Strasbourg, Dresden, Cologne and Rome. Korot began creating a new body of video and print work in 2003.
In 2010 the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art produced the retrospective, “Beryl Korot: Text/Weave/Line – Video, 1977-2010”. Past exhibitions and screenings of Korot’s work also include the Reina Sofia, Madrid; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Dusseldorf Kunstverein; ICC Galleries, Tokyo; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musee D’Ascq, Lille, France; Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; Musée des Beaux Arts, Montréal; San Francisco Art Institute; Long Beach Museum; the Sao Paulo Bienial; Stedlijk van Abbemuseum, Eindoven; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Henry Gallery, Seattle; Los Angeles County Museum; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Centro de Arte y Naturaleza in Spain; Apex Gallery, New York; and Jack Tilton Gallery, New York.
Korot is a Guggenheim Fellow and the recipient of numerous grants including The National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Artist Public Service Grants, New York State Council for the Arts, and Anonymous Was a Woman. Her artwork is part of private and public collections including the Kramlich Collection and New Art Trust.
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