Magazine article Artforum International

Jaime Davidovich: Threewalls

Magazine article Artforum International

Jaime Davidovich: Threewalls

Article excerpt

CHICAGO

Jaime Davidovich

THREEWALLS

Comprising eleven videos spread across three thematically organized screening programs, and curated for Threewalls by art historian and Artforum contributor Daniel Quiles, "Outreach: Jaime Davidovich, 1974-1984" provided a welcome point of entry into the Argentinean-born, New York-based artist's pioneering work in video and cable-access television. Additionally on view were a re-creation of the 1970 tape installation Yellow Wall, a selection of early works on paper and television-related ephemera, and, in a nod to Davidovich's historical role as a presenter of others' work alongside his own, a live stream of videos from the Chicago-based artists' television network ACRE TV.

The earliest videos in the exhibition (all black-and-white) reflected a quasi-structuralist concern for the formal qualities of the medium and its relation to time and space. In 3 Mercer Street, 1975, the camera repeatedly performs a 360-degree pan around Ronald Feldman's SoHo gallery space, each time catching a glimpse of artist Stuart Sherman performing a series of actions never revealed in their entirety. In Walking SoHo, 1975, a woman slowly moves away from the static camera, eventually disappearing into the lower Manhattan streetscape's vanishing point.

Davidovich hit his stride as a mobilizer and producer of TV-based projects after cofounding first Cable SoHo in 1976, and then, two years later, the NEA-funded Artists' Television Network. In Davidovich's 1978 video Outreach: The Changing Role of the Art Museum, critic Gregory Battcock moderates a roundtable discussion with New Museum founding director Marcia Tucker; Monmouth County Art Museum director Judith van Baron; Charles Hovland, sales director for the Guggenheim Museum in New York; and Gerard LeFrancis, coordinator of public programs for the Brooklyn Museum. The directors are gathered to discuss a number of novel strategies that art museums had begun implementing to reach new audiences and develop new revenue streams. Ranging from free parking and admission to space rentals and community-outreach programs, these tactics have since become so commonplace that it's difficult to imagine a time when institutions were just beginning to consider them. If Davidovich's video documentation at first appears straightforward (even banal), one increasingly wonders whether the whole project wasn't a put-on. …

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