February 10th to February 24th, 2011

Dara Birnbaum: Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman
T.R. Uthco & Ant Farm: The Eternal Frame

Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature
Boatwright Memorial Library, University of Richmond

Gallery Hours: Sunday to Friday, 1:00pm to 5:00pm


Image: Dara Birnbaum, “Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman,” 1978. Courtesy Video Data Bank, Chicago.

Text: VDB online catalogue: http://www.vdb.org.
Reprinted with permission by VDB.


Dara Birnbaum:
Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman

6:00, 1978, USA

A stutter-step progression of “extended moments” unmasks the technological “miracle” of Wonder Woman’s transformation, playing psychological transformation off of television product. Birnbaum considers this tape an “altered state [that] renders the viewer capable of re-examining those looks which, on the surface, seem so banal that even the supernatural transformation of a secretary into a ‘Wonder Woman’ is reduced to a burst of blinding light and a turn of the body—a child’s play of rhythmical devices inserted within the morose belligerence of the fodder that is our average television diet.”

Biography: An architect and urban planner by training, Dara Birnbaum began using video in 1978 while teaching at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where she worked with Dan Graham. Recognized as one of the first video artists to employ the appropriation of television images as a subversive strategy, Birnbaum recontextualizes pop cultural icons and TV genres to reveal their subtexts. Birnbaum describes her tapes as new “ready-mades” for the late 20th century—works that “manipulate a medium which is itself highly manipulative.”

Image: T.R. Uthco and Ant Farm, “The Eternal Frame,” 1976.
Courtesy Video Data Bank, Chicago.

Text: VDB online catalogue: http://www.vdb.org.
Reprinted with permission by VDB.

T.R. Uthco & Ant Farm: The Eternal Frame
22:00, 1976, USA

Irreverent yet poignant, The Eternal Frame is a re-enactment of the assassination of John F. Kennedy as seen in the famous Zapruder film. This home movie was immediately confiscated by the FBI yet found its way into the visual subconscious of the nation. The Eternal Frame concentrates on this event as a crucial site of fascination and repression in the American mindset.

Biography: A San Francisco-based collective of artists and architects working from 1968 to 1978, Ant Farm’s activity was distinctly interdisciplinary—combining architecture, performance, media, happenings, sculpture, and graphic design. With works that functioned as art, social critique, and pop anthropology, Ant Farm tore into the cultural fabric of post-World War II, Vietnam-era America and became one of the first groups to address television’s pervasive presence in everyday life.

Biography: T.R. Uthco was a multi-media performance art collective that engaged in satirical critiques of mass media images and cultural myths, using irony, theatricality, and spectacle as its primary strategies. T.R. Uthco focused on the irreverent staging of fabricated events and producing installations and video documents of its performances.