Curated MoMA Exhibitions: 1980s


Bill Viola: Installations and Videotapes. Oct. 17, 1987–Jan. 3, 1988

The exhibition offered the first in-depth look at Bill Viola’s career, as he created videotapes and video and sound installations that are technologically complex, yet deceptively spare. His works contain references to specific people and places he encountered on his travels around the world. He is concerned with how his images exist in the viewer’s mind, interacting with memory and the subconscious. The exhibition included the installations Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House (1982), Room for St. John of the Cross (1983), and Extended Temporalities (1987), and a survey of his videotapes. 
Press Release | Catalog


1987 Bill Viola_Room for St. John of the Cross
Bill Viola, Room for St. John of the Cross. 1987 

Judith Barry: Echo.
May 2–June 3, 1986

Barry’s installation offered a contemporary, urban treatment of the Greek myth of the nymph Echo. Narcissus was represented by the typical successful businessman, and Echo by those who remain outside the corporate world. Barry told the story using Super 8 film, slide projections, video, and sound.
Press Release


Judith Barry, Echo. 1985. Two-channel installation. Courtesy the artist

Music Video: The Industry and Its Fringes. Sept. 6–Oct. 14, 1985

Captain Beefheart, Lick My Decals Off, Baby. 1970. Video.
Captain Beefheart, Lick My Decals Off, Baby. 1970. Video.

Offering a twenty-year overview of the music video, the show emphasized work produced on the fringes of the music industry with low budgets, by lesser-known directors, and with considerable input from the musicians themselves. Featured artists included Laurie Anderson, Toni Basil, the Beatles, Captain Beefheart, Beth B., David Bowie and David Mallet, David Byrne and Stephen Johnson, Peter Care and Cabaret Voltaire, The Coil, Joe Dea, William Dear, Thomas Dolby, Paul Dougherty and Walter Robinson, Adam Friedman, Philippe Gautier, Bob Giraldi, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, Bruce Gowers, David Hogan, John Evan Hughes, Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, Richard Lowenstein, Joan Logue, Dieter Meier, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, The Residents, Zbigniew Rybczynski, John Sanborn and Dean Winkler, Chuck Statler, Jeff Stein, Test Department, Don Van Vliet, Andy Warhol and Don Munroe, Graeme Whifler and the Residents. 
Press Release


Cabaret Voltaire, Sensoria. 1985. Video
Beth B, The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight. 1984. Video. Courtesy the artist
The Residents, Third Reich ‘n’ Roll. 1975. Video. Courtesy the artists.

The Second Link: Viewpoints on Video in the Eighties.
Aug. 18–Sept. 27, 1983

This survey looked at video, just as the art form was coming of age. The show featured the work of thirty artists from the United States, Canada, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, West Germany, and Poland.
Press Release | Catalog

Video and Satellite.
Sept. 23–Oct. 26, 1982

Artists Liza Béar, Keith Sonnier, Michael McClard, Willoughby Sharp, Douglas Davis, Kit Galloway, Sherrie Rabinowitz, Joseph Beuys, and Nam June Paik explored how communication has been radically changed by the television and space industries.
Press Release


Catalina Parra, Variaciones Ornamentales, a five part installation, 1981

Catalina Parra: Variaciones Ornamentales.  
Dec. 4, 1981–Jan. 5, 1982

Chilean artist Catalina Parra’s installation combined four assemblages of X-rays punctured by yarn with a continuously playing black-and-white videotape.
Press Release


Video from Latin America.
Oct. 29–Dec. 1, 1981

These performance-oriented, narrative, poetic, documentary, and political videos were created by twenty-one artists based in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
Press Release



Margia Kramer, The Media Matrix and the Jean Seberg Story, A Photographic and Video Installation

The Media Matrix and the Jean Seberg Story. Sept. 18–Oct. 27, 1981

Margia Kramer examined the truths and fictions surrounding the actress Jean Seberg, using photostats of decoded, declassified materials from the FBI’s files on Seberg, and a videotape that cut between clips of the actress in Godard’s film Breathless and sections from ABC’s 20/20 program on Cointelpro (COunter INTELligence PROgram).
Press Release


Gerry Schum. May 14–June 23, 1981

A retrospective of German producer Gerry Schum’s collaborations with artists in both film and video. Schum prompted artists who otherwise might not have considered television to carry out broadcast projects.
Press Release

Dan Graham: Two Viewing Rooms. Dec. 5, 1980–Jan. 13, 1981

Dan Graham’s video installation altered visual and spatial perceptions by monitoring audience responses to perceptual changes through closed-circuit video and mirror images.
Press Release

Alan Scarritt: Seven from Three (for Go). Aug. 6-Sept. 15, 1981

A video and sound installation derived from a performance carried out in 1977 on an experimental NASA communications satellite through “Send/Receive,” a group project organized by artists Keith Sonnier and Liza Bear.
Press Release

Terry Fox: Room Temperature. Oct. 23–Dec. 2, 1980

Terry Fox’s elegiac installation consisted of an effigy wearing the artist’s clothes, a radio tuned to the all-news station WINS 1010 New York, and two videotapes, Shirt Passes and Four Dumplings.
Press Release

Nan Hoover: Field of Blue.
Jan. 3–29, 1980

American-born, Dutch artist Nan Hoover’s three-channel video installation centered on light as a source of illusion, based on prerecorded images of the artist’s continuous movement in front of a stationary camera.
Press Release


Nan Hoover, Field of Blue. 1980

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