ArtNews on "1966-2016", 2017
Gefängnisbilder [Prison Images], 2000
Video (Color and black and white, sound), 60:00 minutes
Installation view, 1966 - 2016, Greene Naftali, New York, 2017
Greene Naftali is pleased to present a group exhibition spanning five decades of subversions and analyses of institutional structures. Created within changing political climates, in America and in Europe, the works on view demonstrate encounters with and approaches to systems of power, enacted in a range of attitudes and forms.
Dan Graham’s Homes for America (1966 – 1967) is a series of photographs of suburban New Jersey. Frequently documenting tract housing, the series is dated according to its appearance illustrating Graham’s eponymous article on the building trend in the December 1966 – January 1967 issue of Arts Magazine. Also on view by Graham is Video Projection Outside Home (1978 – 1998), an architectural model of a suburban house, in which a still of The Simpsons is both visible through miniaturized windows and broadcast on the synthetic lawn. Income (Outflow) Piece (1969/1973) documents ads the artist placed in various publications offering stock in Dan Graham, Inc., funds which would cover the average American citizen’s salary for Graham, with anything exceeding this amount being returned to the stockholders as dividends.
John Knight’s Federal Style (1989) comprises 44 copper plates, the silhouettes and reliefs of which correspond to federal land partitions for Native American reservations. After amassing the vacuum form maps, produced by the United States Geological Survey, Knight plated each in copper, installing the set in various configurations since their 1989 debut. This iteration displays the plates in a museological vitrine, the molding of which is modeled after Federal Period interior architecture.
Studio of the Streets (1990 – 1993) documents interviews by Tony Conrad and colleagues—then working under the name First Amendment Network—of citizens of Buffalo outside their City Hall, originally broadcast on the city’s local cable access network on Tuesdays at 7:30PM. Conversations range from race in the wake of the Los Angeles Rodney King riots, to the regulation of parking violations in Buffalo.
Gefängnisbilder (Prison Images) (2000) is sixty-minute video by Harun Farocki, comprising various documentary, cinematic, and authentic surveillance footage, collected and edited by the artist. Source material includes: 1931 documentary footage of Egyptian prisoners, edited by the United States Department of Justice and titled “The Drug Evil in Egypt” to serve as a cautionary tale; an excerpt from Robert Bresson’s “Un Condamné à mort s'est échappé” (“A Man Escaped”), 1956, in which inmates fashion makeshift tools for their escape; and surveillance footage of events that took place at California State Prison in Corcoran on June 29, 1989, beginning at 8:57:24 AM.
Bernadette Corporation’s The Earth’s Tarry Dreams of Insurrection Against the Sun (2010) appropriates two selections of deep sea footage of the BP oil spill of that year, playing simultaneously on a pair of flat screen monitors, stacked and resting on their sides.
In the most recent work on view, KMS (2016), Lutz Bacher pirates the airwaves of 87.9 FM to play looped vocalizations from Roberta Flack’s 1973 hit, “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” Also by Bacher is Sweet Jesus, a sampling of James Earl Jones’s 2014 recitation of the New Testament, played on speakers in the gallery’s ground floor courtyard.