Jaime Davidovich: Daylong Tribute Screening Press Release

Jaime Davidovich: Daylong Tribute Screening </i>

EAI pays tribute to Jaime Davidovich (1936-2016) with a daylong screening of video works by the pioneering conceptual artist. Working with video, installation, and local cable television programming, Davidovich was a major and influential figure in the vanguard of individuals and groups exploring art in the context of mass media. The screening will include a selection of key works, including episodes of the cable access program The Live! Show (1979-1984), which Davidovich hosted in the guise of his buoyant TV alter-ego, Dr. Videovich.

Multiple works will be scheduled throughout the day, with a short break at 3:00pm. A special toast will take place at 6:00pm, followed by a screening of Adventures of the Avant-Garde (1981) and Outreach: The Changing Role of the Art Museum (1977), a collaboration with art critic Gregory Battcock, at 6:30pm.

This event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)
535 West 22nd Street, 5th Fl.
New York, NY 10011

Free admission

When Davidovich arrived in New York City from his native Argentina in the early 1960s, one of the first non-traditional art materials to lure him away from painting was duct tape, available in impressive varieties in stores along Canal Street. Davidovich used the tape to install temporary space and object interventions, but soon another kind of tape inspired Davidovich to make a brilliant and fruitful semantic leap: duct tape rolls had a likeness to the videotape reels used by the equipment that launched a video art movement in the late 60s. Trading one tape for another, Davidovich extended his artistic interests into the realm of television.

Over the course of his career, Davidovich used video and television to challenge the borders of art. The playful fluidity of Davidovich's move from tape rolls to tape reels reflects the strong influence of Dada and Fluxus, and his commitment to the anti-establishment bent of the avant-garde. Humor and satire were key to Davidovich's approach, and were inspired by other "non-art" influences (although Davidovich would argue strongly against such designations), especially Ernie Kovacs, famous for the absurd sight-gags and production stunts he staged on commercial television. One of Davidovich?s most ambitious projects was the episodic cable access program The Live! Show, a variety show that owed as much to the Cabaret Voltaire as it did to Kovacs. The Live! Show featured performances by and interviews with art world personalities, live phone-ins, and a home-shopping segment hocking sundry TV knick-knacks that Davidovich collected or had produced. As host of the show, Davidovich played the role of Dr. Videovich, a persona New York Times critic John O?Connor characterized as being "...somewhere between Bela Lugosi and Andy Kaufman."

As entertaining as it was, The Live! Show provided a context in which Davidovich could stage a serious critique of the art market, with its favoritism of rare objects, of fine art traditions in painting and sculpture, and elitism. The appreciation of art, and how art's role was changing socially, was a prominent concern for Davidovich, something he shared with the art critic and artist Gregory Battcock, with whom he had planned to do an episodic series until Battcock?s untimely death in 1980. In the one program they completed, Outreach: The Changing Role of the Art Museum, Davidovich and Battcock set up a mock round-table discussion with invited guests, including the sales supervisor for the Guggenheim Museum gift shop and Marcia Tucker, founder and director of the New Museum. The focus of the discussion was a tongue-in-cheek investigation of the art institution buzzword ?outreach,? which shone a spotlight on a larger institutional identity crisis, made especially poignant by the displacement of the dialogue to a television studio.

This was just one of many episodes in Davidovich's extraordinarily multifaceted and visionary art career. The thread that ran through his work – from his tape installations to cable access shows to a profit-earning line of Fluxus stationary and later to YouTube – was his belief that the beat of the avant-garde would ever march onward, into the frontiers of new cultural paradigms that kept artistic expression flowing against the stultifying forces of convention.

Image: Jaime Davidovich (1976)


About EAI
Celebrating our 45th anniversary in 2016, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is a nonprofit arts organization that fosters the creation, exhibition, distribution, and preservation of moving image art. A New York-based international resource for media art and artists, EAI holds a major collection of over 3,500 new and historical media artworks, from groundbreaking early video by pioneering figures of the 1960s to new digital projects by today's emerging artists. EAI works closely with artists, museums, schools and other venues worldwide to preserve and provide access to this significant archive. EAI services also include viewing access, educational initiatives, extensive online resources, technical facilities, and public programs such as artists' talks, screenings, and multi-media performances. EAI's Online Catalogue is a comprehensive resource on the artists and works in the EAI collection, and features expansive materials on media art's histories and current practices: www.eai.org


Electronic Arts Intermix
535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10011
t (212) 337-0680
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EAI's Public Programs are supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. EAI also receives program support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.


Jaime Davidovich: Daylong Tribute Screening, October 27, 2016