Nor Was This All By Any Means: A Career-Spanning Series with Anthony Ramos

Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), DCTV, the Colloquium for Unpopular Culture, and online
264 Canal Street #3W
Thursday, April 20th, 2023 to Friday, April 28th, 2023

Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is thrilled to present a series of events spotlighting the extraordinary career of Anthony Ramos, among the earliest artists to use video as a tool for mass media critiques and cultural documentation, and to examine media presentations of “truth.” A significant but underrecognized figure in both East and West coast art scenes—he had been a close student of Allan Kaprow at CalArts and a peer of important video figures such as Nam June Paik and Juan Downey—Ramos produced a varied body of work, ranging from deliberately confrontational direct-camera performance to provocative essayistic compositions using appropriated material as a satirical counterpoint. Common themes for Ramos are incisive critiques of American nationalism, racial media representations, and oppressive power dynamics.

Full Disclosure: Selected Video-Performances 1972-75
Thursday, April 20 to Friday, April 28
Online showcase of early video works
Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)

About Media (1977) and Decent Men (1977/2013)
Friday, April 21, 7:00 pm
Followed by a Q&A with Ramos and Jake Perlin
DCTV Firehouse Cinema
87 Lafayette St,
New York, NY 10013
$16 / $8 DCTV members
Tickets here

Nor Was This All by Any Means: A Career-Spanning Conversation with Anthony Ramos
Saturday, April 22, 2:00 pm (selected works on view), 3:00 pm (conversation)
with Ramos and Catherine Quan Damman
Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)
264 Canal Street #3W
New York, NY 10013
RSVP here

Mao Meets Muddy (1989)
Tuesday, April 25, 6:30 pm
with Ramos and Bentley Brown
Co-hosted by The Colloquium for Unpopular Culture
The Feldstein Immersion Room, Bobst Library at NYU
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
Free with RSVP (non-NYU must email

In 1967, Ramos served an eighteen-month prison sentence for his refusal to register for the Vietnam War draft, an act of conscientious objection with far-reaching resonance throughout the art that followed. On the occasion of Jimmy Carter’s 1977 declaration of amnesty for so-called “draft dodgers,” Ramos produced two major works drawing from his personal experience and the glib disconnect of political showboating. About Media (1977) documents, and deconstructs, Ramos's aired television interview by New York news reporter Gabe Pressman, revealing the construction of mainstream media's slick, obscuring veneer. Decent Men (1977/2013) is built around Ramos's powerful recounting of his prison stay, intercut with vintage cartoons that feature grotesque racial stereotypes alluding to America's long history of racial disenfranchisement through aggressive carceral strategies. Ramos began the work in 1977, but left it unfinished for nearly four decades, until he returned to EAI to finish the work in 2013.

Upon his release from prison, Ramos was invited by Kaprow to join CalArts’s inaugural class, where he produced a series of indelible performance tapes, including collaborations with Joe Ray and Lowell Darling. In one tape, Plastic Bag Tie-Up (1972), Ramos and Darling sealed themselves, blindfolded and bound, in clear body-sized bags; the video’s excruciating duration records their struggle to escape. One of the most unique aspects of Ramos’s career is its global scope, capturing significant instances of political struggle and social change across the world. He has traveled widely in Europe, Africa, China and the Middle East, and helped direct the video programming at the American Center in Paris, where he oversaw the television cabling of ten blocks of the city for the first time. He videotaped the end of Portugal's colonial rule of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, and Tehran during the 1980 hostage crisis. He completed a number of experimental travelogs, including Nor Was This All By Any Means (1978), a densely-layered collage shot in Gorée, Cape Verde, and Tanzania, and Mao Meets Muddy (1989), documenting his travels to Beijing with painter Frederick Brown in 1988, just before Tiananmen Square.

In the late 1980s, Ramos turned to painting as his primary medium, and has since produced a staggering output of vibrantly colored compositions, drawing from techniques of dot-painting and patterning, often produced on canvases constructed by the artist himself. Most recently, in the aftermath of the high-profile killings of Black citizens by law enforcement, among them George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Ramos’s paintings have once-again taken up his unabashed portrayal of America’s insidious racism. Ramos considers his contemporary work to be a two-dimensional extension of his videos’ cultural and political concerns.