Robert Beck/Robert Buck: Artist Talk and Screening

Robert Beck/Robert Buck: Artist Talk and Screening

EAI is pleased to present an evening focused on the moving image work of Robert Beck/Buck, whose approach to art-making merges cinematic, televisual, and visual art aesthetics and strategies to singular effect. Alongside a selection of his video art works, the evening will feature Beck’s nearly year-long conceptual broadcast project, The Space Program (1985-86), an early, largely unconsidered work in the artist’s career – here screened publicly for the first time since its original broadcast late night on Manhattan Cable Television. Buck will introduce the program, and be in conversation following the screening.

Buck, who changed his father’s name as a work, or act, of art in 2008, was integrally involved in EAI from the 1980s to the early 2000s, in roles including Technical Director and Chief Editor. This event will launch EAI’s distribution of Beck/Buck’s video work.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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

Admission $7, Students $5
Free for EAI Members


Robert Buck is most known for his 2D, sculptural, and installation work, and for his precise use of materials, ranging from traditional art supplies to such non-art materials as mortician’s wax, latent fingerprint ink, and gunpowder. His attention to the viewer’s experience of his art, and his privileging of unexpected interpretations, is the heritage of an eclectic list of influences, including Marcel Duchamp and Cady Noland, Robert Bresson and George Romero, film theorist Carol Clover and novelist Cormac McCarthy, the true-crime genre, the teachings of Jacques Lacan, and forensic science.

Buck’s use of “the cut,” a film editing gesture that has profoundly influenced Buck’s art practice and self-representation (from Beck to Buck), will be highlighted in the context of his moving image work. Expanding beyond the cinematic trope of the montage, Buck’s approach to the cut considers the associative power of contingent images and events, and is understood to be as much an artistic, as psychological, process.

In an introductory text for Beck’s solo exhibition dust at the Wexner Center for the Arts in 2007, curator Bill Horrigan writes: “...It’s the moving image – cinema, video art, television – that haunts [Beck’s] drawings, photographs, even sculptures, partly through his insistence that any given piece derives its expressivity from the images he places alongside it (the theory of montage as an organizing principle: each single film frame requires every other one to mimic reality), and partly through how the exquisitely handcrafted stillness of his imagery discloses the artist’s imagination to be one that’s compelled to envision what he renders in time.”

The Space Program, a catalytic work for Beck/Buck, undertaken before he participated in the Whitney ISP Program in 1993 and emerged on the visual art scene in the 90s, should be considered alongside such artistic television interventions as Gerry Schum’s TV Gallery and Alex Bag’s Cash from Chaos / Unicorns & Rainbows for its use of television as a staging ground for artistic experimentation. Broadcast regularly for the better part of a year, Beck undertook each half-hour episode as a conceptual performance, using duration, the context of television, and video technology as expressive tools. Beck’s programs – one comprised entirely of establishing shots from prime-time soap operas, another comprised of the artist’s blurred face accompanied by sounds of a shooting rampage – were likely encountered by accident, with no context other than the haphazard surrounding programs, emphasizing art’s capacity to unsettle the known and open up a path into the unknown.


Robert Beck/Robert Buck
Robert Beck graduated in 1983 with a BA in Film and Television from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and was a participant in the 1993 Independent Study Studio Program at the Whitney Museum. Recent solo exhibitions include; Robert Beck/Robert Buck: States of America, Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, Ohio (2016); Exposure, Angela Meleca Gallery, Columbus, Ohio (2016); The Shrine (from e to u), installation at School of the Art Institute of Chicago with Iceberg Projects, Chicago (2015); and Robert Beck/Robert Buck: Collected Works, Rennie Collection, Vancouver, Canada (2013). His work has been shown in group exhibitions at Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, Texas; New Art Projects, London, England; Invisible-Exports, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England; Wellcome Collection, London, England; Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco; Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium; and more. Buck’s works are included in collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New York; Zabludowicz Collection, London, England; and the J. Getty Museum of Art, Los Angeles. Robert Buck lives and works in New York City and far west Texas, USA.

About EAI
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:


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This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. This presentation is also made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts' Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.