Videotapes Early video art (1965-1976)

15.02 – 13.04.2020 Videotapes Early video art (1965-1976)

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art

curator: Michał Jachuła
cooperation: Julia Leopold
exposition design: Wojciech Popławski (Op Architekten)

The exhibition will cover works made between the second half of the 1960s and the mid-1970s. Videotapes. Early video art (1965–1976) is a story of the earliest phase of video art presented through the lens of most basic format identified with this domain single-channel moving images, recorded on video tape (magnetic carrier). The “orthodox” and at the same time “narrow” understanding of the medium in the context of this exhibition ignores other forms of image recording – 16mm, 35mm, Super8 film or broadcasting – that also function as video art. And the cut-off date for the earliest works exhibited at the Zachęta was the introduction of portable video equipment on the US market in the 1960s. Mobile and handy, the Sony Portapak camera was quickly adopted by artists as a new tool for creative activity.


Together with photography, film, and analogue television, video is recognized today as a full-fledged medium with a record of more than half a century, creating the history of new media art. The exhibition at the Zachęta situates it at a point of time when it had not yet been part of the mainstream and regarded as “serious art”.


The exhibition Videotapes. Early video art (1965-1976) presents works that touch on social, existential, emancipatory, and identity issues, as well as those that deal with the subject of the medium itself in an self-referential way. Various examples of video art include a wide collection of genres and types of moving images: from personal narrative records, through for-camera performance and conceptual statements, to works close to the documentary and others that combine different genres of art. At its roots close to drawing, video is unrestricted by format and scale, budget or complicated organization of production. It is an accessible and affordable medium. An intimate record of an artistic idea immortalized on videotape.

The Zachęta show will bring together video tapes by artists such as: Vito Acconci, John Baldessari, Lynda Benglis, Dara Birnbaum, Don Burgy, James Byrne, peter campus, Douglas Davis, Cara DeVito, Valie Export, Terry Fox, Anna Bella Geiger, Frank Gillette, Tina Girouard, Julie Gustafson, Hermine Freed, Nancy Holt, Joan Jonas, Beryl Korot, Marlene Kos, Paul Kos, Shigeko Kubota, Suzanne Lacy, Richard Landry, Mary Lucier, Ivens Machado, Andy Mann, Cynthia Maughan, Susan Mogul, Antoni Muntadas, Bruce Nauman, Letícia Parente, Nam June Paik, Józef Robakowski, Martha Rosler, Dan Sandin, Ira Schneider, Ilene Segalove, Steina and Woody Vasulka, Videofreex, William Wegman.

Videofreex, Portapak Conversation, 1973. Copyright:Videofreex, courtesy of Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Early video art (1965-1976)
15.02 – 13.04.2020

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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Godziny otwarcia:
Tuesday – Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Thursday – free entry
ticket office is open until 7.30 p.m.