EXTENDED THROUGH JUNE 16: REGULAR GALLERY HOURS
Taking its cue from the hobby horse and the Cabaret Voltaire, Re: PLAY references the video work of Jaime Davidovich as a whimsical challenge to the conventions of television and painting. Beginning with one of his earliest works Road (1972), the exhibition courses through to his latest Urban Landscape (2011) that melds technology with painting.
The tension between painting and video, the emerging art form at the time, is visibly palpable. While not a retrospective, Re: PLAY re-examines key works in light of the artist’s preoccupation with space and subjectivity that transgresses the domain of each medium. According to Judith Escalona, Curator and Director of MediaNoche: "Davidovich uses one art form to push the boundaries of the other in a kind of dialogue or dance that can be argumentative at times."
Just as Dada artists in the Cabaret Voltaire of the 1920's were kicking bourgeois complacency, artists on Second Avenue and south of Houston Street in the 1960's were defying the status quo. They were seeking new channels of expression, breaking away from museums and galleries that catered to the elite and were commercially driven. These artists wanted to de-institutionalize art, making it accessible to a broader public. They took to the streets, displaying work on billboards, the sides of buildings, and storefronts. Jaime Davidovich had arrived in New York from Buenos Aires in 1963 and fit right in. Davidovich is emphatic: "Video fit perfectly into this kind of art outside the mainstream because video when it was first invented was never shown in art galleries or institutions - was not even considered art."
The advent of public access television inevitably drew Davidovich to it as an alternative electronic space where he created the Live! Show in 1979. A cross between video art and the Ed Sullivan show, the weekly half-hour program gave the alternative art scene a television presence. In serious play, Davidovich became the TV persona Dr. Videovich, prescribing viewers an antidote for broadcast television. Several episodes of the Live! Show are available for viewing at the gallery and on YouTube.
Jaime Davidovich is the recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowships, for the years 1978, 1984 and 1990; and two grant awards from the Creative Artists Public Service Program, New York State Council on the Arts, for 1975 and 1982. He recently received a grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council/Manhattan Community Arts Fund 2012.
Solo exhibitions include a major retrospective at ARTIUM, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain in late 2010; Cabinet, Brooklyn, New York; CaixaForum, Barcelona, Spain; MAMBA - Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires; vanGuardia Bilbao, Spain; The Phatory Gallery, New York, and the American Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York, which presented a retrospective of The Live! Show in 1989. Davidovich has participated in a wide range of group exhibitions, at institutions such as MUMOK - Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; 2007 Bienal de São Paulo-Valencia, Brazil; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; ARS Electronica, Linz, Austria; Long Beach Museum of Art, California; 1 Bienal de la Habana, Cuba; Video and Television Festival, Maastricht, Netherlands; The Kitchen, New York; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Jaime Davidovich was educated at the National College of Buenos Aires; the University of Uruguay, and the School of Visual Arts, New York. He lives in New York.
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