Key Art of "Summer of Rockets" featuring Keeley Hawes and Toby Stephens.

Summer of Rockets

Start watching
6HWbNHN-show-poster2x3-c7tgE2Y.png

Artbound

Start watching
FZG3mkG-show-poster2x3-nOossfs.png

SoCal Update

Start watching
millionaire still

KCET Must See Movies

Start watching
MZihTLV-show-poster2x3-5CKaGu8.jpg

Independent Lens

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
HvlSxHY-show-poster2x3-4ik43uV.png

Earth Focus

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Music + Image: Music Videos (and More) From the '80s

Support Provided By
O Superman
O Superman

The 1980s saw an explosion of fantastic video art as artists explored the possibilities of television as a form. Funding was abundant, shows celebrating new work were prevalent and there was a flurry of excitement around new short-form work. Many of the best experiments were music videos, with artists as varied as Laurie Anderson, Zbigniew RybczyÅ?ski and Dara Birnbaum creating innovative pieces that eschewed a focus on bands in action, preferring an emphasis on concepts, graphics, and visual innovation.

REDCAT will highlight these early experiments on Tuesday, February 7 at 8:30 p.m. in a show titled Music + Image, curated by L.A.-based artist Nancy Buchanan and presented in conjunction with Exchange and Evolution: Worldwide Video Long Beach, 1974-1999 at the Long Beach Museum of Art.

The show includes Anderson's wonderful O Superman, featuring the artist in a deceptively simple video that mixes performance and simple graphics to underscore the mechanization of the body alluded to in the lyrics, and to deliver an iconic language of the near future. Anderson managed to bridge the art world and pop culture with the song, which was a huge hit in 1981, and the video helped build her audience.

Possibly in Michigan

Cecilia Condit's Possibly in Michigan is less a music video and more a feminist genre-bending short that opens in a mall where two women are menaced by a man in a creepy mask. Riffing on soap operas and fairy tales, the video is by turns macabre and hilarious, a subversive take on classic - and highly gendered - archetypes.

With Wonder Woman, Dara Birnbaum might have inaugurated the critical remix as she appropriates footage of the dazzling TV heroine and repeats it for scrutiny. The technique

Wonder Woman

is provocative, slowing the flow of TV to accommodate reflection, and creating a hybrid essay video that makes its argument purely through images and repetition.

Zbigniew Rybczynski's Imagine accompanies the song by John Lennon and features a long line of connected rooms which move two key characters through several stages of their lives. The lovely video showcases Rybczynski's fascination with structure and, again, is deceptively simple but conceptually brilliant.

Once in a Lifetime

Once in a Lifetime, also from 1981, features David Byrne and the famous Talking Heads track, with the singer, dressed in his characteristic black suit, moving jaggedly to the beat. His image is multiplied against a white background to create a powerful graphic sequence that captures the band's general gestalt.

Overall, this terrific show includes 14 videos from the late 1970s and 1980s, each an experiment with a different technique designed to push the boundaries of art video. Buchanan will attend in person, along with artists Max Almy, Toni Basil and Carole Ann Klonarides.

Support Provided By
Read More
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at San Francisco General Hospital  on June 10, 2021 in San Francisco, California.

California Leaders File Appeal To Preserve State's Assault Weapons Ban

U.S. District Judge Robert Benitez of San Diego issued a ruling that overturned the decades-old ban last week, comparing the assault weapons to Swiss Army knives.
Carlos Hernandez holds his face mask while getting a haircut during the pandemic.

La gran reapertura de California: ¿Qué cambia, y qué no, el 15 de junio?

El gobernador Gavin Newsom prometió un regreso a los negocios, pero podría haber excepciones para que la vida cotidiana vuelva a la normalidad. Aquí hay preguntas y respuestas para aclarar la confusión.
Carlos Hernandez holds his face mask while getting a haircut during the pandemic.

California's Big Reopening: What Changes — and What Doesn't — on June 15?

Gov. Gavin Newsom promised business as usual, but there could be exceptions to everyday life returning to normal. Here are questions and answers to clear up confusion.