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CLOSED CIRCUIT: Video & New Media at the Metropolitan

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art

By Glenn Loney



The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.

Closing April 29, 2007

Maria Marshall (British, born Bombay, 1966). When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Cooker (video still), 1998. © Maria Marshall

These intriguing works by such talents as Darren Almond, Jim Campbell, Omer Fast, Ann Hamilton, David Hammons, Maria Marshall, Wolfgang Staehle, & Lutz Bacher--whose entry gives this show its title--suggest that Still Photography, as an Art-Form, may be in Serious Trouble.

Photo-Curators are falling all over themselves to make Videos welcome to their galleries. But most video-art installations require a spectator-friendly Black-Box for maximal Viewing-Impact. This can crowd still-images off the walls to set up a kind of Black Maria of photography-in-motion…

Dear deaf Tom Edison, where are you, now that we need you?

Considering the technical-innovations constantly being made in Videography and the degree of Visual Clarity & Sophisticated Imagery now possible, it's odd how many Museum-Quality Videos look deliberately crude & amateurish.

Darren Almond's Schwebebahn is a case-in-point. Fortunately, it is only 12 minutes long. This suspended rail-line is in Wuppertal, famed as the home-base of Pina Bausch and her Tanztheater.

The Met Wall-Text reveals the genius of Almond's creative videography: ''Almond used a primitive, handheld Super 8mm camera for the crude beauty of its blurred, hazily colored images. He then inverted and reversed the footage, while also somewhat slowing its speed…''

It looks like box-cars moving underwater. But that is an Uninformed Perception, as the Curatorial Explanation demonstrates: ''Almond is a mesmerist of the first order, working at the point where individual perception and consciousness intersect with the mundane and everyday.''

Motorists & Pedestrians, Beware: Watch Out for this Dangerous Video-Intersection! Look both ways, and Obey the Traffic-Lights!