David Cort shooting Mayday Realtime. Photo courtesy of the Videofreex
Videofreex: The Art of Guerrilla Television
This exhibition surveys the history and mythology of the Videofreex, one of the world’s first video collectives, a collective of artists, storytellers, and activists who produced and disseminated alternative media across New York and other U.S. communities during the 1970s.
Unknown photographer, Videofreex with Bouncer, 1971. Courtesy of Parry Teasdale and Carol Vontobel (Videofreex)
Organized by independent curator and scholar Andrew Ingall, the exhibition, which includes 22 newly restored videotapes, over 90 photographs and slides, and nearly 80 other objects including drawings, prints, ephemera, publications, and historic audiovisual equipment, surveys the history and mythology of the Videofreex. They ran community educational workshops and presented new work in important museum exhibitions, published articles in Radical Software, and screened tapes at The Museum of Modern Art.
John Dominis, Chuck Kennedy at his workbench, 1973. Courtesy of Parry Teasdale and Carol Vontobel (Videofreex)
The materials on exhibit, largely borrowed from the personal archives of the Videofreex themselves, display the Videofreex as documenters and broadcasters of counterculture, participants in significant exhibitions of video art, and precursors of a new generation of artists utilizing social media and social practice. Highlights include vintage video interviews with political activists Abbie Hoffman and Fred Hampton, images of feminist and anti-war protests, and humorous programs like The Buckaroo Bart Show and The Lanesville TV Newsbuggy.
John Dominis, Videofreex at Sony Portapak technology at Maple Tree Farm, 1973. Courtesy of Videofreex
The Videofreex exploited the new technology of portable video as an emerging medium for creative expression and as a democratic tool for disseminating independent points of view in a pre-digital age. By establishing the first pirate television station in the United States, the Videofreex created a base for media education and training, and an informal media art center hosting local and international visitors.