Curtis L. Carter
Marquette University
In the 1960s, there were efforts to move broadcast television in the direction of the experimental video art by altering television's conventional format. Fred Barzyk, in his role as a producer and director at WGBH-TV in Boston, was uniquely positioned to act as a link between television and experimental video artists who normally would not have had access to the technology available at a major broadcast facility. As the leading innovator in the beginnings of video art, the Korean American Nam June Paik deserves special mention. His work bridges the worlds of art, video technology, and television. The video works of Nan June Paik, Amy Greenfield, Peter Campus, Feng Meng Bo, Elizabeth Sussman and other video artists are considered in this essay as key contributors to the development of video art. The selection is based on my experience with the artists cited. Despite video art's growing popularity among contemporary artists in the 1970s and beyond, the museums were slow to acknowledge this development. One of the problems was deciding where, among the existing museum collections, to locate video art. In its 50 some years of history, video art has enjoyed a remarkable success in its artistic innovations while undergoing changes in formats virtually at the speed of rapid advances in electronic visual technology. Ironically, the legacy of creative television set in motion by Barzyk and his generation has been largely coopted by the television broadcasting industry, which mainly serves as a platform for mass media advertising.
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