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ART/new york: A Video Magazine On Art
The Early Years, 1981-85 - Introduction

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In the early 1980s I worked on ART/new york, a video magazine about contemporary art sold by subscription to schools, museums and libraries. ART/new york was the creation of Paul Tschinkel, a video artist I knew from 98 Bowery with whom I had previously collaborated. Initially Paul had worked with another former 98 Bowery tenant, Tom Wolf. When Tom withdrew from the project, I took over the task of interviewing the artists and writing commentary for the tapes. ART/new york reflected the rise of video technology in the late 1970s. For the first time it was simple and fairly inexpensive to make and distribute movies for small specialized groups. Today, when up-to-the-minute video coverage of art exhibitions and artists is commonplace on cable television and on the Internet, it is difficult to imagine how innovative Paul's idea to take a video camera into New York art galleries was in the early 1980s.

It was an exciting five years. Seeing yourself on television was still a novelty and few artists turned down the opportunity to be interviewed and have their shows taped. We were a persuasive pair: Paul, with his easy manner and art world connections from his student years in the MFA program at Yale, and I, with a PhD in art history from NYU's Institute of Fine Arts and an active involvement with cutting edge art. The art world was booming and we captured many important moments: breakthrough exhibitions by Julian Schnabel, Cindy Sherman, Jean-Michel Basquiat; the controversy over Richard Serra's "Tilted Arc"; and works by Robert Rauschenberg made in China as part of his ambitious global exchange series. We received good reviews in library journals like Booklist, and schools and exhibition spaces in the U.S. and abroad subscribed to the series. The United States Information Agency (USIA) commissioned a special tape for one of their exhibitions, and purchased sets of ART/new york programs for U.S. embassies around the world. Paul continued with ART/new york after I left in 1985 to become a curator at the Queens Museum, and is still making new tapes and marketing the old ones on his website: artnewyork.org