A Tasty Mixture:<br> J&L's "Videos and Vodka"

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Available this month, "Videos and Vodka," the second DVD anthology from J&L Video, comprises selections from a video salon artist Jacob Dyrenforth and curator Eva Respini ran out of their Brooklyn loft from 2004-2006. A strong sense of community binds the works, owing in part to the fact that Dyrenforth received his MFA from Columbia alongside many of the featured artists, including Ohad Meromi, Guy Ben-Ner and Lisi Raskin, as well as to the number of emerging, New York-based artists in the program. In an essay accompanying the anthology, Dyrenforth and Respini foreground these facts, describing their decision to create Video Salon as arising, in part, from a need to provide their friends and the broader public with "non-traditional viewing spaces," in the style of the "collectives, collaboratives and artist-run spaces" established in New York in the 1970s. While the 1990s saw the rise of high-production films, videos and moving-image installations from artists like Matthew Barney, Doug Aitken and Jane and Louise Wilson, many younger artists, the curators claim, "are reconnecting to a history that pre-dates the black-boxed multi-channel universe." Several of the works, for example, build whimsical or fantastical scenarios from patently everyday materials and circumstances, like Untitled, Air Guitar (2005), in which Robin Rhode plays and destroys a guitar drawn, sequentially, on a wall; or Ben-Ner's Berkeley's Island (2000) where the artist/father's desire for solitude manifests itself as a Crusoe-esque life on a desert island, comically set in the center of his kitchen. Others present intensively personal or shared narratives, from the deconstructed footage and text of Lisa Oppenheim's Dioptric (2003) - taken from an imaginary scrapbook - to the three-way telephone conversation in John Pilson's Sunday Scenario (2005), where the back-and-forth between baseball aficionados becomes a language unto itself. - Tyler Coburn


Image: Guy Ben-Ner, Berkeley's Island, 2000

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