Outreach: Jaime Davidovich, 1974-1984 is the first solo exhibition in Chicago of video and television works by the pioneering, overlooked Argentine artist Jaime Davidovich, curated by Daniel Quiles. This show examines the dynamic ten-year period in which Davidovich transitioned from formalist experiments with installation and video to producing public-access cable television programs.
Born in 1936 in Buenos Aires, Davidovich first exhibited paintings in 1958 and moved to New York City in 1963, where he developed a mode of post-minimalism based around the application of strips of adhesive tape to gallery walls. In the early 1970s, Davidovich began to use videotape as well, gradually began producing his own videos that methodically reflected on his immediate environment in downtown New York City: his studio and the city block directly outside it. In 1976, he became a founding member of Cable SoHo, one of the earliest initiatives toward artist-made television, and in 1978 became president of the Artists’ Television Network. Between 1979 and 1984 he produced The Live! Show for the Manhattan Cable Television, on which he appeared as his TV personality, Dr. Videovich—a specialist in television addiction. Throughout this period, certain of Davidovich’s projects, among them La patria vacía (Empty Fatherland, 1975) and Evita Then and Now: A Video Scrapbook (1984), reflected on ongoing political problems in Argentina from an expatriate’s perspective.
Three programs of Davidovich’s work will rotate over the course of the six-week exhibition. Each of these will feature work from a range of dates that attests to rapid transformations in the artist’s sensibility and technological possibilities.
Jan. 23 – Feb. 7
3 Mercer Street, 1975
Outreach: The Changing Role of the Art Museum, 1978
The Live! Show, QUBE Episode, 1982
Feb. 10 – Feb. 28
Walking SoHo, 1975
SoHo Presents Television 1977, 1977
Adventures of the Avant-Garde, 1981
Mar. 3 – Mar. 21
La patria vacía, 1975
The Gap, 1982-83
¡Saludos Amigos!, 1984
Evita Then and Now: A Video Scrapbook, 1984
The exhibition will also include works on paper, archival materials from the artist’s communications with both art and broadcasting institutions and a collaboration with ACRE TV, where works by Davidovich will be incorporated into ACRE TV’s thematic broadcast stream Direct Object/Direct Action and will be installed and broadcast in the gallery during the run of the exhibition.
Daniel Quiles is an Assistant Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he teaches courses on the postwar art of the Americas. He received his Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2010, and is currently completing a book manuscript titled Ghost Messages: Argentine Conceptualism, 1965–72. He is also an art critic who writes for Artforum, Burlington Magazine, among others. He was a 2003–2004 Critical Studies Fellow in the Whitney Independent Study Program, and recently received a 2013 Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.
Special thank you to Henrique Faria New York.