"Sampler 2 is a show organized in response to or following up on Paul McCarthy's "Sampler" exhibition at David Zwirner in 1993. In that show, Paul McCarthy assembled an eclectic collection of single-channel video works dating from 1970-1993, chosen from artists who work, or have worked in Southern California. His choices were varied and included much performance-based work as well as narrative pieces and animation. In the current show, Sampler 2, which includes 47 works by 25 artists, we have tried to concentrate on more recent work, mainly from the 1990's, that takes as its inspiration the look, genres, structure, and techniques used by the television industry.
The work in the exhibition varies greatly. While some artists embrace the most obvious attributes of television: the style, duration, and camera work; others imitate genres, or use only one element such as feature-length script, direction, professional actors, editing, or the soundtrack as the link. Though certain works end up looking very close to actual television, most do not, as the artists rarely find it necessary to complete the package–instead they use only the formal elements which best support the narrative/poetic of the piece.
Thus, whether working in a garage with a pixel camera and puppets made of old socks and sets made out of cardboard, or shooting on film in a professional studio with a cinematographer and actors, the artists in this show critically embrace the television industry, recognizing that the language it invented maybe transformed to suit the purposes of a different speaker. And so, it becomes possible to make single-channel video that dismantles pieces of the dominant structure in which it was made, while simultaneously making that action endemic to its creation of meaning as a work of art.
The show will be on view in three separate spaces of the gallery. The first space will feature four ninety-minute programs of short and mid-length works; the second space will be set up to show work that is best seen in video projection; in the third space, a number of feature-length videos will be in rotation."
by Diana Thater