Lawrence Weiner b. 1942
For Example Decorated (1977)
1977, 23 min, color, sound
'Writes Alice Weiner: For Example Decorated is an art world talk show between personalities Britta Le Va, Peter Gordon and James Sarkis. The show begins with Le Va, seated at a table, introducing the show (i.e. reciting the credits). Then she introduces herself, soviet style as in Do You Believe In Water? by saying her name and then clapping. Gordon and Sarkis do the same, and they are finally all clapping. They sit down and talk. A coffee table in front of them is covered with Lego blocks. As they converse, they build little structures.
A soundtape made for the installation of the work HAVING BEEN MARKED WITH (i.e. decorated) HAVING BEEN DECORATED WITH (i.e. marked) WITH A PROBABILITY OF BEING SEEN at the Konrad Fischer Gallery, 1977, is played at intervals throughout For Example Decorated. The soundtape has a number of tracks that were mixed by Weiner. On one track the work is read by Le Va and Weiner along the artists' 'conditions': 'the artist may construct the work; the work may be fabricated; the work need not to be built...' On another Le Va talks generally about how to make friends with transvestites, what they like and don't like. And another track has Le Va singing an old Marlene Dietrich song, 'Falling In Love Again.' The work track, her conversation and the singing are multi-lingual, shifting naturally between English and German.
Le Va says that there is an assumption that people who make artifacts are a class in and of themselves. Gordon says that museums provide a limited audience; television reaches many more people. Le Va thinks that the poor people in the suburbs don't need to be disturbed by an artist's problems. Rock and roll bands are different, a painting can be a thing by itself. Artists make art first for themselves, then show it to their friends, then give it to a dealer to sell. Artists have to have criticism, says Gordon. The audience is your peer group, says Sarkis. Le Va notices Sarkis' shoes and wants to know where he got them. Sarkis finds the question hostile: he is dressed as a transvestite, and his shoes are high heels. His nails are lacquered. Several times the camera focuses close-up on his face &emdash; he speaks faintly, his eyes flicker. Le Va talks about art works being destroyed by ignorance because people did not know what they were.
The tape ends with Le Va saying 'I am not an artist, but if I were I would...so why should I?' while the camera focuses on a close-up of Sarkis' elegant foot and shoe."
Produced by Moved Pictures, New York City. Directed by Michael H. Shamberg. First Production Consultant: Carlotta Schoolman. Videophotography: Michael H. Shamberg. Ambient Audio Track: From the Soundtape i.e. Decorated (Solo Exhibition, Konrad Fisher Gallery, 1977) Players: Peter Gordon, Britta Le Va, James Sarkis. First Presentation: The Kitchen, New York City, ca. late May, 1977. (Group screening with Richard Bloes et al.) -- EAI
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