Poet and art critic David Antin observed that, to a great degree, video art derives significance from its relation to some aspect of television. This article acknowledges this and examines video art in the context of a cultural critique via a distinctive mixture of cross-disciplinary collaborations within the arts during the latter half of the twentieth century.

While the video art Antin described can be considered an extension of the postwar recalibration of the emphasis placed on art as object, it was also the beneficiary of early twentieth-century experimentation, such as Dada’s challenge to notions of art and expectations regarding aesthetics, as well as early experimentation in cinema. This intersection of culture and art histories finds its way into the early video work of Daniel Boord.

My main interest in Boord’s work is its relation to experimentation with theatricality, an area not usually associated with video art. Boord’s “lowbrow” absence of pretense and disregard for reductive formalism align well with Peter Brook’s conception of the “Rough Theatre,” as well as film critic Manny Farber’s notion of “termite art,” art that “feels its way through walls of particularization” and eats at its own boundaries. Boord’s work is a self-propelled dizzying array of humor, ideas, and juxtapositions that are well suited for the twentieth century—work that moves along according to its own self-defined boundaries of invention.

You do not currently have access to this content.