TV Guides



"Television delivers people to an advertiser." So begins Richard Serra's infamous 1973 video of scrolling text and cheery Musak, "Television Delivers People." A denouncement of commercial television as an insidious and propagandistic tool of the state, the title and theme of Serra's famous tape areborrowed and expanded upon in an exhibition opening this week at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In an age when the video installation has primacy over the single-channel image, this group show reflects on early video's relationship to television and how that association has developed since the seventies. Artists include Alex Bag, Keren Cytter , Kalup Linzy , Ryan Trecartin , Michael Smith, Dara Birnbaum, Joan Braderman, of course Richard Serra, all of whom extend Serra's original critique through appropriation, and deconstruction of narrative and genre. While Serra's condemnation of the medium frames the exhibition in somewhat negative terms, the artists chosen by curator Gary Carrion-Murayari provide a more nuanced reflection on the mutable role and potential of television (and the internet) in contemporary culture. - Caitlin Jones

Image: Richard Serra, Television Delivers People, 1973.