Inbox: Jaime Davidovich

Dec 15, 2016–Jan 29, 2017


Installation view of Inbox: Jaime Davidovich at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Shown: Jaime Davidovich. Tape Wall Project. 1970. Video (color, silent; 5 min.) and adhesive tape. Latin American and Caribbean Fund. © 2017 Estate of Jaime Davidovich. Photo: John Wronn
  • MoMA, Floor 1, Garden Lobby The Agnes Gund Garden Lobby

Jaime Davidovich was a groundbreaking Conceptual and video art pioneer largely known for his media activism and advocacy for local, artist-run cable-access TV programming. When he began experimenting with the nascent medium of video, in 1970, the technology available to consumers was black-and-white only, cumbersome, and expensive. While working in Cleveland, Ohio, Davidovich gained access to sophisticated color video equipment located at a hospital. It was there that he conceived Tape Wall Project (1970), an installation that juxtaposes a continuous field of color made from strips of yellow duct tape with a video that depicts the repetitive process of applying tape. This was the first of several works by the artist to pair adhesive tape and magnetic videotape—one inert in its physicality, the other instilled with the undetermined potential to capture and record visual information.

When Davidovich arrived in New York City from Buenos Aires in 1963, he was making abstract, monochromatic paintings on unstretched canvas and simply taping them to the wall. The tape not only became part of the composition itself but evolved into a tool for the exploration—and eradication—of the boundaries between an artwork and its spatial or social context. By 1969 Davidovich had embraced this utilitarian material as medium, form, and gesture, creating tape installations in gallery spaces and in urban environments. Tape Wall Project marked a turning point in the artist’s career—he soon after became a key figure in the development of SoHo as a center of artistic activity. This recent acquisition reflects MoMA’s continued focus on enriching its holdings of major works by groundbreaking Latin American artists of the 1960s and 1970s.

Organized by the Department of Media and Performance Art.


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