One of the first artists to appropriate television imagery, Dara Birnbaum dissects and recombines television's symbols and codes as a means of resisting its one-way address and encouraging active, critical viewing.
PM Magazine is one of Birnbaum's earliest multi-channel installations. Responding to the marginalization of video artworks in museums and institutions at the time, the artist claimed a space for video by painting two freestanding walls with colors significant to television production of the 1980s: Chroma Key Blue and red, which was considered too vibrant for the broadcast of a stable signal. Four monitors are framed by an industrial Speed Rail support structure similar to hardware used in television production and trade shows. Manipulating and re-editing sequences from the television program PM Magazine and a Wang Laboratories computer commercial, Birnbaum draws on strategies from feminism and institutional critique to alter the meaning and fundamental syntax of mass-media imagery. Set to a post-punk cover of The Doors' "LA Woman," PM Magazine undermines popular culture's emphasis on consumption, leisure, and gender stereotypes.
Gallery label from Cut to Swipe, October 11, 2014–March 22, 2015.