Nancy Buchanan’s California Stories
Watch an exclusive two-week screening that explores the myths and realities of the Golden State.
Lilia Rocio Taboada, Nancy Buchanan
Sep 20, 2023
Nancy Buchanan’s California Stories screened here September 20–October 4, 2023. The video is no longer available for streaming. Join us for the next Hyundai Card Video Views, screening on October 18.
Beginning in the 1960s, artists in Los Angeles took advantage of the city’s available space and diverse communities to experiment with new ways of telling stories through video. Art schools across Southern California fueled the scene, creating hubs for technology to make its way into the hands of artists, who often used video to explore the pervasive social issues of the time, from the experience of the body in space and represented on a small screen, to feminist practices, to the Black Arts Movement.
As an art student at the University of California, Irvine, from 1965 to 1971, Nancy Buchanan emerged from the center of this vibrant experimentation with the new medium, and it was key to her continued exploration of the social capacities of art during the 1970s. She was a founding member of the experimental F Space Gallery in Santa Ana, along with fellow UC Irvine students Chris Burden and Barbara Smith, then was closely involved in artists’ groups at the Woman’s Building and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, among other nonprofit organizations that structured the city’s art scene. During a detour from Los Angeles while teaching in Wisconsin, Buchanan made California Stories (1983), creating a playful test of the medium as a tool to distribute myths and realities of the place she came from. By way of the camera, Buchanan bridged the two locales, in many ways visually connecting communities through the perceptions of her newfound space.
On the occasion of this Video Views, I discussed California Stories with the artist, and the wide-reaching role of video in her practice since then.
—Lilia Rocio Taboada, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance
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