Hard Choices: Do You Actually Like Video Art?

With a world in crisis and an art market spinning out of control, ace art-world consultants Chen & Lampert deliver a quiz full of hard choices for Art in America readers from far and wide.

You attended a major video-art exhibition and wonder if any of the pieces in it are better than the viral TikTok offerings your cousin made. Test your tolerance for moving-image art by answering a few survey questions and adding up your points for each answer with the key below.

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1. The wall label describes a work as a “video essay.” You think:

a) “Wow, I love subtitles!”
b) “What a great opportunity to use the restroom.”
c) “Oh my god, shut up already.”

2. The Nam June Paik video-wall installation leaves you feeling:

a) Overstimulated
b) Hypnotized
c) Hungry for bibimbap

3. Multichannel video installations about global social and political movements make you want to:

a) Throw Molotov cocktails
b) Donate to Doctors Without Borders
c) Buy museum-branded streetwear in the gift shop

4. Seeing yourself on a monitor in an installation about surveillance makes you think about:

a) The invisible means of control
b) Our shared lack of privacy
c) How television makes you look 10 pounds heavier

5. Dark immersive environments illuminated by projections give you a sense of:

a) Wonder
b) Fatigue
c) The hotz

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6. Trying to follow along with a video after entering somewhere in the middle is:

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a) Like skipping foreplay
b) Easier if you are shrooming
c) OK, because narrative is dead

7. The historic works at the start of the exhibit were:

a) Surprisingly complex given the primitive gear of the era
b) Low-resolution and hard to hear
c) Booooooooooooooring

8. The large-scale AI installation that makes live images on the fly is:

a) A major technological breakthrough
b) A screensaver for rich people
c) 404 Not Found

9. Videos that require putting on headphones make you:

a) Itch from lice
b) Feel more connected to the work
c) Quickly give up and move on to the next gallery

10. Your favorite work of video art is:

a) Semiotics of the Kitchen by Martha Rosler
b) Hell Frozen Over by Bernadette Corporation
c) Hell’s Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay


10–16 points: Keep on keeping up with the Kardashians to avoid squirming through another Mike Kelley video or stressing about how to pronounce Krzysztof Wodiczko’s name. Hating the art of our time is OK because you’ve probably always been out of step anyway.

17–23: You delight in the benches that video installations sometimes offer, and don’t especially care what you’re watching so long as it’s entertaining and you can split whenever you want.

24–30: Reared on video games and YouTube, you are the citizen of the future hypothesized by Buckminster Fuller, Marshall McLuhan, and other old nerds who didn’t live long enough to sneak a peek at Pornhub.

Source: artnews.com

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