March 10 – April 21, 2002
Straight to Video
Video recording was invented in 1956 as an intermediary in live broadcast television. It was a cheap means to pre-record and edit regularly scheduled programs taped from live events. Roughly twelve years later, conceptual and minimalist artists would take an interest in the medium, making “artist videos” at a time when there was no such thing as a video artist. Michel Auder is an exception. He chose video as his primary means of expression well before video was accepted as a practice in its own right.
Born in Soisson, France, in 1945, Auder began making films at the age of 18. As an aspiring young filmmaker, he fell under the influence of the French New Wave and experimental cinema, most notably Jean-Luc Godard and Andy Warhol. In 1969, Auder met and eventually married Viva, one of Warhol’s principal talents. A year later, they moved to New York where Auder has since resided. That same year, he purchased a Sony Portapak, one of the first commercially available video cameras. Since 1970 he has persistently documented the people, places and events that are his life.
Video allowed Auder to translate Warhol’s talent for making the banal glamorous and the glamorous banal into a diary practice which Auder himself did not consider fine art. His earliest works are simply called Chronicles. They have no narrative structure, but are lengthy excerpts culled (not edited) from hundreds of hours of raw footage. This material formed the basis for video travel logs and endearing portraits of friends from a cultural milieu including the likes of Hannah Wilke, Alice Neel, Annie Sprinkle, Cindy Sherman, Louis Waldon, and Larry Rivers, to name a few.