A Video First for Guild Hall

The cultural center’s first show to focus exclusively on video art
“Joyride,” a piece by Tony Oursler and Constance DeJong from 1988, will be shown in “Escape: Video Art” at Guild Hall beginning Saturday. Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

    Guild Hall will present “Escape” a video art exhibition featuring the work of Laurie Anderson, Burt Barr, Lynda Benglis, Jonathan Horowitz, Joan Jonas, Tony Oursler and Constance DeJong, Keith Sonnier, Andy Warhol, and William Wegman, beginning on Saturday with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m.
    In the cultural center’s first show to focus exclusively on video art, the artists chosen have striven to expand the medium, working within the single screen to more elaborate installations.  The theme of “Escape” is Long Island and the idea of it as a “beachy getaway.” In the words of Lauren Cornell, the show’s co-curator, executive director of Rhizome, and adjunct curator at the New Museum, “It explores the subject of escape from multiple angles: as leisure, as consumer frenzy, as a force of gentrification, and as a source of transcendence and transformation.”
    She is joined by Hanne Mugass, an independent curator, who sees the themes of the show as also touching on the political, perceptual, or recreational.
    All the artists have lived or worked here at some point. They often began working with video early in its development. The show begins there and continues through 1990, which was an important period for the medium and for artistic activity on Long Island, according to the curators.
    In an essay accompanying the show, the curators say that the artists have related to the theme in different ways. “Some, such as Keith Sonnier, have lived or worked on the Island for decades while others, like William Wegman or Andy Warhol or Joan Jonas, have had fruitful short-term stays,” they write. “The exhibition does not intend to present a comprehensive survey of video from Long Island but rather a selection of significant video works held together by their evocation of escape,”
    Before the reception begins, there will be a panel discussion featuring the curators and a few of the artists, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the John Drew Theater.