Wynn Chamberlain’s Brand X

Wynn Chamberlain, Brand X, 1969, still from a color film in 16 mm, 86 minutes. Tally Brown.

ONE WEEKEND IN FEBRUARY 1969, the painter Wynn Chamberlain and his wife, Sally, were snowbound in their upstate New York cottage. There was nothing to do but watch television. As they switched from channel to channel, they were overwhelmed by the banality of the programs, which were incessantly interrupted by cheesy commercials, and they weren’t sure which were the more puerile. It was at that moment that Chamberlain decided to use a TV show mash-up as a frame for ridiculing the politics and commercialism of the late ’60s, while celebrating the era’s embrace of sex, drugs, and long hair.

Chamberlain had recently produced Charles Ludlam’s Conquest of the Universe, one of the high points of the Theater of the Ridiculous. Its cast included many Warhol superstars, including Taylor Mead, Candy Darling, and Ultra Violet, and Chamberlain decided to do another ensemble piece in the same

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