Dara Birnbaum, PM Magazine, 1982/2006, five-channel color video with three stereo channels, two black-and-white photo enlargements, paint, aluminum, and custom hardware. Installation view, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2007.

“First Generation”

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

SOME AMBITIOUS exhibitions devoted to the history of video art have taken place in recent years—“Video Acts in 2002 at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, for example, or “Beyond Cinema” this past winter at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin—but, curiously, they have predominantly been organized around loans from private collections. “First Generation: Art and the Moving Image, 1963–1986” represented a different sort of institutional commitment. For the past several years, Berta Sichel, director of the audiovisual department at the Reina Sofía, has been building a collection intended to illustrate the origins and early years of video art; this exhibition—comprising more than forty installations and projections, along with eighty single-channel works accessible via computers placed within the exhibition space—was a presentation of what the museum described as the

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