managed to illustrate every current art-world cliche from "process art". . . to the spurious concept of "spectator Involvement".. . Generally the level of imagination In these works was so low that the tube was merely treated as a kind of animated easel picture.33
Even if individual works were uneven, the overall impact remains uncontested. Stories of those who first saw the potential of video at Howard Wise Gallery in 1969 abound. As a writer for Time magazine, Michael Shamberg reviewed the show. He was impressed by the work and immediately told Gillette that he wanted to work with him and Raindance, then in the formative stages as a profit-making corporation. Russell Connor, who was working at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. found the exhibit "staggering," and decided to try to show the work at his institution. The logistics of this move proved complicated, and many of the artists were interested in producing new pieces, so Connor assembled a now show which opened in January 1970, "Vision & Television."34 (Within the year Connor went to direct NYSCA's newly established media program.) Like many other artists, Steina Vasulka was struck by the possibilities of video, and the show inspired her first work: "I went in there and saw Einstein blasting out, and it quite blew my mind."35
1969 was a pivotal year for video-as well as politics; the Wise show introduced the idea of exhibiting video art in a gallery and WGBH in Boston produced a series of videotapes, broadcast on March 23, The Medium Is the Medium. The artists involved overlapped with the group in the Wise show: Allan Kaprow, Paik, Piene, James Seawright, Tadlock, and Tambellini. As a result, serious consideration of video as art made ft debut in the art press. Critic John Margolies wrote, "Television is clearly ready to be recognized as an educational device and an artistic means of great influence. Analogous to film, which was not considered an "art" until it had been around for many years, television is finally receiving serious recognition." 36
In 1969 and 1970, the Wise Gallery sponsored several shows which added to its reputation as influential and progressive: an exhibition of sculpture by Frederick Kiesler; a group show called "Kinesthetics" which Included Lye, Juan Downey, and Carson Jeffries, among others; and the reconstructed Light-Space Modulator, by Moholy-Nagy. During the same period, Wise's concern about the Vietnam War grow. He Incorporated these concerns into the gallery's structure, establishing an "Information center" In the outer gallery which, according to a press release, would "be of interest to those who oppose our continued involvement in the Indochina War. "There, information about anti-war groups, congressional primaries, and constitutional issues was available along with videotapes of current events such as demonstrations, shot by the Videofreex and Raindance collectives and added by Ira Schneider.
Wise also sought new avenues of support for artists he considered to be at the
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