Video art, as small A projects owner Laurel Gitlen points out, is simultaneously one of the toughest forms of art to replicate, as well as one of the easiest.
"You can't really look at it in a magazine or as a JPEG," she says. "But you can burn every video you've ever made onto a DVD that costs 10 cents, so it's incredibly easy in that sense."
This dichotomy is part of the reason that Gitlen launched the small A video library, which had its grand opening last week with a screening of videos by Rachell Sumpter, Dave McKenzie, and others. The concept for the library couldn't be simpler: Artists are invited to submit their video works to be part of the library, and every submission will be accepted and catalogued into the collection. The public, then, is invited to stop by the gallery, browse the library's holdings, and pull up a chair and watch as many videos as their heart desires.
Currently, there are more than 50 videos by a few dozen artists in the library, ranging from nationally acclaimed works by Harrell Fletcher and Dave McKenzie to "some really bad, random videos" from people whom Laurel has "never heard of."
This mentality of inclusiveness is part of what makes Gitlen so excited about the library. "It's a completely uncurated free-for-all," she explains. "People send me gallery submissions every day, and I love to make things happen for people, but I obviously can't give everyone a show. This way, I can at least encourage them to submit work to the video library. If your goal is really to have more people see your work, this is a great opportunity." Gitlen promises, though, that she'll steer library visitors to the stronger works in the collection.
Together we watched "One Thing I Can Tell You Is You Got to be Free" by Will Rogan—an amazing excerpt from a longer piece of the artist bouncing balls into juice glasses, tossing objects into precarious nooks, and gliding paper airplanes into tiny keyholes. It's a whimsical, lo-fi meditation on coexistence and harmony, a sort of emo Fischli & Weiss. It's also something that I probably never would have seen, had it not been for the video library.
So here we have a great new opportunity for both artists and art lovers in the city—so what are we waiting for? Let's put it to use!