SCHQ Electric presents Jonathan Horowitz’s 2010 single-channel video work Art Delivers People. First shown at the gallery in 2011, the text-based work presents a stream of statements that meditate on the role of art within society, set to organ music by the American composer Philip Glass.
The video revisits Richard Serra and Carlota Fay Schoolman’s short video Television Delivers People (1973), in which television is explored as a capitalist instrument of corporate control, antithetical to art. In Art Delivers People, Horowitz reinterprets this oppositional relationship, setting forth a satirical treatise that interrogates the notion that art serves a socio-economic purpose essentially different from commercial media.
A continuous stream of declarations reveals slippages between the subliminal capacity of art to empower and influence, the starkness of plain text precluding any aesthetic pretence: ‘it has no inherent value and unlimited potential value’, ‘control over art is an exercise in controlling society’ and ‘you are the product of art’. The words amass to poignant effect, excavating a complex network of stakeholders at play and positioning art and tv alike as potent vehicles for constructing meaning and societal perceptions.