Rat Hole Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of the late artist Jack Goldstein (1945-2003).
Jack Goldstein’s performances, films, paintings, and sound works of the late 1970’s and early
80’s helped define the early stages of post-modernist art. A leading member of the Pictures
Generation in New York that initiated a paradigm shift in art focusing on the critical
examination of images, he has served as a major influence on many artists who came after him
and has been called one of the most important artist’s artists in the last 30 years. On view from
January 25 until March 25, this exhibition marks the first time for Jack Goldstein’s work to be
shown in Japan.
The Jump“, 1976 16 mm, color, silent, 26’
courtesy of Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne and The Estate of Jack Goldstein
Jack Goldstein was born in 1945 in Montreal, Canada and moved with his family to Los Angeles when
he was a teenager. Goldstein received his initial training at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles
and then went on to earn a master’s degree as a member of the inaugural class at the California Institute
of the Arts (CalArts) in 1972. During his time at CalArts, he was a student of and teaching assistant to
John Baldessari, where the primary focus of Baldessari’s famous “post-studio-art” class was the
analytical investigation of imagery produced by the mass media.
Goldstein created a number of minimalist sculptures early on in his career, but soon turned to
performance and film. During the 1970s, Goldstein divided his time between Los Angeles and New
York, and from 1973 he began to produce a group of color films using professional technicians and
special effects from the film and entertainment industry. With flashes of color and spectacularization
undermining the iconic architecture of the image and the “place” of the viewer, these films were
interrogations of media, technology, and spectacle, showing the artist’s fascination with appropriated
Pop culture and Hollywood imagery. One of the most famous of these color films is The Jump (1978), a
twenty-six second loop film projected onto a red painted wall, which will be shown in the exhibition at
Rat Hole Gallery and was also screened at last year’s Venice Biennale. In The Jump, made using altered
footage taken from Leni Riefenstahl's documentary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Olympia, the image of
a somersaulting high board diver is rotoscoped, tinted gold, scattered with stars, and placed against a
void-like black background, out of which the figure repeatedly dives. Goldstein’s use of the rotoscoping
technique strips the image of all identifying references, and the element of spectacle overpowers
physical matter. Along with other members of the Pictures Generation, which takes its name from the
landmark 1977 “Pictures” exhibition at the Artist’s Space in New York City and also included artists
Robert Longo, Sherrie Levine, Troy Brauntuch, Goldstein’s examination of the image was based on an
attitude of conceptual distance, in reaction to the extreme dominance of technology and media in
post-war American society.
In 1976, Goldstein commenced with a new body of work, the records. These were colored vinyl records
of sound recordings sourced from commercial archives that conjured intense visuals with titles such as
“Burning Forest” or “Wrestling Cats.” These audio works served as a further abstraction to his films
and were also designed as “images” to be installed on a wall without the possibility to play them.
Goldstein conceived his records as both sound carriers and visual objects, saying “the records, they’re
sounds as image, so I saw them as pictures.” Altogether, Goldstein produced eight record works, each
of which differed with regard to design, size, and playing time. Out of the eight works, three consist of a
series and one of these series, A Suite of Nine 7-Inch Records, will be on view in this exhibition.
Jack Goldstein’s oeuvre spans sculpture, performance, film, sound, photography, and painting. Central
in his work however are primarily the 16mm films and records made in the 1970s, which can be
considered among the finest examples of post-conceptual work from this time period. This exhibition
will provide a unique and rare opportunity to view among Jack Goldstein’s most famous film works- a
selection of ten short 16mm films from the period 1974-1978 including The Jump, MGM, Shane, and
Butterflies- as well as a display of his record series.