Wisconsin Union Galleries - Porter Butts Gallery
University of Wisconsin Madison
800 Langdon Street
Through Jan. 25, 2011
In Video Check Out, New York artist Kristin Lucas displays concrete-cast VHS cassettes on a set of two, double-sided, white shelving units. Reminiscent of shelves found at video rentals stores of yore (or just down the road at Four Star Video Heaven), these clean, IKEA-esque versions stand in modern contrast to the roughly-made castings of videocassettes in varying shades of cement gray.
Viewers are invited to participate by signing out a "video" or placing his or her name on a list to receive a delivery; however, it was unclear if they actually do the deliveries. A desk with information and sign-out sheets stands near the entrance, above what looks not unlike a fast food, swing-door garbage receptacle. Upon peeking in, a lone cement videocassette awaits re-shelving at the bottom.
Although apparent tribute to VHS and in-store rentals during a time of NetFlix and iTunes online streaming, the minimalist display was semi-discreetly anti-nostalgic and, in a time of hyper-aging new electronics and ever-popular neo-vintage reproductions, provoked a somewhat vague contemplation of where the videocassette stands historically.