From the archives: “Gretchen Bender: Tracking the Thrill” catalog designed for the Poor Farm Press (2012/2013). In 2012 Philip Vanderhyden and the Poor Farm (Wisconsin) organized a re-staging of Bender’s video performances “Total Recall” (1987) and “Wild Dead” (1984), which then traveled to the Kitchen (NYC) in 2013. The Poor Farm exhibition also presented some of her broadcast work for “America’s Most Wanted” as well as her music videos for Megadeath, Babes in Toyland, and New Order. The catalog includes documentation of the Poor Farm installations along with essays and interviews by Stuart Argabright, Amber Denker, Michelle Grabner, Tim Griffin, Carla Hanzal, Robert Longo, Peter Nagy, Lane Relyea, David Robbins, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Philip Vanderhyden.
Before Michelle approached me about this project I was, sadly, unaware of Gretchen Bender. After digging up as much about her and her work as I could find I quickly became a superfan. Then, In October 2013 I took a road trip from Minneapolis over to the Poor Farm to witness the two video performances in person. While living in a the same city as the Walker Art Center for two decades has exposed me to a lot of amazing work, these two Bender video pieces left a greater impression on me than most of the art I had seen in the midwest previously (and since). Truth be told, I kindly asked to watch “Total Recall” a second time after “Wild Dead” had ended.
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