The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles soft-launched a new YouTube channel, MOCA TV, with nine short videos, this week. MOCA is offering a three-month membership to all subscribers. The first set of videos stick to studio visits, and all videos but a 90-second trailer for the project are aggregated, preexisting videos.
Several other playlists on the website promise future content, some, according to a press release, to be rolled out weekly, some monthly. Artists video projects, for example, will include videos by Eleanor Antin, Chris Burden, Ant Farm and Martha Rosler, among others. Art in the Streets will focus on street artists such as Barry McGee, JR and Swoon; Art+Music will be devoted to music videos and artist/musician collaborations; MOCA U will feature art education talks by artists, academics and critics; YouTube Curated By will feature playlists of YouTube videos selected by invited guests.
MOCA TV is part of a YouTube initiative—unveiled in 2011 and backed by several million in development dollars—to create more than 100 new channels to steal eyeballs away from traditional networks.
The videos now online, from the Artist’s Studio playlist, all under five minutes and augmented by mellow instrumental soundtracks, are heavy on L.A.-based artists (Mark Bradford, Robbie Conal, Dave Muller, Diana Thater and Marnie Weber) but also include New York-based Cai Guo-Qiang, known for his fireworks displays (the subject of no fewer than two videos on MOCA TV), and San Francisco-based multimedium artist Chris Johanson.
The studio visits offer some illuminating and/or funny moments. Bradford, for example, updates a notorious answer by Jackson Pollock to the question, “How do you know when you’re finished with a painting?” Pollock’s answer: “How do you know when you’re finished making love?” Bradford, more demurely but with a smile, says that a work is “a very intense relationship . . . and everyone knows when a relationship is over.”
Muller, who often creates paintings and drawings based on record albums, reveals that he’s not particularly sentimental about the vinyl format. He feeds one album into a shredder. “They’re just information,” he says.
At times the artists get reflective. Alexis Smith says, “The fun part is when it goes from being a bunch of junk to looking like—to I understand what it is and what it’s going to be. . . . My art sort of reveals itself to me.”
And they talk about ways they blow off steam. Robbie Conal reveals that when he’s had it with his lampooning portraits of politicians, he draws cats, “or fucking frogs. The octopus. Now there’s a great creature.”