The radical transformation of the American mediascape had an enormous impact on artists coming of age in the 1980s. This period witnessed a remarkable rise in the reach and sophistication of the mass media, in part because of advances in computer graphics and video-editing techniques. Television, radio, and newspapers played an unparalleled role in absorbing and spreading society's most conventional values. And yet because borrowing imagery from mass media has become a commonplace strategy among contemporary artists, it is sometimes difficult for us to fully recognize the innovative critical maneuvers employed by earlier artists to dispel and render more apparent the latent narratives and seductive allure of media culture in all its forms. Artists working in video, in particular, were oftentimes compelled to appropriate their imagery directly from media sources. Taking video imagery from popular culture and reediting it so that even the most ubiquitous footage seems strangely unfamiliar, these artists enabled audiences to see how editing methods used in everything from the nightly news to television dramas were quietly guiding viewers' perspectives and repeatedly inscribing mainstream principles. At the same time, they anticipated the enthusiasm for appropriated imagery, fast-moving cuts, and the flow of imagery across platforms that would become dominant in a number of cultural platforms, including contemporary art. 

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citation for this page
"Media." Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology Digital Archive. Los Angeles: Hammer Museum, 2017. https://​​take-it-or-leave-it/​art/​themes/​media/​.