Now Exhibitions

Gretchen Bender: Aggressive Witness—Active Participant

Three televisions are mounted at eye level broadcast a multitude of programs.

Commissioned by the Wexner Center in 1990 for one of its inaugural exhibitions, Gretchen Bender’s Aggressive Witness–Active Participant turns the pulsating cycle of nonstop American television into theatrical spectacle.

Consisting of eight domestic television sets (pre–flat screen era) interspersed with four computer monitors, Bender’s piece was one in a series of remarkably confrontational works taking live television imagery and abstract computer graphics as source material. Juxtaposing Bender’s original computer graphics with today's 24/7 newsfeed, this presentation creates a responsive continuity of political and televisual theater.

More about our fall exhibitions

Presented amid the most contested presidential election in American history and massive social upheaval surrounding the entwined public health issues of systemic racism and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wexner Center’s fall exhibitions highlight work from a diverse group of artists examining the tenets of American democracy, representative structures, and modes of political discourse. Discover more about the other exhibitions on view and related programs below.

Multiple televisions are mounted at eye level broadcast a multitude of programs.

Gretchen Bender, Aggressive Witness—Active Participant, 1990 (detail). Live television broadcast on eight monitors, vinyl lettering; black-and-white computer-generated film on four monitors; with soundtrack by Stuart Argabright. 19:41 mins., dimensions variable. Restoration courtesy of Red Bull Arts. Installation view from Gretchen Bender: Aggressive Witness—Active Participant at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Three televisions are mounted at eye level broadcast a multitude of programs.

Gretchen Bender, Aggressive Witness—Active Participant, 1990 (detail). Live television broadcast on eight monitors, vinyl lettering; black-and-white computer-generated film on four monitors; with soundtrack by Stuart Argabright. 19:41 mins., dimensions variable. Restoration courtesy of Red Bull Arts. Installation view from Gretchen Bender: Aggressive Witness—Active Participant at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Three televisions are mounted at eye level broadcast a multitude of programs.

Gretchen Bender, Aggressive Witness—Active Participant, 1990 (detail). Live television broadcast on eight monitors, vinyl lettering; black-and-white computer-generated film on four monitors; with soundtrack by Stuart Argabright. 19:41 mins., dimensions variable. Restoration courtesy of Red Bull Arts. Installation view from Gretchen Bender: Aggressive Witness—Active Participant at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

The artist Gretchen Bender sits on top of a television.

Gretchen Bender, 1986. Photo: Hans Neleman. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts and curated by Curator at Large Bill Horrigan.

MADE POSSIBLE BY
Greater Columbus Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Huntington Bank
Nationwide Foundation

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Kaufman Development
Cardinal Health Foundation

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Now Exhibitions

Gretchen Bender: Aggressive Witness—Active Participant