Bootleg (Boat Trip)
2003 projection from a digital source
Bootleg (City of God)
2003 projection from digital source
Bootleg (View from the Top)
2003 projection from digital source
Bootleg (Far From Heaven)
2003 projection from digital source


March 22nd – April 26th 2003
83 Grand Street

Team Gallery will present an exhibition of new video works by the Baltimore-based artist Jon Routson. Entitled Recordings, the show will run from the 22nd of March through the 26th of April 2003. The gallery is located at 527 West 26th Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, on the ground floor.

Jon Routson's exhibition measures the distance from the multiplex to the art gallery. An imposter in the audience — a fake mogul — Routson celebrates the movies by fully embedding their flesh with blemishes. Routson has appropriated the power to record and distribute motion pictures, however frail his renderings might seem. Frequently accompanied by extraneous sounds of shifting and coughing, Routson's bootlegs of Hollywood films are the totally mechanical fully humanized.

In the suburban sprawl surrounding Baltimore, Routson has been recording movies with regularity. Armed with a digital video camera, he simply goes to the pictures and records what he sees on screen. In so doing, he also captures something of the aura of the particular screening. Routson's bootlegs also inadvertently capture the wasteland that separates film and video technologies, a space one might refer to as a gap of failure. With their flicker effects, poor enframement, diminished acoustics, and radically inconsistent focusing, Routson's home-made films are, in some ways, throw backs to the cinephilia of the late 1960s. Routson's exhibition gets at the heart of the desire for the cinematic within contemporary fine art practice and it does so with an alarming directness. The artist will continue to bootleg films throughout the run of the exhibition, therefore some films, opening on Friday, will be screened in the gallery on the following day.

The form of the exhibition will change constantly as pieces are swapped with others from the Rouston library, and moved from space to space within the gallery. Routson has also taken on the role of curator having designed specific programming. One day's schedule, for example, is entitled Success Stories for Boys, Part 1, and will include simultaneous, continuous screenings of Willard, 8 Mile and Spider-Man.

Routson has created a group of works which, although initiated as fraudulent, are completely authentic. Both a fan and a distanced observer; quiet and undisturbed in the dark, he creates from the raw material of the original projected film, a second skin. One that was there all along but which we never noticed.

Among Routson's bootlegs are Jackass, Attack of the Clones, Femme Fatale and Solaris. This year's Academy Award nominees also feature heavily in Routon's temporary pantheon, as the gallery will be showing bootlegs of The Hours, Chicago, Far From Heaven and About Schmidt. Routson has also made three separate recordings of Final Destination II, each of them nuanced in a completely different way.

Also included in the exhibition is a bootleg of Matthew Barney's Cremaster 4, which Routson has edited for television. In fantasizing a complete cross-over success for Barney's art films, Routson places the work on ABC Television, cleaned up and riddled with commercial interruptions. The illusion is seamless, as pick-4 results appear over the credits and the ABC corporate watermark mars the bottom right hand corner of Barney's vision.

Ultimately we are grateful to Jon Routson for providing us, and our visitors, with car crashes, sex, musical numbers, explosions, epiphanies, suicides, suicidal stunts, evil demons and superheroes. Although these are all the stuff of film, Routson's show is, all the same, the stuff of art — obstinate, individualistic, sloppy and very, very personal.

This is Jon Routson's first solo show at Team Gallery. For further information and/or photographs please call the gallery at 212.279.9219.

« The Armory Show 2003 Exhibition history Experiment in Total Freedom »
Bootleg (Cremaster 4)
2002 monitor piece from digital source
Bootleg (8 Mile)
2003 projection from digital source
Bootleg (Willard)
2003 projection from digital source