Gretchen Bender

Gretchen Bender used film, photography, and installations to consider the plight of the individual in the wake of powerful corporations and burgeoning technology in the 1970s and 1980s. She arrived in New York City in 1978 and was associated with the Pictures Generation, particularly Richard Longo, who appropriated pre-existing images from the media “as a way of reading and deconstructing complex cultural codes.” With a scaffolded grid of 24 television monitors, hypnotic reels of footage from television commercials and films, and an overpowering soundscape, her 1987 artwork “Total Recall” provided a clear vision of the bleak diversions of the military-industrial-media complex. Bender preached that, “images themselves prevent us from seeing the reality of the world we’ve constructed.”


Gretchen Bender exhibited widely around New York City in the 1980s, and her work has been seen more recently at The Kitchen, New York, and Tate Liverpool, United Kingdom. The artist also edited music videos for New Order and Megadeth, among others, and is credited for designing the opening credit sequence for “America’s Most Wanted.” For the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Philip Vanderhyden remade her film People in Pain to consider how “our cultural experiences live and die.”

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