SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

80 Langton Street

Chip Lord, Performance (16th March 1981)



The presentation was divided into ten separate programs, including Motel Stories, L.A. Itself, Reservations and SFO/LAX Corridor. The most intriguing piece was Executive Air Traveller, a document of the artist’s travels by air over a four-year period. Lord, recipient of a United Air Lines Executive Air Traveller Plaque in recognition of his extensive air travel, documented himself dressed (or camouflaged) as a businessman in a polyester suit, forever sitting in airport lounges, or posing, briefcase in hand, outside of terminals, next to rented Mustangs and Monte Carlos. A tape of ambient sounds played as we followed him to motel rooms all over the country, to witness the year’s first snowfall in Philadelphia, a Holiday Inn in Hartford, Lord’s sexual encounter (real or setup?) with a woman, accompanied by television baseball. Because of the artist’s presence, this and Abscam (Framed) were the most effective pieces. In Abscam (Framed), a videotape, Lord rented the same hotel room where Abscam took place, taped himself and a friend there and intercut his video with real news footage of the frameup. The results are rough, but they bring up all sorts of notions about the relationship of media and culture: video as news as art as entrapment as law enforcement. (Pritikin 1981)