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Frames of Reference; Artist in the Seventies, An: Peter Campus

Part of New Television Workshop.

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Frames of Reference
Artist in the Seventies, An: Peter Campus
Series Description

“Frames of Reference” was a series that began circa 1978. Half-hour shows were produced to showcase commissioned and already created works. It was around this time that the focus of the Workshop shifted, to concentrate more heavily on creating works for broadcast. During its time, “Frames of Reference” was the focus of the Workshop’s national arts programming effort. In an attempt to raise funds and foster collaboration, Workshop personnel approached and visited several public television stations nationwide. The major collaborative relationship was with WGBH’s “sister station,” WGBY (Springfield, Mass.). Among the featured artists were Meredith Monk, Remy Charlip, Trisha Brown, and Peter Campus. In 1981, “Frames of Reference” was packaged and offered to PBS, during what is known as “flex time” and was broadcast by WGBH, WNET (New York), and WGBY (Springfield, Mass.). “Frames of Reference” ended as a series ca. 1983, because of a lack of funding. Series release date: 1978

Program Description

“An Artist in the Seventies” is a documentary-style compilation of works by video artist Peter Campus. In addition to the four short works presented, the program features interviews with Fred Barzyk and Olivia Tappan of WGBH, Barbara London of the Museum of Modern Art, Joyce Nero of the John Weber Gallery, and the critics and funders Russell Connor and Brian O'Doherty. These individuals analyze and discuss the importance of Campus' work and the emergence of video art as a new field, emphasizing the ways that art-making practices of the 1970's differ from those of the previous decade. The works themselves feature portraits, mostly self-portraits, which play with camera techniques and props to create the illusion that figures are disappearing and emerging. The works included are “Three Transitions,” “Four Sided Tape,” “East Ended Tape,” and “Third Tape.”



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Documentaries and factual works
Compilation films
Video art
Film and Television
Campus, Peter, 1937- ()
Connor, Russell ()
Erdman, John ()
Dowling, Susan ()
Chicago: “Frames of Reference; Artist in the Seventies, An: Peter Campus,” GBH Archives, accessed June 19, 2024,
MLA: “Frames of Reference; Artist in the Seventies, An: Peter Campus.” GBH Archives. Web. June 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Frames of Reference; Artist in the Seventies, An: Peter Campus. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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