Public Service and Other Announcements, on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from May 20 through August 3, 1997, brings together two decades of videos by artists using the formats of public service announcements or advertising. Many of the works were originally produced for broadcast or cable television. Some artists have employed these familiar forms to deliver information about pressing social issues such as racism, pollution and homelessness. Others devote the 30 to 60-second spots to exploring more personal subjects, including portraits of other artists and short performance pieces. A number of artists have chosen to subvert the conventions of PSAs and advertisements by reversing the camera to focus on TV viewers as subjects, or by satirizing the usual product promotions.
Artists whose works are featured in Public Service and Other Announcements include Laurie Anderson, Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Bill Viola, Stan Douglas, Gran Fury, Tom Kalin and Martha Rosler, among others. Programming in the Video Gallery, which is located in the Galleries of 20th-Century Art on the Museum's first floor, is made possible by the generous support of the Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.