Ant Farm
Media Burn, 1975

Ant Farm was founded in 1968 by Chip Lord and Doug Michels, who were soon joined by Curtis Schreier. The group created playful artworks that use built forms and performances to critique media culture and to propose new possibilities for society. Ant Farm presented the performance documented in Media Burn on July 4, 1975, at San Francisco’s Cow Palace arena. It was a parody of television news programs and a spectacular, humorous, and critical commentary on the mass media’s impact on American culture. The artists demonstrated this impact through the literal collision of two mega-icons: the automobile and the television. As the event opens, Doug Hall (of the performance collective T.R. Uthco), in the role of the JFK-like artist-president, lays the groundwork: "Now I ask you, my fellow Americans: Haven’t you ever wanted to put your foot through your television screen?" Two Ant Farm members then proceed to drive the Phantom Dream Car (a modified 1959 Cadillac Eldorado) through a pyramid of burning TV sets. The event was heavily featured in the local news, and Media Burn opens and closes with excerpts from this coverage; the media’s somewhat condescending tone ironically underlines the message of the piece.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Media Burn
Artist name
Ant Farm
Date created
single-channel video, color, with sound, 37 min.
dimensions variable
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Accessions Committee Fund purchase
© Ant Farm
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Other Works by Ant Farm

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