Anthony Ramos: About Media and Decent Men


Firehouse Cinema Fri, Apr 21 7:00 PM
Cast/Crew Info
Directed by:Anthony Ramos
Film Info
Runtime:95 min


Co-presented with EAI. Q&A with Anthony Ramos moderated by Jake Perlin.


About Media (Anthony Ramos, 1977, 25 min)


Decent Men (Anthony Ramos, 1977/2013, 70 min)


Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) and DCTV are pleased to co-present a special evening with Anthony Ramos, a significant but under recognized figure in video art history, who has produced a varied body of work ranging from confrontational direct-camera performance to provocative essayistic compositions using appropriated material as a satirical counterpoint. In these two interrelated videos, Ramos stages powerful mass media critiques to examine media representations of “truth.”


In 1967, Ramos served an eighteen-month prison sentence for his refusal to register for the Vietnam War draft, an act of conscientious objection with far-reaching resonance throughout the art that followed. On the occasion of Jimmy Carter’s 1977 declaration of amnesty for so-called “draft dodgers,” Ramos produced two major works drawing from his personal experience and the glib disconnect of political showboating. About Media (1977) documents, and deconstructs, Ramos's aired television interview by New York news reporter Gabe Pressman, revealing the construction of mainstream media's slick, obscuring veneer. Decent Men (1977/2013) is built around Ramos's powerful recounting of his prison stay, intercut with vintage cartoons that feature grotesque racial stereotypes alluding to America's long history of racial disenfranchisement through aggressive carceral strategies. Ramos began the work in 1977, but left it unfinished for nearly four decades, until he returned to EAI to finish his edit in 2013.


This screening is part of a career-spanning series of events and initiatives spotlighting Ramos, including an artist talk with Catherine Quan Damman; an evening featuring the travelog Mao Meets Muddy (1989), documenting his and painter Frederick J. Brown’s trip to Beijing just before Tiananmen Square; and an online program of early video-performance works. For more information, visit


Anthony Ramos was born in 1944 in Providence, Rhode Island. He received an M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts, where he was assistant to Allan Kaprow. Among his awards are a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowship and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship. In the 1970s Ramos was a video consultant for the United Nations and the National Council of Churches. In the 1980s, he lived in Paris where he was a Professor at the American Center, and oversaw the television cabling of ten blocks of Paris for the first time. He has also taught at Rhode Island School of Design, New York University, and the University of California at San Diego. Since the late ‘80s, he has been engaged with painting as his primary medium, producing a staggering output of vibrantly colored compositions.


Jake Perlin is a film programmer, distributor (Film Desk) and book publisher (Film Desk Books).  He is the Creative Director of Cinema Conservancy, a New York based non-profit which supports production and preservation, and serves as Archivist and Curator for the St. Clair Bourne/Bourne Family collection.


Founded in 1971, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is a nonprofit arts organization that fosters the creation, exhibition, distribution, and preservation of moving image art. A New York-based international resource for media art and artists, EAI holds a major collection of over 4,000 new and historical media artworks, from groundbreaking early video by pioneering figures of the 1960s to new digital projects by today’s emerging artists. EAI works closely with artists, museums, schools and other venues worldwide to preserve and provide access to this significant archive. EAI services also include viewing access, educational initiatives, extensive online resources, technical facilities, and public programs such as artists’ talks, screenings, and multi-media performances. EAI’s Online Catalogue is a comprehensive resource on the artists and works in the EAI collection, and features expansive materials on media art’s histories and current practices:


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