Tony Conrad was one of the earliest practitioners of video art. Conrad moved to Buffalo, New York, in 1976 to teach video at the University at Buffalo’s Center for Media Study, where he remained for the rest of his life and actively contributed to the cultural fabric of the city. As an inventor of Minimalist music and pioneer in Structuralist filmmaking, he is considered to be one of the most influential creative luminaries of his generation. From the beginning of his career, Conrad experimented with the cross-pollination of different artistic mediums and genres, often pushing the boundaries of how these are traditionally defined.
Yellow Movie 2/23–24/73 is from a series in which Conrad explored the intersection of film and painting. He conceived of these works not as paintings but as films of incredibly long duration, devoid of the action or narrative typically associated with Hollywood cinema. When the works were first debuted in 1973, Conrad referred to their installation as a “screening.” To make this work, and others like it, he painted a rectangle of cheap house paint on paper and framed it with a black border. Over time the central painted rectangle will slowly yellow, much in the same way film emulsion does. This yellowing happens with or without exposure to light; it is always “screening,” as the passage of time itself actively marks its surface.