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Land Art: Fernsehgalerie Schum, London. Screenings of Gerry Schum's TV Gallery production

'The first situation which I have to explain is the fact that there is no real gallery room. The TV Gallery only exists in a series of TV transmissions, that means TV Gallery is more or less an "institution" of the mind" which comes only into real existence in the moment of transmission. It is no place to show real art objects, which you can buy and carry home.' Gerry Schum, quoted in the Ready to Shoot exhibition catalogue, Norwich Art Gallery, 2005 p.3.

Gerry Schum, with the assistance of his wife Ursula Wevers, pioneered a type of gallery only broadcast on television. Reacting against the commercialism of the art world Schum's 'Fernsehgalerie' comprised film and video works specifically conceived for the medium of television and designed to reach the largest possible audience.

Land Art, the first of Schum's broadcasts on the Sender Frieies Berlin TV channel, was shown in April 1969, and featured a number of important international artists including: Walter De Maria, Robert Smithson and Richard Long. Land Art followed trends in the advanced art of the time towards creating a utopian type of landscape art, impermanent and not subject to the art market.

Although the broadcast reached over 100,000 viewers and received positive reviews from art critics and journals at the time, Schum and Wevers was criticised by the television station SFB for failing to add a promised commentary to the film's soundtrack. However they went on to curate a second TV exhibition, Identifications, broadcast in November 1970, and featuring films and videos by Joseph Beuys, Mario Merz and Gilbert and George among others.

In October 1971, Schum opened the 'Videogalerie Schum' in Dusseldorf, producing and distributing limited and unlimited editions of films and videos by artists like John Baldessari and Richard Serra. Schum, however, found that the cost of producing limited video and film copies of works for the art market was not financially viable at that time. The Schum video gallery closed after his death in March 1973.

James Harding

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