G. H. Hovagimyan

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A Soapopera for iMacs

G. H. Hovagimyan is an experimental cross media, new media and performance artist who lives and works in New York City. He was born 1950 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In 1972, He received a B.F.A. from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and received an M.A. from New York University in 2005. He is a professor at the School of Visual Arts in the MFA Computer Arts Department. He was one of the first artists in New York to start working in Internet Art in 1993 with such artists' online groups as the thing, ArtNetWeb, and Rhizome.[1][better source needed]

He has collaborated with English/French sound artist Peter Sinclair on a number of works and was an active member of the artist's group Colab.

Early works[edit]

112 Workshop[edit]

Control 112-25.jpg

From 1973 to 1986 he was involved in the SoHo and Lower East Side underground art scene. His first solo exhibition, a rigorously conceptual art show at 112 Workshop in 1973, was titled Control Designators.

"...Hovagimyan made use of three types of designators to direct the viewers experience of the space at 112: 100 number codes indicating the surface topologies of the space, three visual sighting devices functioning like a gun-sight to locate 100 points in the space, and 100 language signs giving directions for the ways to think about the space and move around within the space. The system was based on Jean Piaget's theory of child development as opposed to adult intellectual development. Thus, the basic matrix of the artist's code was related to the progression from undifferentiated surface topology through geometric triangulation to the linear sense of language experienced in reading."[2]

He has worked with artist Gordon Matta-Clark on several projects, namely: Days' End, Conical Intersect, Walking Man's Arch, and Underground Explorations. In 1974 during the video-performance series at 112 Greene Street, he performed opposite Spaulding Gray in Richard Serra's video A Prisoner's Dilemma.

East Village and Punk[edit]

Much of Hovagimyan's early work was ephemeral in nature. It involved performance art, written and language works, and temporary installations in galleries. A word piece, Tactics for Survival in the New Culture, was exhibited in "The Manifesto Show" (1979) organized by the artist collective Colab. This particular piece was to become the basis for one of his first online hypertext works in 1993. He showed in several group exhibitions organized by Jean Dupuy, a French Fluxus artist living in New York at 405 E. 13th Street.[3] In 1980 Hovagimyan did a series of punk performance pieces for Artist's Space series called Open Mic. One piece, Rich Sucker Rap was recorded by Davidson Gigliotti for a video tape called Chant a Capella which Electronic Arts Intermix carries in its catalog. He also performed in several No Wave Cinema films among them, The Offenders (1980) by Scott B and Beth B and The Deadly Art of Survival by Charles Ahearn.

Recent works[edit]

Media and New Media[edit]

In the early 1990s Hovagimyan started working in Media Art and New Media Art. Some of the pieces involve using a combination of photographs and text, often mimicking advertising. In May, 1994 his twenty billboard project for Creative Time, Hey Bozo... Use Mass Transit that received quite a bit of press.[4] The work was seen on several newscasts such as Good Day New York and the NBC Nightly News (nationally). It was written up in the NY Post, NY Daily News, The New York Times, etc. A telephone interview with the artist and a report on the project was distributed over the AP newswire.

Shooter hovagimyan.jpg

Around the same time he began working with computers and the internet. One of the earliest internet artists, his first pieces, BKPC,[5] Art Direct and Faux Conceptual Art were written about in the art magazines Art in America [6] and Art Press [7] He also hosted an internet radio/TV talk show called Art Dirt. The first of its kind, Art Dirt, is part of the Walker Art Center's Digital Studies Archives collection. His collaborative works with Peter Sinclair include Soapopera for Laptops/iMacs, Shooter and Rant/ Rant Back/ Back Rant. Shooter, an immersive sound and laser installation was developed at Eyebeam Atelier as part of its Artist in Residence program.[8]


  1. ^ Eyebeam biography blurb
  2. ^ Brentano, Robyn and Mark Savitt, eds. 112 Workshop/ 112 Greene Street History, Artists & ArtworksNew York University Press, New York. 1981
  3. ^ (1980) Collective Consciousness, Arts Performances in the Seventies, Publications NYC, New York.
  4. ^ Mass MoCA (1999). Billboard. Art on the Road. The MIT Press. p.21.
  5. ^ http://www.rhizome.org/object.php?o=47662&m=1020747
  6. ^ Atkins, Robert. (1995). 'Art in America', December, "Art On Line" pp.63
  7. ^ (1998).Special Issue, Hors Serie Numero 19 Techno: Anatomy of Electronic Culture, France. p104-105
  8. ^ Eyebeam biography blurb

External links[edit]