Tony Cokes
Past event



Retro (Pop, Terror, Critique), Tony Cokes’ first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, brings together over 45 videos and text animations from the past 15 years. Taking the form of a new multichannel installation conceived for REDCAT by the artist, the exhibition offers a survey of Cokes’ recent output, while subjecting his own artistic practice to the looping processes of use and reuse. The repurposing of existing works to this end furthers the repetition of images, sounds and texts that has been characteristic of the artist’s work since his acclaimed Black Celebration (1988), which pairs newsreel footage of uprisings in urban black neighborhoods in the 1960s with textual commentary and popular music references from the 1980s.


“Pop Manifestos” (1997–present), “The Evil Series” (2001–present) and “Art Critique Series” (2008–present) are brought together for the first time in a series of eight programs that rotate each week of the installation’s eight-week run at REDCAT. Cokes’ extensive project maps a set of ongoing and concurrent interests that treat the discourses of cultural studies, media theory and art criticism as readymade systems of reference. Having described how perceptions of race, gender and class are perpetuated in the entertainment industry by what he calls the “representational regimes of image and sound,” Cokes’ videos indiscriminately redeploy texts from recent critical theory––whether borrowed from his own writing or from others––to reveal the complicity of critique as yet another form in the process of media representation.

An online catalogue of the videos included in Retro (Pop, Terror, Critique) is available for streaming throughout the exhibition at

Funded in part with generous support from Joy Simmons and The Faculty Development Fund, Brown University.

About the artists

Tony Cokes (b. 1956, Richmond, VA) currently lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island where he is Professor in Media Production in the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. His video, sound and multi-media installations have appeared in exhibitions and screenings at The Museum of Modern Art and The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; MuHKA, Antwerp, Belgium; MACBA, Barcelona; and the Centre Georges Pompidou and La Cinémathèque Française, Paris. He has been included in such notable exhibitions as the 1st Berlin Documentary Forum at the House of World Cultures in Berlin (2010); the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2002, 1991); and Documenta X in Kassel, Germany (1997). His work also has received regular support from media-art festivals including Freewaves in Los Angeles; the Rotterdam International Film Festival in Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid; the Oberhausen Short Film Festival in Oberhausen, Germany; and the Impakt Festival in Utrecht, The Netherlands. In 2008–09, Cokes was a Resident Scholar/Artist-in-Residence at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.