Acceptable entertainment has to flatter and exploit the cultural and political assumptions of the land of its origin.”
- Marshall McLuhan, “Television” in Understanding Media.
Acceptable Entertainment presents a selection of photographs by twenty-six contemporary artists who are involved with both the imagery and institution of television. Through their varied investigations these artists attempt to transcend TV’s restrictive point of view – to momentarily stop the continuous flow so that we may analyze the content. Ranging from the poetic to the political, their photographs repackage the fragments of broadcast images brought daily into our living rooms.
The transmission of television’s message is like a one-way street: it denies entry. Most viewers are passive receivers of the barrage of random information that TV delivers. The artists included in Acceptable Entertainment differ because they take television on their own terms, developing a relationship between the producer of TV and its user. These artists reject the idleness of the passive viewer, preferring instead “to gain access to the magic of the signifier.” Interpreting TV’s output, they decode and modify its reading while generating a product for exchange.