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Leo Castelli / Sonnabend Videotapes and Films


In 1974, Leo Castelli Gallery founded the Castelli / Sonnabend Videotapes and Films (CSVAF) as a sub-division of the gallery. The idea was to facilitate the sale and distribution of moving-image art (film and video production). A partnership was concluded with Ileana Sonnabend. The overall structure was directed by Nina Sundell and Joyce Nereaux.

CSVAF became the first organization devoted to selling moving-image art in the United States. The organization produced a series of exhibitions with Leo Castelli Gallery between 1974 and 1980, all held at 420 West Broadway. In June of 1974, a single exhibition contained works by Vito Acconci, John Baldessari, Robert Bell, Lynda Benglis, Peter Campus, Frank Gillette, Tina Girouard, Nancy Holt, Joan Jonas, Paul Kos, Richard Landry, Andy Mann, Charlemagne Palestine, Richard Serra and William Wegman. At its peak, CSVAF offered some 400 videos and films for sale or rent and represented upwards of 35 artists.

CSVAF also published Castelli / Sonnabend Videotapes and Films, a series of three catalogues that provided written descriptions, film and video stills, but also prices for the works on offer. Castelli / Sonnabend Videotapes and Films was first published in November of 1974, while the second and third volumes were issued in 1975 and 1977. All three volumes can be viewed on Castelli’s website here.

Worth noting, is the lack of an edition number on this list (the number that appears next to each title is the page of the work’s description). CSVAF ventured to sell unlimited-edition films and videotapes as works of art, hence the omission.

CSVAF made videotapes available on half-inch reel-to-reel or three-quarter inch videocassette, and with few exceptions, all films were offered in 16 mm. CSVAF closed on July 1, 1985, though Castelli Gallery continued to showcase works by artists in both video and film.


Castelli Sonnabend: Videotapes and Films, New York
Vol. 1, 2 and 3
2020, 216 pages,  28.5 x 22.5 cm
Available on the Castelli gallery website

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