Gretchen Bender: “Tracking the Thrill”

Bender Total Recall Still

Archived Event

No Longer Showing.

Among the most prescient yet overlooked figures of her generation, Gretchen Bender (1951-2004) anticipated our current state of image saturation, using scaffolds of screens, hypnotic repetitions of appropriated television footage, and aggressive sound as a critical match for an emerging cultural field of special effects and immersive viewing experiences. In this focused selection of Bender's videos, Total Recall—her seminal video performance, originally exhibited at The Kitchen in 1987—and Wild Dead are presented alongside the artist's efforts in music video and broadcast television, including her legendary title sequence for "America’s Most Wanted." Curated by Philip Vanderhyden for ThePoor Farm, and organized at The Kitchen by Lumi Tan and Tim Griffin.

Exhibition Hours: Tues–Fri, 12–6pm; Sat 11–6pm. Total Recall (1987) will be screened on the first floor Tuesday-Saturday every half hour from 12pm-5:30pm. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, there will be an additional 6pm screening. The running time is 18 minutes. There is no late seating. 

Special events:

A panel discussion featuring Dara Birnbaum, Hal Foster, and Robert Longo, moderated by Tim Griffin, will take place Saturday, September 21, at 6:30pm, following the final showing of Total Recall.

Stuart Argabright, composer of the soundtracks for Total Recall and Wild Dead, will lead an exhibition walkthrough on Thursday, September 19 at 5:30pm. 


Gretchen Bender “Tracking the Thrill” is made possible with support from Dedalus Foundation, Inc., Cowles Charitable Trust, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The exhibition was supported at the Poor Farm by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Anonymous, Walead Beshty, Barry Blinderman, Phyllis Bramson, Julie and Shane Campbell, Mary Ellen Carroll, Laurie Beth Clark, Susanna Coffey, Modesto Covarrubias, Chris D’Amelio, Jacci Den Hartog, Susanne Doremus, Nicholas Frank, David Frej, The Green Gallery, Wade Guyton, Karl Haendel, Richard Holland, Larry Johnson, Robin Kang, Beth Kantrowitz, Tony Karman, Bruce Knackert, Louise Lawler, Sharon Lockhart, Robert Longo, Russell Maltz, Corey McCorkle, John McKinnon, Jenny Mikulay, Karen Moss, David Norr, Sabina Ott, Jacob Palmert, Jason Pickleman, Sara Rafferty, John Rasmussen, David Reed, Laurie Simmons, Michael Smith, John Sparagana, Jessica Stockholder, Jeff Ward, James Welling, Thea Westreich and Ethan Wagner, Janet White, and Hilary Wilder.

Image: Still from Gretchen Bender, Total Recall, 1987. 

Video documentation shot by Iki Nakagawa.


  • Gretchen Bender Total Recall 2013 09 Jason Mandella 1
    Gretchen Bender Total Recall 2013 09 Jason Mandella 1

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