Anthony Ramos, ‘Plastic Bag Tie-Up’, 1972, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)

In this harrowing performance, Ramos and another man (the artist Lowell Darling) are blindfolded, their hands and feet bound, and sealed into body-sized plastic bags. Over the course of twenty minutes, the men struggle to escape from the clear plastic bags. The real-time performance creates a palpable tension in the viewer as the men writhe inside the bags. Ramos created and performed this piece at Cal Arts, shortly after he had been released from federal prison, where he had served eighteen months for resisting the draft during the Vietnam War.
Performers: Anthony Ramos, Joe Ray, Lowell Darling.

Image rights: Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)

About Anthony Ramos

Anthony Ramos is a performance and media artist, known best for using his art for political activism in the 1970s. Ramos pioneered the use of video art as a means of commenting on and criticizing mass media through appropriating and distorting found footage and images. In his own words, his works “attempt to develop a different perception of events” from “mass mediated ‘truth’.” He is particularly interested in African-American identity, global crises, and the dissemination of news through television. Allan Kaprow, with whom he studied and worked, was a major influence. In addition to his artistic pursuits, Ramos has also served as a video consultant to the United Nations and National Council of Churches. Late in his career, Ramos has shifted to painting as his primary medium.

American , b. 1944, Providence, Rhode Island, based in Eyguieres, France