History of EZTV

The Exhibition

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Kate Johnson projections onto buildings of the Getty Center for the opening of Pacific Standard Time (PST), 2011


The metamorphosis from experimenting with home video equipment to creating impactful large-scale projects & installations is an extraordinary transition. The story of EZTV is essentially the story of passion, connectivity, intellectual thought, bravery, and spirit.

With roots dating back to 1979, founder John Dorr established a foundation that empowered independent artists to operate in a medium that would publicly exhibit and preserve their authenticity, no matter how far-reaching or controversial the artwork may be. Throughout its 40-year history, EZTV and its members have witnessed various transformations, challenges, and triumphs that ultimately established the well known alternative art space that it is today.

Please peruse our carefully curated exhibition of EZTV’s monumental story. Learn about our humble beginnings and journey through the decades. This is our permanent historical collection that constitutes the very heart and core of EZTV.

historical collections

John Dorr: the legacy

“John Dorr at home” from the Los Angeles Reader,
photo by John Samargis, 1982

John Dorr had a vision for the wide-spread use and acceptance of feature-length narrative cinema created on home analog video equipment. It was this vision that led to the creation of one of the world's first video theaters, computer art galleries, and independent media centers. But before he could further his ambitions, he died of AIDS complications in 1993.

This collection dives into the life and legacy of John Dorr, EZTV's founding father. 

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Pre-EZTV 1979-1982

The Deja Vu Coffeehouse in Hollywood served as a popular alternative venue in early EZTV projects

In the years prior to the 1983 opening of EZTV, two media artists on the opposite coasts of the U.S. were developing their skills and interests in the independent photographic and video movement of the 70’s. 

John Dorr, after experiencing a lack of acceptance among mainstream Hollywood, began to experiment with home betamax video equipment in order to create his own feature films. Meanwhile, Michael J. Masucci was serving three years at Modernage Photographics in New York City, which became a strong influence on the material quality and production of works within EZTV. These subsequent events led to the concept and creation of a media arts space gallery, and eventual organization, that we now know as EZTV. 

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The Periods Exhibit

Members of EZTV during the Melrose Avenue Years, 1994

Throughout its abundant 40-year history, EZTV has operated under a number of facilities and art galleries that would birth a new chapter in its long life. The Periods Exhibit houses our largest number of collections in artwork, digital videos, and public event materials that are separated into four prominent periods: 

The 18th Street Arts Center Years (2000-Present)
The LACE Years (1996-2002)
The Melrose Avenue Years (1994-1996)
The West Hollywood Years (1983-1994)

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EZTV and the aids pandemic

An AIDS poetry benefit at EZTV, 1991

EZTV has always been longstanding supporters of the emerging community of openly LGBTQ persons since its early inception. Founder John Dorr, with his openly gay status, would inspire artists and create works in the context of human rights. However, the AIDS pandemic of the 1980’s proved to become a monumental challenge for EZTV members and the community. This is a collection about heart, fear, loss, and the strive for human connection. 

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Unfinished projects

Mark Gash's unfinished project "Le Mois Dernier", 1986

Sometimes good ideas never get realized.
In addition to the many videos, performances, and events which were completed and exhibited at EZTV, a number of viable and very promising projects remained unfinished or abandoned. This collection is comprised of excerpts and raw footage of projects that were never completed. 

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Michael J. Masucci in the PBS segment on EZTV, 1985

View and explore time-capsule documentary profiles on EZTV and its core artists. These documentaries serve as key insights into the nature and personalities of those involved in EZTV’s evolution. 

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