As a Times critic, Klein wrote a scathing review of one of Paik's Fluxus performances during the Avant-Garde Festival in New York in 1965.
Mr. Paik is a rampant member of the The Neo-Dada movement, whose head is John Cage. For this avant-garde segment, and it is a minor one, the "happening" is the thing. You just get up and do whatever comes to your head.... "The thing to do is keep the head alert, but empty." Mr. Paik seems to be succeeding.... Fraught with pretensions of profundity, Mr. Paik's efforts lacked any spark of originality, sensitivity or talent .7When Paik actually met Klein in 1967, the situation was different. "Howard wasn't anti-video," recalled Paik. "He was anti-happening. It is nice that Howard did not take that as a bad example of my work. He is a good, straight guy. He is absolutely not a tricky guy. With Howard you always know where you stand." 8 That year, Paik had run out of money and owed Con Edison a large sum. He had become resigned to leaving the country until Klein (newly hired at the foundation) bailed him out by orchestrating a $13,750 grant to the State University of New York at Stony Brook for Paik to become a "consultant in communications research" (Allan Kaprow, who was teaching at Stony Brook, was also responsible for initiating the grant). During that time, Paik wrote the first of two reports he would write for the foundation, probably his most important essay, "Expanded Education for the Paper-Less Society."9 Throughout the years, he received many other grants and artist-in-residencies from the foundation, including support for his two large collaborative satellite broadcast projects, Good Morning, Mr. Orwell (1984) and Bye, Bye Kipling (1986), and for his retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1982. Paik officially served as Klein's advisor during 1973.
While he has received much publicity as an artist, Paik's role as an operator behind the scenes in the development of video art has remained largely unexamined. There is no question that Paik was a key figure in fostering video art in its infancy and assisting in its "museumization." He has been instrumental in encouraging younger artists, among them Bill Viola, Kit Fitzgerald, and John Sanborn, and in orchestrating the founding of several organizations and programs. He often acted as liaison between Klein and the video community, introducing him to curators John Hanhardt, Barbara London, and David Ross (meetings that resulted in grants to the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Everson Museum, respectively), and provided the creative force behind several grant trends. Klein defines Paik's role:
Nam June has the most extraordinary combination of self-effacement, in terms of giving everybody else credit, and also self-promotion, because he has always been very aware of his position in history. In one sense, it is a manufactured position, but it isn't manufactured because it is in fact
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