true. His thinking has always been 50 years ahead of everyone else's. I would have a meeting with Nam June and he would give me ideas, and I would say, "Nam June, I need a whole foundation just to follow up on three of your ideas."
In the late 1960s, as assistant and then associate director for arts, Klein began to look at public television and the role it could play in the support of artists. Certainly, this move could be seen as a response to artists such as Paik who were clamoring to get on the air waves and who had had only limited opportunities to do so. It was in looking at the role played by other foundations and at the overall philosophy of the Rockefeller Foundation that Klein decided to concentrate on funding what could be seen essentially as research and development of television. During the 1960's the Ford Foundation gave many millions each year for the support of public television. According to Klein,
the Ford Foundation made the public television system, for all its weaknesses and strengths. I looked at it and, knowing Norman Lloyd's take on support, said, "Well, we can never do that. If we are going to work in television, we really should support artists' research in television." So that is what we started doing in 1967 .... The whole question was: Can these public television stations not develop research and development arms in their own field? What industry doesn't have a research and development department?
Klein's initial intent was to convince the foundation to give a significant amount of support for public television, with the notion that if the experiment wasn't carried out at a substantial level, with major public television stations that were most likely to welcome this sort of thing, that we would never know what was possible." Indeed, from 1967 through 1977, the foundation awarded more than $3.4 million for experimental works in public television. The three major projects initiated and funded by the foundation were the National Center for Experiments in Television (NCET) at KQED (San Francisco), the New Television Workshop at WGBH (Boston), and the Television Laboratory at WNET/Thirteen (New York City).
Of these three, NCET was the most experimental in concept and the most process oriented. The genesis for NCET was a $150,000 grant that Klein's immediate predecessor, assistant director Boyd Compton, initiated in 1967 to KQED for a television production of Paul Foster's play !Heimskringla!, directed by Tom O'Horgan with Ellen Stewart's La Mama Experimental Theater. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) soon provided funds also. In 1967, Brice Howard, who had been executive producer of cultural programs at WNET, came out to run the program (which was not officially NCET until 1969). Brice Howard has a very distinct philosophy, which was the guiding force at NCET through its years. He is a metaphysical thinker who maintained a strong rapport with younger artists
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