Discover the Secret Brian Eno


Over Brian Eno’s fertile career, he’s been heralded as a ’70s glam god, father of ambient music, legendary rock ‘n’ roll producer, and doe-eyed guru of all things mildly futuristic. “Video artist” isn’t a term that normally comes to mind. But Eno created some fabulous videos in the early ’80s, especially during his brief stint in New York. 14 Video Paintings collects various shots from two works, Mistaken Memories of Mediaeval Manhattan and Thursday Afternoon. They are richly textured, slowly shifting portraits that blend Andy Warhol’s static-camera films with Stan Brakhage’s painterly abstraction. But there’s something uniquely Eno about the whole thing. He began taping Mistaken Memories in 1980 by laying a weighty video camera on its side and aiming it toward a wedge of New York City skyline. The upended skyline looks foggy and mysterious, and the equally misty soundtrack was shaped from bits of his classic albums Music for Airports and On Land. That wistful, entrancing New York cityscape is far more romantic than Thursday Afternoon, an impressionistic image of a nude woman filmed in San Francisco in 1984. That woman is Eno’s friend Christine Alicino, and though she is beautiful, Thursday Afternoon seems strangely impersonal, almost anatomical, a collection of pixels floating in slow motion.