Gareth Long's exhibition Kidnappers Foil looked at the production of history, the figure of the amateur, and the recycling of media through the lens of itinerant filmmaker Melton Barker. From the 1930s through the 1970s, Barker traveled around the United States producing different iterations of the same film with casts of local children, titling them with slight variations on Kidnappers Foil. He made more than three hundred versions of the film, though fewer than thirty are known to survive, which have been rescued and preserved by the Library of Congress and the Texas Archive of the Moving Image thanks to the diligence of archivist and scholar Caroline Frick. Commissioned by Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, in 2014 and restaged in an expanded edition at the Blaffer Art Museum, Houston, in 2019, Long's installation treated Barker's films as unlikely readymades, projected simultaneously in the gallery to reveal the differences that emerge across the many takes on one script and the varying milieus in which they were captured. It is an unusual vantage on the history of cinematic production in the twentieth century.
Born 1979 in Toronto, Gareth Long lives and works in Brooklyn. Underlying his diverse artistic practice is an interest in questioning and dismantling notions of authorship. The themes of copying, seriality, amateurism, stupidity, translation, and collaboration recur throughout his practice, both as a central thematic concern and as a method in the production of the work.
Gareth Long holds a BA in Visual Studies and Classical Civilizations from the University of Toronto and an MFA from Yale University. He has held solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Wien, Austria; The Blaffer Art Museum, Houston; Oakville Galleries, Oakville; the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; Kate Werble Gallery, New York; Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto; Galerie Bernhard, Zürich; Michael Benevento Gallery, Super Dakota, Brussels; Los Angeles; SpazioA, Pistoia; TORRI, Paris. His work has been shown at galleries and institutions such as MoMA PS1, Long Island City; The Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson; Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Denver; Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal; Artists Space, New York; Flat Time House, London; Spike Island, Bristol; Wiels, Brussels; Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg; Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe; and Witte de With, Rotterdam.