Acceptable Entertainment

  • Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Baldwin, 1985. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Erica Adams, Suburban Romance (Romantic Love), 1985. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Frank Majore, For Your Eyes Only, 1984. Courtesy of the artist and Marvin Heiferman.

  • Daniel Faust, Star Trek, Orlando, 1984. Courtesy of American Fine Arts, Co., New York.

  • George Legrady, White Noise, 1984. Courtesy of the artist.

Curated by Renee Riccardo, Paul Laster

Acceptable entertainment has to flatter and exploit the cultural and political assumptions of the land of its origin.”

- Marshall McLuhan, “Television” in Understanding Media.


Acceptable Entertainment presents a selection of photographs by twenty-six contemporary artists who are involved with both the imagery and institution of television. Through their varied investigations these artists attempt to transcend TV’s restrictive point of view – to momentarily stop the continuous flow so that we may analyze the content. Ranging from the poetic to the political, their photographs repackage the fragments of broadcast images brought daily into our living rooms.

The transmission of television’s message is like a one-way street:  it denies entry. Most viewers are passive receivers of the barrage of random information that TV delivers. The artists included in Acceptable Entertainment differ because they take television on their own terms, developing a relationship between the producer of TV and its user. These artists reject the idleness of the passive viewer, preferring instead “to gain access to the magic of the signifier.” Interpreting TV’s output, they decode and modify its reading while generating a product for exchange.



Renee Riccardo

Renée Riccardo began her career as an independent curator, organizing shows of contemporary art in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles from 1985 to 1990. During that time she was an Adjunct Curator for Photography at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1) in Long Island City, NY. In 1991 Riccardo founded ARENA, a contemporary gallery for emerging artists, at 128 Wooster Street in Soho. Two years later ARENA moved to a brownstone apartment on Clinton Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, where it functioned as a salon-style gallery space for six years. There, ARENA presented the first solo shows of Ann Agee, Joanne Greenbaum, Rachel Harrison and Jason Middlebrook among many others.

While exhibiting art in Brooklyn, she co-organized (with John Good) The Art Exchange Show, a contemporary art fair utilizing nine floors of abandoned office space in Lower Manhattan that combined art galleries with live performances in 1996 and 1997. After being featured on the cover of The New York Times Magazine for the article “Neo-Dealers” and on City Arts, a PBS cultural magazine on television, ARENA moved to Williamsburg to join forces with Feed Gallery and became .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

In 2002 ARENA relocated to Manhattan to the renowned Chelsea Arts Building at 526 West 26 Street where she presented the work of now renowned artists Marilyn Minter and Wangechi Mutu among many others. In late 2004 Riccardo established ARENA Projects as a nomadic gallery, continuing to promote the work of emerging artists by organizing independent exhibitions for galleries and institutions nationally. Currently Riccardo curates exhibitions entitled, Wrap Around at ARENA@Suite 806, the current incarnation of ARENA in her therapist’s office on Fifth Ave., NYC.

Paul Laster

Paul Laster is a New York desk editor at ArtAsiaPacific and a contributing editor at FLATT magazine, Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, and artBahrain. He was the founding editor of and; started The Daily Beast‘s art section; and was previously art editor of and Russell Simmons OneWorld magazine. He is a frequent contributor to Time Out New York, Art in America, Modern Painters, ArtPulse,, New York Observer, and and has written for Interview, Paper, Flash Art, Newsweek, Bomb Magazine,,, Avenue, Tema Celeste, amNew York, and

A former adjunct curator at New York’s P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1), Laster has organized exhibitions for galleries and nonprofit institutions since 1985. His curatorial projects from the past decade+ include Altered States (2002) at Stux Gallery, New York; New York Stories at The Brewster Project (2003); The Inverse Mirror (2003) at Chambers Fine Art, New York; Word (2004) at the Bronx River Arts Center; Me, Myself & I (2004) at Florida Atlantic University Gallery, Boca Raton, FL; Co-dependent: Construction and Deconstruction (2005), Living Room, Miami; It’s a Beautiful Day (2006), Ise Cultural Foundation, New York; and Emotional Landscape (2006), Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn; The Garden at 4AM (2009) at Gana Art New York; Driftworks: The Pratt MFA Show (2013) at Loft594, Bushwick; and Santero: Sculptural Works by Jorge A Valdes (2015) at Corridor Gallery, Brooklyn.

An exhibiting artist, Paul Laster has had 17 solo exhibitions in the United States and Europe, and participated in numerous group shows worldwide. His works are in many public and private collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Art Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Gallery of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art.

Finally, as a lecturer, Laster has spoken on art and curatorial practices and the use of the Internet and social media for building careers at Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Sandberg Institute, New York University, New York’s School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, California Institute of the Arts, Otis Art Institute, University of California in Riverside and Santa Barbara, Florida Atlantic University, Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Brooklyn Museum, National Academy Museum, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Cyan Museum of Art, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Art Omi, Expo Chicago, the Armory Show, Art Chicago, New York Academy of Art, and the Outsider Art Fair.


touring schedule

Santa Monica Museum of Art
Santa Monica, CA, United States
October 1, 1998 - December 1, 1998

Edmonton Art Gallery
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
April 11, 1998 - June 14, 1998

Art Gallery of Ontario
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
January 28, 1998 - April 22, 1998

Meyerhoff Galleries, Maryland Institute of Art
Baltimore, MD, United States
November 21, 1997 - December 21, 1997

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY, United States
August 30, 1997 - October 26, 1997

Virginia Beach Center for the Arts
Virginia Beach, VA, United States
January 9, 1994 - February 20, 1994

NEW YORK, NY 10013
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