Icebox Classic
Single-channel video, black and white, sound 6 min.
John Arvanites was among an early group of artists, like his classmates Wolfgang Stoerchle and Ilene Segalove, who embraced video as an artistic medium. These videos reflect his ironic sense of humor and relate to his time at UCSB. Sand, made while Arvanites was still an MFA student, appears to be a dramatic dessert vista with blowing winds, akin to a scene from the iconic film Lawrence of Arabia. Gradually the blowing sands give way to reveal a microphone recording the sound, destroying any kind of mythic imagery. Icebox Classic was made shortly after Arvanites moved to New York City to pursue his artistic career. It shows the hand of the artist outlining each of the myriad food products inside his refrigerator, while a classical music program plays in the background. “I was satirizing my art school experience where professors put up still lifes in class and then put on classical music.” By “drawing” in video Arvanites demonstrates not only how out of touch some of his classroom experiences felt, especially in relation to his own multi-media practice, but also his desire to deconstruct the romantic, idealized vision of the “the artist at work.”


b. United States, 1943


Gift of the artist




ARVANITES, John and b. United States, 1943, “ARVANITES, John,” UCSB ADA Museum Omeka, accessed September 27, 2022,