SoHo Pioneer: Jaime Davidovich (1936-2016)

Jaime Davidovich walking through the Silver Towers

Jaime Davidovich walking through the Silver Towers (photo: Jaime Davidovich Collection)

Jaime Davidovich, painter, video and installation artist, and friend of The SoHo Memory Project passed away in August at the age of 79. Born in Buenos Aries, Davidovich moved to SoHo in 1964. He and his then wife, Judith Henry, founded Wooster Enterprises, after the street on which they lived, a conceptual stationery design studio affiliated with the Fluxus group.

An array of items available through Wooster Enterprises

An array of items available through Wooster Enterprises (photo: Churner and Churner WOOSTER ENTERPRISES catalog)

In 1976, he founded Cable SoHo with a group of artists interested in the power of public-access broadcasting. This group later turned into the Artists’ Television Network that produced “SoHo TV”, a weekly arts magazine on Manhattan Cable Television. Davidovich then developed “The Live! Show,” which premiered in 1979 and ran until 1984.

 

 Videokitsch Commercial

Davidovich was a visionary who saw the power of cable television as a medium for disseminating art, ideas, and social commentary. “The Live! Show” included “celebrity” interviews (Laurie Anderson, Gregory Battcock, Eric Bogosian) and performances. Davidovich also taught art lessons on the show, including a lesson on how to paint Ronald Reagan. My favorite segment, however, was when Davidovich became Dr. Videovich, a “specialist in curing television addiction.” Dressed in a white lab coat, Dr Videovich took calls from viewers, showed commercials, and, sold “videokitch,” a collection of store-bought merchandise and limited-edition objects designed by Davidovich, such as television sets in the form of piggy banks, cookie jars, and windup toys.

After The Live! Show was cancelled due to escalating broadcast fees, Davidovich began making work that addressed politics and installed temporary video theaters in museums and galleries. He also had retrospective exhibitions at major museums, as well as gallery shows of his work from SoHo Enterprises and SoHo TV.

 

SOHO STORIES with JAIME DAVIDOVICH
Paul Tschinkel

Over the past few years, I had the privilege of meeting with Davidovich several times. At one meeting, he lent me his old slides of SoHo and granted me permission to use them to support my project, a very generous gift. Below is a selection of Davidovich’s photographs, including a few of himself. These images bring back memories of old SoHo and of the man who captured it as it was. Jaime Davidovich will be sorely missed.

SoHo Window

SoHo Window

West Broadway

West Broadway

Grafitti TV Art

Grafitti TV Art

Raw Loft

Raw Loft

Wooster Street Paula Cooper Gallery

Wooster Street Paula Cooper Gallery

Wooster Street Paula Cooper Gallery

Wooster Street Paula Cooper Gallery

Grand Union

Grand Union

Mercer and Prince Streets

Mercer and Prince Streets

SoHo Doorbells

SoHo Doorbells

420 West Broadway Gallery Building

420 West Broadway Gallery Building

 

 

 

 

8 Responses to “SoHo Pioneer: Jaime Davidovich (1936-2016)”

  1. Elizabeth Shelley Says:

    My Mother grew up at 452 West Broadway – my grandparents emigrated from Italy in the early 1900’s. My Mom was born in 1922, and lived there until she married in 1953. My grandfather eventually bought the building at 454 West Broadway – he owned a machine shop that he ran out of 454, and it had 2 floors of apartments. As an aside, my father’s father worked in the 1920’s and 1930’s at a publisher or newspaper company that was at 420 West Broadway!!

  2. Yukie Ohta Says:

    Hello Elizabeth- What an amazing family history on West Broadway! I would love to see picutres if you have any. Thanks for sharing!

    • Elizabeth Shelley Says:

      Your welcome! I don’t know if I have pictures of the buildings, but I will ask my older cousins if they do. The pictures in your post were how I remember going to my grandparents on West Broadway in the late 60’s, early 70’s. I used to walk up to that Grand Union with my Mom and Grandma to shop. Thank you for the memories!!! Regards, Elizabeth

  3. Nina Litvak Says:

    A trip down memory lane… Thank you for this wonderful tribute to my father, Jaime Davidovich. He is deeply missed.

  4. Karin Greene Says:

    Thank you for this. Jaime will live in my heart forever and always…

  5. Karin Greene Says:

    so moving amd wonderful to hear Jaime’s beautiful voice telling one of his many stories – stories I have never tired of hearing – thank you again…

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