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TO OCT. 16
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The notion that political and media figures exist in altered states outside the boundaries of their televised interviews was first explored in the 1992 documentary Feed. Directors Kevin Rafferty and James Ridgeway, with the help of video artist Brian Springer, obtained (legally) satellite feeds of Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and others awaiting televised interviews during the 1992 New Hampshire primary. The politicians come off none too well as they have their makeup applied, test mikes, blow their noses, and—in one case—tell an off-color joke. Now, a dozen years later, comedian Harry Shearer, whose unassailable credits include This Is Spin¬al Tap and The Simpsons, has taken the next step in an exhibition running for just one week at Conner Contemporary Art. On a bevy of crisp flat-screen TVs, Shearer cues up continuous, soundless loops of visual feeds featuring both politicians and media stars. The silence clearly leaves such shouters as Chris Matthews and James Carville out of character, but most of the figures shown appear as much in persona when the red light is off as they do when it’s on, including Peter Jennings (leaning back imperiously), Larry King (befuddledly squinting for cues), Bill Kristol (stroking his chin), Al Gore (nodding incomprehensibly), Ralph Nader (bug-eyed and doing shoulder exercises), John Kerry (flashing a toothy smile), George W. Bush (puckering his lips tightly), and John Edwards (undergoing a seemingly endless makeup session). (Wolf Puffs is pictured.) The only mystery is where Shearer got so much secret footage. The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, Oct. 16, at Conner Contemporary Art, 1730 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 588-8750. (Louis Jacobson)