Anton Perich (b. Croatia, 1945) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work spans photography, painting, film, television, poetry, and fiction.

Born in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Perich moved to Paris at the onset of the French Social Revolution of 1968. In the late 1960s, he studied with Lettriste Movement founder Isidore Isou as a poet, painter, and filmmaker while printing and disseminating Lettrist propaganda throughout Paris. During this period, Perich developed an underground film theater at the American Centre Film Program that showcased and attracted a range of international filmmakers.

In 1970, Perich moved to New York where he landed in the center of the underground Downtown art scene. This environment, where art and night-life converged, became the basis for his photography. Working simultaneously as a busboy at Max’s Kansas City and a contributing photographer for Warhol’s Interview, Perich shot thousands of black and white photographs of the myriad of mainstays at Max’s, including Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn, Jackie Curtis, and Lou Reed.

The iconic personalities within Max’s Kansas City led him to create Anton Perich Presents, an early underground TV program on Manhattan Cable Television. The weekly broadcast served as a solution to what Perich observed as the failings of video art in the 70s: swallowed by bourgeois establishments, it had lost its ability to communicate. Recognizing that public television offered artists a gateway into mass media, Perich turned to break what he viewed as “the last taboo” by entering the living rooms of the American public. The show, starring actors such as Taylor Mead, Susan Blond, and Tinkerbelle, was immediately deemed controversial—and, in some cases, pornographic—due to its unconventional, deliberately lo-fi and improvised approach that sometimes included nudity. Following the show’s premiere in 1973, the Village Voice described it as “a major tv breakthrough in the making.” In 2011, Glenn O’Brien defined the program as “the first underground television show, and the wildest thing ever on the tube anywhere.” Anton Perich Presents, though frequently censored, remained on air until 1979.

In 1977, Perich developed and built an electric painting machine. Comprised of a motor, photocell, airbrushes, and bicycle chains mounted on a large metal framework, it stands as the first of its kind: in 2006, the New York Academy of Science’s Science and the City named the invention a “predecessor to the inkjet printer.” In his diary, Andy Warhol wrote of Perich’s machine, “Anton was at home with his painting machine and I was so jealous. My dream. To have a machine that could paint while you’re away.” Perich’s Machine Paintings were first exhibited at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in 1979. He continues to create paintings using the machine which, he says, “is constantly improving itself by deteriorating.”

In 1978, Perich began publishing NIGHT, an underground magazine featuring contemporary painting, fashion, fiction, essays, and poetry. NIGHT has been called “perhaps the most visually compelling of the many independent publications that emerged in downtown New York in the 1970s and 80s” (Gallery 98). The Italian adaptation of the magazine, NIGHT Italia, was first published in 2007. Both NIGHT and NIGHT Italia are still printed intermittently.

Perich’s paintings, photography, and film have been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including Gotham Book Mart Gallery, New York (1972), Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York (1979), Gallery Hirondelle, New York (1988), Galleria 12/13, Rome (2008), Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn (2011), and the Dominican Monastery in Dubrovnik, Croatia (2013). In 1975, Germany’s West German Broadcasting Corporation presented a one-hour television special, Anton Perich Show, on Channel West 3. Notable group shows include Lettriste Group at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris (1968), BANDE À PART at Agnès B. and Galerie du Jour, Tokyo and London (2006), Max’s Kansas City at Stephen Kasher, New York (2010), and Charles James: Beneath the Dress at National Arts Club, New York (2014). Major surveys of his work have been exhibited at Anthology Film Archives, New York (2006) and Postmasters Gallery, New York (2014). Selections of his photographs are in various public collections including the Warhol Museum, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, and the Akron Art Museum.