Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk
Andrea Fraser’s 1989 video Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk is a fictional docent tour performed by the artist at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The performance simultaneously parodies and critiques the structures of cultural institutions.
I Feel Your Pain (A Performa Commission)
Liz Magic Laser’s 2011 video I Feel Your Pain dramatizes recent political events and speeches, recasting them as a romance narrative. The performance was originally staged, performed, filmed, and edited in real time at a movie theater in front of a live audience.
Made at the height of the feminist movement, Howardena Pindell’s Free, White and 21 (1980), Cynthia Maughan’s sixteen selected videos (1973–78), and Suzanne Lacy’s Learn Where the Meat Comes From (1976) present frank, derisive, and at times humorous commentary on identity, including female subjectivity, and—in Pindell’s case—race.
The Art of Vision
Examining the material and formal conditions of film, video, and animation, these artists build on the tradition of American avant-garde filmmaking. The program includes Julie Murray’s Untitled (light) (2002), Sandra Gibson’s NYC Flower Film (2003), Stan Brakhage’s Chinese Series (2003), Bryan Frye’s Oona’s Veil (2000), Luis Recoder’s Linea (2002), and Matt Saunders’s Century Rolls (2012).
Made in the early 1940s, Maya Deren’s At Land and Hans Richter’s Dreams that Money Can Buy draw on dream imagery and surrealism to produce non-narrative experimental cinema.
Structures and Gestures
Hollis Frampton’s nostalgia (HAPAX LEGOMENA I) (1973), Gordon Matta-Clark’s Splitting (1974), Peter Campus’s third tape (1976), and David Haxton’s Cube and Room Drawings (1976–77) each play with the structural properties of film. Following this formalist filmmaking lineage, Alex Hubbard uses the video frame to create a play in abstraction in Dos Nacionales (2008).
Mind Eye Body
Carolee Schneemann’s Meat Joy (1964) and Michael Joo’s Salt Transfer Cycle (1994) each explore the ritual-like transformation of human energy through the body, movement, and the organic world. These works are shown with Stan Brakhage’s expressionistic abstract film Persian Series 13–18 (2001).
Andy Warhol shot the film Henry Geldzahler (1964)
at twenty-four frames per second but projected it at the lower speed used for silent films, causing the projection to seem slowed. The result presents the notable critic and curator in a durational, and at times monumental, portrait of identity, personality, and discomfort.
Robert Beavers’s Sotiros (1975–96), Kevin Jerome Everson’s Act One: Betty and the Candle (2010), Anna Gaskell’s SOSW Ballet (2011), and David Hartt’s Stray Light (2011) are intimate observations that become poetic—sometimes lyrical, sometimes pensive—in their sustained duration.
Raphael Montañez Ortiz’s Cowboy and “Indian” Film (1957–58) and Morgan Fisher’s ( ) (2003) each make use of mainstream movie footage, remixing it in order to turn it against its narrative origins. Ortiz re-edits a classic Hollywood Western in a symbolic act of repatriation to the Native Americans. Fisher’s composition is a seemingly chance collection of interstitial moving pictures.
Inner and Outer Territories
The social and psychological space presented in Yvonne Rainer’s Five Easy Pieces (1966–69) and David Lamelas’s The Desert People (1974) is set against the landscape of the deserts of the American West represented in Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels (1978) and Walter De Maria’s Hardcore (1969).
Influenced by the rise of mass media, the works in this program—Dara Birnbaum’s PM Magazine/Acid Rock (1982), Dan Graham’s Rock My Religion (1982–84), Ericka Beckman’s You the Better (1983), and Charles Atlas’s Hail the New Puritan (1986)— examine popular culture, sub-culture, and imagined culture during the 1980s.
Mary Ellen Bute’s abstract films Synchromy No. 4: Escape (1937–38), Spook Sport (1939), and Tarantella (1940) start this program of works that investigate the intersection of color and form. Richard Serra’s Color Aid (1970–71) and John Baldessari’s Six Colorful Inside Jobs (1977) explore perception and process, while Amy Sillman’s Draft of a Voice-Over for Split-Screen Video Loop (2012) illustrates poetry with vibrant images.
In Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures (1962–63), David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly (1986–87), Nayland Blake’s Negative Bunny (1994), and Kenneth Anger’s Mouse Heaven (2005), intense desire is often expressed through indirect means, including role-playing and emulation or appropriation of popular culture.
Day Is Done
Mike Kelley based his 2005–6 Day is Done on
a series of high school yearbook photographs of “extracurricular activities,” which Kelley transformed into a fractured, quasi- narrative musical that cycles through themes such as personal trauma, the structure of the institution, repressed memory, mass cultural ritual, and adolescence.
Chronicles and Diaries
Raphael Montañez Ortiz’s Newsreel (1958) appropriates archival news footage to create a fragmented and inverted view of history. Jonas Mekas’s Lost Lost Lost (1976) recounts the artist’s coming of age in the immigrant community and artistic scene of New York. Each of these films, though disparate, works to navigate personal and political American histories.
Luis Recoder’s Linea (2002)—which is also included in the program The Art of Vision—is presented for one night only in its installation version. The looped, two-projector film installation creates an immersive experience of light and abstraction that builds upon the traditions of expanded cinema.
Hardcore and Shutter Interface
This special, one-night screening event brings together Walter De Maria’s rarely seen avant-garde Western Hardcore (1969) with Paul Sharits’s two-projection cinematic performance of Shutter Interface (1972).
Beat Life, Street Life
Helen Levitt’s In the Street (1952), Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie’s Pull My Daisy (1959), David Bienstock’s Nothing Happened This Morning (1965), and Lucas Samaras’s Self (1969) present a varied set of personal, subjective reflections on urban life in the mid-twentieth century.