The Film-Makers’ Cooperative was founded during a period of vertiginous crossover and exchange within the arts. Its expansive collection speaks to the lasting influence of this interdisciplinary spirit. A treasury of artistic collaborations that span individual disciplines, it also serves as a repository of cinema’s own transactions with various artistic forms since mid-century – a space where film poems mix with visual symphonies, adaptations of experimental theater, and forays into the cine-dance.
Approaching the Coop’s collection as an archive of intersections between seemingly discrete artistic practices and forms, this screening presents a set of films that respond cinematically to a range of different media, from architecture to object art, happenings, painting, and sculpture. The works in this program thus present a remarkably porous conception of cinema, revealing a filmic medium that is profoundly open to the insights and impulses of the other arts.
Presented in the Charles S. Cohen Screening Room at the Film-Makers’ Coop, 475 Park Ave S. at 32nd St., New York, NY. Curated by Josh Guilford of Magic Lantern Cinema.
Vernon Zimmerman, “Scarface and Aphrodite,” 1963, 15 min.
An experimental documentation of Claes Oldenburg’s happening Gayety, which Zimmerman shot in Chicago in February of 1963, just before Oldenburg relocated to Venice.
Dick Higgins, “Hank and Mary Without Apologies,” 1970, 18 min.
This pulsing examination of form, color, and perception by an early proponent of intermedia explorations includes a soundtrack recorded during Ray Gun Specs, a 1960 happening with performances by Higgins, Oldenburg, Jim Dine, Allan Kaprow, Red Grooms, and others.
Marie Menken, “Watts with Eggs,” 1967, 2 min
A playful animation of Fluxus artist Robert Watts’s chrome-casted Box of Eggs by a filmmaker who began her artistic career as a painter, and who “moved adroitly between the media of paint and light, canvas and screen.” -Melissa Ragona
Ericka Beckman, “Switch Center,” 2002, 10 min.
“Switch Center is a tribute to the futuristic architecture of the Soviet post war period, and a reaction to seeing it transitioned to shopping malls or global corporate office structures.” -E.B.
Paul Sharits, “Brancusi’s Sculpture Ensemble at Tirgu Jiu,” 1981, 21 min
“This film is a ‘chronicle’ of a visit I made in 1977 to Romania to experience three of Brancusi’s most famous sculptures: ‘The Endless Column’; ‘The Gate of the Kiss’; ‘The Table of Silence’; (and the lesser known ‘Arcade of Pedestals,’ the modular system of stools which lead from the ‘Gate’ to the ‘Table’)… Their placement suggests a metaphysical continuum; they span the boundaries of the town and while aligned in a (virtual) straight line, all three cannot be seen from any single point of view, so there is a temporal unfolding as one moves through the town to experience the relationship.” -P.S.
Storm De Hirsch, “Ives House: Woodstock,” 1965, 11 min.
“Metaphysical sketches of my stay at the Neil Ives house in Woodstock where the artist lived and painted.” -S.D.H.
Donna Cameron, “Fauve,” 1991, 10 min
A highly textural monochromatic study of light transmission that invokes the vibrant style of an avant-garde painting group that flourished briefly in France at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Fauves.