It is not uncommon for the current generation of experimental and noise musicians to incorporate film into their performances. Oftentimes, the moving images feel arbitrarily chosen, as if selected merely to give the audience something to look at during performances in which the artists remain static. In rare instances, however, the relationship of abstract music to the film images with which it is paired is a symbiotic one, each informing and complementing the other. Such is the case on “Within Mirrors,” a DVD collection of seven short films, originally released between 2005 and 2008, by Paul Clipson featuring music by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. ... More » »
It’s Tacita Dean season in Philadelphia. With her six films of Merce Cunningham performing a John Cage piece, STILLNESS, at the Fabric Workshop and Museum and the debut of her new film JG at Arcadia University Art Gallery, the British-born, Berlin-based artist and champion of 16mm filmmaking makes her case for the old school methods in a pithy and beautiful work. JG could be the poster child for the slow film movement, if there was one. The 26 1/2 minute meditation on landscape, time and death and life in the natural world, unfolds like time itself, speeding up or slowing ... More » »
What do a Dutch actress best known for her performance in a soft-core porn film that was distributed in mainstream venues, a French-educated, Brazilian psychoanalyst interested in trauma, and an American interpreter of avant garde percussion music have in common? Is that even a worthwhile question to ask about the women who are the subjects of Manon de Boer’s Resonating Surfaces – A Trilogy, on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), extended through May 5, with additional live programming this weekend. The Dutch actress, Sylvia Kristel, who gained a world-wide reputation for her role as Emmanuelle in the ... More » »
Note: this article was written as part of Art Attack, the Philadelphia Daily News-Drexel University arts writing partnership, which recently ended before this story was published. Born in China in 1941, artist Lily Yeh experienced first-hand the ravages of that country’s civil war when her family became refugees, fleeing to Taiwan as the communists took over. That personal story and the story of Yeh’s global art activism with communities from North Philadelphia to Rwanda and China is the subject of a new documentary film, The Barefoot Artist, now in post-production and ready for viewing later this year. Co-directed by Yeh’s ... More » »
The death penalty execution of a child by the state is unthinkable, ludicrous, absurd. Michael Vass‘s film “The Old Ways” asks you to consider the unthinkable and watch as a bumbling bureaucrat attempts to execute a child by hanging and then, when that fails, by firing squad (see trailer). The short (13 minute) film by the Toronto-based filmmaker is macabre and comical. With its spare, black and white aesthetic and deadpan, serio-comic acting, the movie bears some resemblance to a Buster Keaton caper movie — or to the great Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (which is also about the unthinkable ... More » »
Dancing Around the Bride at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA)through Jan. 21, 2013 is an extraordinary, multi-dimensional exploration of a significant period in American art history. While the ideas it presents are hardly new, the sensitive installation, designed by the artist, Philippe Parreno, emphasizes the multi-disciplinary nature of the mutual personal and artistic influences among Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. This is an exhibition as Gesamkunstwerk, and it offers the best, possible understanding of the interconnected, artistic experimentation in New York City in the late 1950s-1960s. Parreno’s installation pivots around a low, platform ... More » »
Films about artists tend to focus on the unruly details of their lives, which is no great surprise, since showing them painting is about as interesting as … well, you know the old saw about watching paint dry. The Mill and the Cross is a rare film about an artist that includes neither angst, intrigue, nor sexual dalliance, although the Spanish soldiers who occupied Flanders d uring Bruegel’s day provide some rather explicit violence.
Mairead O’hEocha’s paintings are a stealth project. Her exhibition, via An Lár (An Lár is used on Irish road signs to indicate the town center), at Trinity College’s Douglas Hyde Gallery (through July 13, 2011), consists of purportedly deadpan views of contemporary Ireland. They’ve been accepted as such by critics and by the curator who wrote the introduction to the exhibition, which places O’hEocha in the tradition of Corot, Morandi, and Maureen Gallace (who does, indeed, paint deadpan Irish landscapes). These viewers have been taken in by the paintings’ craftsmanship, the subtlety of their restrained pallet, and the enduring popularity ... More » »
Eteam’s “Prim Limit,” one of the pieces in the “Landscape Techne” exhibition at Little Berlin through November 27th, is a half-hour film that takes place in the “Second Life” virtual world, an online computer game that allows users to design their own avatar world.