Historical note

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landscape by Philip Zuchman

This quirky item of historical interest came to me from my friend Debbie, who is married to my friend Philip Zuchman, both artists:

Some interesting editorial comments by Philip about avant-garde film published in Art in America, April 2006.

Barbara Rubin Remembered
To the Editors
“The Vanished Prodigy,” Daniel Belasco’s article about Barbara Rubin [A.i.A., Dec. ’05], is very interesting but left much of Barbara’s story still untold. In 1962, I lived with Barbara on 84th Street and West End Avenue in an apartment used by Jonas Mekas and the Film Makers Cooperative. I worked with Barbara at the Cooperative for a short time, about two months, and also at the Gramercy Arts Theater. This was at the time the theater was raided by Mayor Wagner and closed down temporarily. Was it due to Flaming Creatures? I think so.

I also remember making a black burlap dress for Barbara by pinning and taping it on her so that she could go to the New York Premiere of 8 1/2. Barbara was photographed at the event with the president of Mexico. I believe this was printed in the New York Times.

The burlap dress was made of cloth from the “Set” of her 1962 short film Black and White Christmas. This was Barbara’s first film. We used an empty apartment on Norfolk Street for the shoot. Barbara borrowed a camera from the Cooperative, and, having never used one before, she was very free and engaged with it. She held that camera upside down as well as jumping around with it. I put together the film set that consisted of two draped areas–a black burlap and a white burlap one. In front of the black burlap danced a girl dressed in white and in front of the white burlap danced a girl in black. Adrian S. and Debbie F. were melded together in a double exposure, each shot separately but on the same film. The result was a positive/negative Shiva-like performance. I think the connection between Black and White Christmas and Christmas on Earth is evident and shows the development of an idea. If I remember correctly, Black and White Christmas was reviewed in the Village Voice by Gregory Markopoulos and rated one of the best shorts of the year.
Philip Zuchman
Philadelphia

Philip is an invited artist at the New Arts Program Salon Exhibition, Friday May 26 – July 15th, 173 West Main St., Kutztown, PA. Opening reception Friday, May 26th 6:30 -9:00 PM.

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