‘PERENNIAL SHADOWS’ – a film by TOMMY MALEKOFF
DEBUT SCREENING: THURS FEB 9, 2017 / 8 PM
the exhibit will run thru SUN FEB 19, 2017 JEFFREY STARK, 88 EAST BROADWAY #B11 / basement level / / LOWER EAST SIDE, NYC
HRS: see gallery website
‘Perennial Shadows’ features original music by JOE WILLIAMS & a reading by PROJECT PAT.
from the press release:
“‘Perennial Shadows’ is a film that surveys kudzu, a plant native to eastern Asia & which is considered an invasive species in the United States.
THE FILM was shot over Fourth of July weekend throughout various small towns in North Carolina and explores different ways in which kudzu can consume the landscape of a town, as it is seen in fields, on roadsides, in parking lots and other affected areas. The plant is ubiquitous, but it is unclear whether it is considered a menace or accepted as part of a regional heritage.
KUDZU was introduced from Japan into the United States in 1876 at the World’s Fair Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. It was presented as an exotic, ornamental plant that could decorate porches in the form of a vine. In 1935, as dust storms began to damage American prairies, Congress declared war on soil erosion and KUDZU was hailed as the miracle plant that would combat it. Farmers were encouraged and even offered money to plant the vine on properties in hopes of making Southern farms “live again.”
BY 1946, it was estimated that three million acres of Kudzu had been planted in the United States. The plant thrived in the climate and environment of the American Southeast and began to grow at an uncontrollable rate of nearly a foot per day. Kudzu supports itself by killing and growing on top of other plant species, making it completely capable of smothering anything form small grasses to mature trees. Killing kudzu itself is nearly impossible – it grows back almost immediately after being cut down and it can take up to 10 years for herbicides to effectively contain it. By the early 1950s, promotion for the growth of Kudzu had come to a halt.
THE PLANT that was once regarded as a miracle was now considered “the vine that ate the south”. Kudzu became a staple in southern literature as a way to establish a setting, but also as a metaphor for topics such as racism, politics and poverty. In ‘Kudzu’, a well-known poem by the novelist JAMES DICKEY, the plant provokes horror amongst a community that shuts their windows at night in fear that snake infested kudzu vines wil creep into their homes. Myth began to take over science as southerners speculated a world completely covered in the invasive vine.
KUDZU continues to spread throughout the southeast at an estimated rate of 120,000 acres per year . It consumes buildings, destroys power lines and kills native vegetation in its path. Although the plant is intrusive and not native to the United States, it is well adapted and widely established in the regions where it thrives. Kudzu has settled as a force of nature that remains essential to the landscape and culture of the American South.”
and, I guess it’s inedible, and not a ‘fuel’ source . . . ???
and I guess if it shows up on your property, you have to devote a dedicated amount of labor – to keeping it at bay ??
damn, it’s the veritable terrorist . . weed.
TOMMY MALEKOFF (b. 1992) is an artist from North Carolina. He currently lives and works in New York City.
TOMMY MALEKOFF, at the recent ANDREW KASS / JIM JOE installation,
a downtown pop-up . . . titled: ‘VACANT POSSESSION.
which ran JAN 28 – FEB 4, 2017.
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH
hmmm, Vacant Possession . . to Perennial Shadows, and back again, NO DOUBT !!!!!!
FLASHBACK: FEB 20, 2016
I first really noticed TOMMY MALEKOFF, at his first pop-up NYC screening, which took place just about a year ago, FEB 20, 2016.
the short film was called, ‘THE OUTDOOR WORLD’, and it blew me – away.
musician, composer, & DJ JOE WILLIAMS . . .
who writes & produces the original music for Tommy Malekoff’s films.
at the pop-up screening of ‘THE OUTDOOR WORLD’, Feb 20, 2016. Lower East Side, NYC.
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH
I caught the new, and totally engrossing . . JOHN COLTRANE DOCUMENTARY – ‘CHASING TRANE’, directed by JOHN SCHEINFELD on the very last night of the superb DOC NYC 2016 FESTIVAL – last Thursday.
totally wonderful experience, the film’s director, JOHN SCHEINFELD attended & we, the enraptured audience . . had the intimate opportunity to hear many sweet stories from behind-the-scenes & to have many of the powerful, inspiring & esp spiritual moments of this talented, beyond-the-beyond ‘spiritual’ man’s life & music journey – brought even closer to us.
the film brings the music and the man to life – what more can you say.
a film that fills the venue with Coltrane’s music, richly accompanied by many many archival clips, even some . . just found . . early color (8MM?) DIY home movies. a long lost old recording studio clip, many various voice-overs, and profound, seriously: inserts/clips of the few surviving jazz era musicians, who knew and played with John Coltrane – were among my personal fave.
to help ‘tell’ the story, DENZEL WASHINGTON reads emotionally – from old John Coltrane interviews (which had been published in magazines throughout the years) . . as if he were the ghost come back. and then, there were some surprises. some very moving, archival, black & white video . . of when John Coltrane, and his ‘deep waters’ / wife ALICE COLTRANE, went to Japan on tour – and stopped in Nagasaki to honor the victims of the horrific atomic bombings.
and even fast forward, an amazing snippet . . of: one-helluva-crazy . . ‘super fan’ in Japan, today.
does this movie ‘catch the Trane’ – no doubt about it.
as much as a man of this stature, can be . . caught.
it tells the story, and it plays . . the music.
notably, the film also features JOHN COLTRANE inspired / illustration / artwork by RUDY GUTIERREZ, who to my total absolute delight was sitting right . . behind me !!
on the left: JOHN SCHEINFELD, veteran documentarian (The U.S vs. John Lennon), Director of ‘Chasing Trane’ – who weaves together a visual & truly spiritual portrayal . . of the music and the man.
at the right: veteran Jazz musician, JIMMY HEATH, aka ‘Little Bird’. his cameos in the film are just so off-the-cuff profound, wise and smooth – as to be some of the most memorable ‘living’ moments in the film.
also not to forget: Jimmy’s super snazzy, but low-key style: that hidden front-buttoned, gray shirt, oh my.
JIMMY HEATH: so vibrant, yet calm. handsome. Soho ‘minimalism’- on point . . !!
this man has had some life, and the strength of inner soul – to prove it.
THOM POWERS, the Artistic Director of DOC NYC.
see: DOC NYC
RUDY GUTIERREZ . . . artist.
I had noticed Mr. Gutierrez, earlier that evening, when I was standing in line to enter the SVA theatre. he seemed really super-charged and very dynamic. animated. my inner radar went: ping. so when John Scheinfeld, said the artist who had contributed the drawings at the beginning of the film, was in the audience, & gave him a shout out, & asked him to stand up, to much applause – I turned around and there he was, same guy. right behind me. indeed, I got a little spooked.
backtrack slightly: Mr.Scheinfeld, besides using words & interviews, historic photographic footage – and most of all . . plenty of the music itself !!
to get across John Coltrane’s infinite musical ‘universe’ – esp as the music evolved, also tries using visual ‘art’ to engage the viewer more fully with the music. the film opens with the infinite cosmos, the stars and skies. and then at some point Mr. Gutierrez’s raw and powerful drawings, with their African American roots & free-form, sensuous vitality – are called into play.
spiritual, rambling, rolling, evocative – they have the feel & visual depth of black folk-telling, ‘outsider’ art, & ancient/contemporary woodblock design, the influence of the great Black Panther artist – Emory Douglas ? in a word: cultural illustration at its best. they hold in their fluid lines, and honey gold colors the inherent celebration of our country’s black roots / soul, blues and jazz. slavery, gospel, spiritual heartful-ness. America – the whole damn mess & the once invisible, black African cultural attainment – coming forth, poring forth painfully, and yet ultimately: joyfully . . just as John Coltrane’s music surely did. and does.
the colors of these paintings are not just the color of so-called ‘folk art’ but they are radiant, like colored glass. truly: the light they cast is radiant, like that of a stained glass window, in a church.
stained glass windows . . in the Cathedral of Jazz.
I don’t want to get too into it, but Coltrane’s music is not just for / or a case for: the ‘initiated’. plenty of the participants, like the wonderful showman / philosopher CORNEL WEST . . knew Coltrane’s life well, and ‘got’ the intent of the music . . but, as he himself readily admitted, Mr. West could not fully ‘fly’ with the sound / that is, some of the initiated, people who loved & admired Coltrane, just could not fully let go & do the free-fall, follow the musical stream of conscious / while others – who might not know his whole life story at all – barely had words for the rapture they felt on just, just: hearing the music.
the art of Rudy Gutierrez danced to the music – and, hopefully opened a sensory pathway.
tomorrow, THURS JULY 13, 2016 . .
is the last day you can catch ‘MEN GO TO BATTLE’ at the Anthology Film Archives, here in NYC. the film then travels to Los Angeles, and eventually it will land on Netflix, where I’m sure it will become a huge sleeper hit.
People will be watching it, every Thanksgiving.
‘MEN GO TO BATTLE’ – A FILM BY ZACHARY TREITZ (2016)
REVIEWED BY NANCY SMITH – JULY 13, 2016.
with a shout-out to the entire crew. gorgeous production, haunting sound, beautiful acting, deep not wordy screenplay, and really . . the cinematography – thank you BRETT JUTKIEWICZ !!
. . . for an indie film, wow.
last week was so heavy, with sad events in the life-blood of this country, apparently ‘civil war’ and the ‘slavery/black/white’ issue have still not been resolved, even though the Civil War took place over a century and a half ago, and brought 1/3 of all the country’s men to their death . . . that I felt I caught a really lucky break, first to be able to act upon the great reviews this sweet young film received in the mainstream press and then, even luckier . . to have the director ZACHARY TREITZ show up, unannounced . . and bring along as well – the 2 lead actors: TIM MORTON and DAVID MALONEY.
my heart stopped beating during the film, and my imagination froze to watch the Q & A in person, up close and personal, afterwards.
‘Men Go To War’ . . Conjuring Up The Ghosts of the Civil War, Wall Street Journal. July 6, 2016.
this film is a unique take on the Civil War. yes, it is a war ‘capture’ . . . but even more so, it is a peephole look into the heart of the maelstrom as seen through the eyes of 2 struggling Kentucky farmer brothers. when you are later informed that the director, Zachary Treitz, and the 2 lead actors, David Maloney and Tom Morton, all grew up in Kentucky, you understand why this small indie feature speaks – with such a deep, and authentic voice.
the film, in fact is the inverse of all the action-driven civil war projects you may have seen . . which doesn’t diminish the horror and sadness, but perhaps brings it closer to home. from the very first frames, the brilliant intense sun on the fields, and one man walking, your heart begins to skip beats, as you realize you are entering new cinematic territory. this film is just so intense and so hazy, just like that sun. I want to say it’s ‘new age’, a ‘millennial’ take: ‘hipsters’, ‘artists’, ‘friends’, locals’ . . going back for another deeper look – but, only to alert you to the power and newness of the filmmaking, itself. the story is timeless. but everything in this film is . . close up. singular. silent. and yet still – rewarding. fulfilling, unfolding, and ultimately, moving.
‘MEN GO TO BATTLE’ vs ‘THE REVENANT’ . . . AN INVERSION.
equally powerful, one film is a young, low budget unknown director production, the other as you know: huge $$$. the American landscape, the sun, the trees, the earth itself of this young sweet passionate land . . loom just as large, if not larger . . than the greed, violence, hope, dreams, family love/bonds . . that are used to tell the tale of times – not so long ago.
while ‘THE REVENANT’ indulges in great action & fight scenes, a big budget helps – ‘MEN GO TO WAR’ narrows in on the singular exposure that implodes one brother & sets the other on a very different path, a low budget helps in that, narrow defining . . . too, truth be told. but both films focus on family ‘bonds’, in one case of a father and his half-breed son, and in the other two hard-scrabble farmer brothers . . and use them to show . . what went asunder. what got lost, what kind of terrible growing pains, and biases – and struggle to survive and beat out the other – this country shuddered under, on a very personal scale. in the face of the broader history.
and yet, still . . where are we ?
ZACHARY TREITZ, the young filmmaker behind ‘MEN GO TO BATTLE’.
what can you say, what could be more heart-stopping than to hear an intense, and not least of all innovative filmmaker, who has absolutely captured a dramatic moment in the nation’s collective history . . . and who has just won the TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL – BEST NEW NARRATIVE DIRECTOR AWARD, with his film . . . say hi, and start quietly introducing his film. a young man, who looks out at you, the way he will never be able to from the Netflix platform, and wonders . . . if you will get it ?
will his story unfold, will his film . . travel ?
I couldn’t help thinking of the first time I encountered & was able to catch a photo of the incredibly talented ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU, in the Fall of 2003, at a Julian Schnabel opening, when he was also a young filmmaker wondering if his films would travel. he still wasn’t big in the press, even though ’21 Grams’ had just opened, and he had won a Best Film Drama, Golden Globes award the night before – for ‘Babel’.
that was, what .. 13 years ago ? and of course he swept the Oscars with ‘The Revenant’. such a powerful piece of filmmaking. and here stood this young director, just the same way. so passionate, so driven, so wondering.
like I said, the great . . inversion.
see: ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU/artlovers archive
TIM MORTON (Henry Mellon), DAVID MALONEY (Francis Mellon) and their Director, ZACHARY TREITZ.
I read that ZACHARY TREITZ is now a New York City based writer and director, and I believe he said that the two lead actors were also now NYC based, but that originally they all hailed from Kentucky. so put that in your pipe, and smoke it. that’s so deep, what can you say in a sentence. it’s liking taking one of those old Appalachian Civil War era, patchwork farm quilts, that jump up for a few frames in the movie . . . stitching it up, making it whole again – and sleeping in it, which I do.
the story, and the story-telling . . is in their blood. Mr. Treitz even related . . that his ancestors were on the same trajectory of the successful Small family / Small’s Corner . . . that was depicted in the film, who also had everything taken away by the land burning / men maiming Civil War, and had to go back to the log cabin that their ancestors had first homesteaded in.
DAVID MALONEY plays Francis Mellon, the older brother.
he looks in person just like he looks in the film, a ‘local’. a wise-cracker, fire-cracker, hard working striver. he reminded of nothing so much as (former New York City) gallerist BILL BRADY. in looks, and in his Kansas City drawl, and easy ways, and the climb. the big climb . . up.
‘MEN GO TO BATTLE’ vs ‘The NIGHT OF’ . . or: THE GAME OF KNIVES !!!!!
oh lord, yes. I was actually going to call this essay, THE TRIFECTA Of KNIFE GAMES, lol but I couldn’t remember if the defining deadly blows in ‘THE REVENANT’ were by blade or bullet. though I know a lot of steel was flashed. but . . if you caught the first installment of HBO’s fabulous ‘The Night Of’ . . . the knife game that Civil War era Francis plays on Henry, (and which sets the whole narrative re the Smalls and the future Francis Mellon marriage – in motion) . . . is focused on a very unlucky, but very probable, and not accidental !! knife wound to his bro Henry’s hand / and ego . . . is very eerily reminiscent of the future world of America, NYC after 9-11, a sinister urban disaster just waiting to happen to the wonderful young actor, RIZ AHMED . . as Queens ‘resident’ and would-be hipster partier/cabbie . . Nasir “Naz” Khan, who he gets his hand sliced in a knife game – gone wrong too.
TIM MORTON as Henry Mellon, image via WALL STREET JOURNAL.
this was the character I struggled to understand. maybe that’s a metaphor for THE WHOLE DAMN TIME.
it’s not the dominant bro, Francis whose path the film follows, it’s Henry’s. even though it seemed at the beginning, he might be the smarter of the two, or at least about money and mules !! or two are always better than one. his bro, the taller and perhaps older Francis gets increasingly aggressive with frustration, and out of hand, and stabs him in the hand . . in a knife game. which sets him in motion to being rejected by the rich town daughter and so, humiliated, both by wound, sibling rivalry, and girl .. and, plus the farm ain’t going nowhere anyways, he sets off for the Civil War. he just gets increasingly dumb-ed down and zoned out by the horror and loneliness, but then . . he gets smart again (lucky?) (well he wakes up intact under a mighty pile of dead young soldiers) and, when he comes back, sees his bro married (to the girl who rejected him) steals some dough $$$, from a squeaky wooden dresser in the ole cabin . . and rightfully so !! and sets off again, hopefully . . for happier adventures.
but, you just don’t know, because he seems kind of . . well, wounded.
you know: the walking dead.
as American as apple pie.
‘TROUBLEMAKERS: The Story of Land Art’ (2015) – A FILM BY JAMES CRUMP
REVIEWED BY NANCY SMITH – APRIL 5, 2016
ATTN: ALL ARTISTS, DESIGNERS, ART HISTORY BUFFS, ART STUDENTS, COLLECTORS, FILMMAKERS & FANS, you need to do everything within your power to see this film. it’s available commercially via popular digital venues, and will also be shown on AMERICAN MASTERS, on PBS in early 2017.
It played recently in NYC for like 3 weeks, and it did not get the buzz it needed to get the crowds out – and, I missed it, but luckily I was able to catch it after all, last week at a small screening at THE APARTMENT by The Line, in Soho, NYC
amazing. ground-breaking, literally.
game changer. rule breaker & setter of the record straight, this full-length documentary is vivid, and more alive than you might think, Land Art having been over for awhile now.
or, so you thought.
JAMES CRUMP, with Stephanie Murg, Editor, THE APARTMENT by The Line, NYC.
JAMES CRUMP, filmmaker, curator, and art historian (!!) wrote, produced and directed this gem of a documentary. Not only is the full length film engaging and factual, but it really revisits the era, both the exhibits, and the popular artist ‘watering holes’ in New York and Europe, at the time, but mostly focuses on the American Southwest, where these projects took shape . . and more importantly, instead of just repeating the mainstream ‘script’ it actually digs deeper, and totally sets the record straight.
based on the visual strength of the film, and with it’s new ‘eyeballs’ . . . unearthing layers of new, and/or over-looked characters and information. I’m betting on a big wave of renewed interest in the subject, for sure.
with this film, history is being re-written, and all . . for the better.
somehow, against all odds . . the real talent, always outs.
it was also, thank you to THE APARTMENT, a very special opportunity to get even more behind-the-scenes info from JAMES CRUMP personally, who was there at the small screening and did an enchanting Q&A.
about . . the making of film, its subjects, its priorities, and quite a few other random, but golden tidbits did scatter.
name one: re VIRGINIA DWAN, the chic & prescient gallerist/art dealer, who offers a living first person narration to the film, and who supported these guys back in the day . .
“she was a ‘3M’ heiress, and had all the money in the world to do it”.
3M, translate as . . scotch tape, bye the way.
MICHAEL HEIZER . .
so turns out a relatively unknown MICHAEL HEIZER is the true star of this film, and of Land Art. it took over 30 years for this truth to be brought to light, and this is solely because of James Crump & this film. and that, in a brief few words, is the summation of the utter game-changing, and deepest importance of this film.
besides making a no-brainer platform for Michael Heizer, which included taking new and extensive photographic documentation, which speaks for itself / Heizer himself is the archetypal American rebel/cowboy – a man of few words, the film also delves into why HEIZER missed out on the mainstream spotlight: he was considered ‘tempermental’, and more importantly he didn’t like or encourage the use of ‘photography’, to get his work ‘out there’. he also, unlike all the other so-called Land Artists, was the only one who actually lived out there, in the desert. he did not network in the bars, duh. yeah, turns out all the others were NYC-based, and only went out to their remote desert sites to ‘make’ their art, & then of course, return promptly with the photographs to prove, and promote it.
though this was ‘supposed’ to be in theory, (I guess) . . ‘art outside the gallery’.
but, from all the first person accounts of the time offered up in the film, it’s pretty clear that to those on the inside track, MICHAEL HEIZER was the ‘man’.
but hey, nobody was going to give up their Artforum cover . . to him.
what else is new ?
HEIZER was not only a hardcore, truly underground loner, but he was also a kick-ass, redneck bad-ass rebel, an all American cowboy. as American as they come. they say in the film, that he greeted the few visitors who made it out to visit him, with a pointed rifle.
But, VIRGINIA DWAN totally got him, and so does JAMES CRUMP.
if Land Art – is truly to be recognized as verifiable. indelible ‘landmark’ art history, it will be because James Crump made this film. Heizer’s projects, and life take on a trajectory very different from the rest of the more ‘established’ Land Art crew, whose primary focus seems to have been ‘academic/conceptual’, and whose main intent seemed to have been . . getting into the ‘books’, climbing the gallery ladders, and selling pre-packaged dirt, err I mean . . work.
which is probably why so many following generations of artists, who didn’t know about Heizer, found ‘Land Art’, played out. strong>dated, and in truth, lame. I know I did. it was supposed to be . . outside the system ? nobody took it seriously, except the usual . . mainstream jerks. it was packaged, patterned dirt, and sold through the same old same old. give me a break.
also, before you get too carried away by the thought of an ‘unschooled’ cowboy carving out the desert – in the name of art, NOT. the film circles back at some point, to tell us Heizer’s dad was a professional archaeologist who took his young son with him on his many digs, at important ancient / monument sites, I think Egypt. South America ? I was so transfixed by this time, cinematic information was just flying all around me, that I was living ‘inside’ the sensory spell of the film, so to speak, as opposed to minutely recording it. but the deep roots of Heizer’s drive to create land ‘monuments’ just doubled up . . with the film’s archival snippets of his early travels . . with his dad.
MICHAEL HEIZER, ‘Double Negative’, somewhere in the Southwest desert, USA. 1978.
MICHAEL HEIZER, hauling desert dirt.
some folks in the audience were asking James Crump – where is land art now ? is there land art now ?
I think one of the reasons for the current ‘lack of’ . . might be that today you just can’t take a dump truck out into the desert, and do that.
I mean you have Burning Man, now. you have Joshua Tree. and you have VIHLS, lol.
you have the young SEAN VEGEZZI. both of whose art projects might better be classified as ‘urban’ desert – Land Art.
also our 21st century ethos . . would be to ‘conserve’, not carve up.
to photograph, film, manipulate digitally perhaps, but certainly not to carve into, our top goal . . is to not leave ‘footprints’. let alone dump truck – tracks.
which makes Heizer’s world, and his ‘monuments . . even more special, and visionary – in my eyes.
MICHAEL HEIZER and friends . . kicking up that desert dust.
of course kicking up dust is an American rebel cowboy’s dream – and, guess what – they still do it.
just check out the work of JIM MANGAN, and his book: ‘BLAST’. in fact if ‘rural’ land art lives on, as opposed to ‘urban’ wasteland/infrastucture art – it would be in the hands of contemporary artists like . . PETER SUTHERLAND and JIM MANGAN, both with roots in the deserts of Utah and Colorado.
VIRGINIA DWAN, the 3M heiress who made it all happen, esp on such a large scale.
if she isn’t a household word, she sure gonna be an art world mega-legend, now. after this film.
glamorous, 70s chic, and as copper-penny brilliant – as the artists she bankrolled, exhibited and collected. she’s still alive, and offers up priceless personal knowledge, opinions, and insight – as the film rolls on.
and roll on it does. ‘TROUBLEMAKERS’ is one those rare films, that circle back and forth, eddying around different bits of subtext. it is not strictly chronological, but delivers up info like a small pool of weaving water. leaving you afterwards to wonder at the seamless creative editing, & fluid story-telling.
LAWRENCE WEINER in ‘TROUBLEMAKERS’.
LAWRENCE WEINER . . also provides a lot of the ‘been there-done that’ oral history for the film.
wow, I never knew that . . that he had his roots in Land Art. of course his reputation, already renown, is going to shoot up, double-up now, too.
WILLOUGHBY SHARP . . in the early 70s.
and, oh my . . who knew WILLOUGHBY SHARP, had once been so cute, so young, and at the very forefront of the Land Art movement – with his, what we would call today, a zine . . the independently published & forward pushing . . ‘AVALANCHE”. who knew, Willoughby Sharp was Land Art’s truest poet , and first voice.
you have to give profound credit to JAMES CRUMP, not only for putting MICHAEL HEIZER on the Land Art mainstream map, but ditto in his own ‘reverse – prescient’ . . tracking for Willoughby Sharp.
if only I had known this back in the 80s and 90s, when I would see him around the East Village all the time, and just thought he was a crusty worn-out, worn-down dude. in fact – he was a hero, who got beat by the game, hey Artforum is NOT going to give credit to the true movers and groovers, let alone say: hey, Willoughby saw it first !! wrote about it first.
tell me about it !! damn !! my life flashes before me, and it’s not such a pretty picture, the word bitterness – comes to mind. so does under-recognized, and broke.
plus, I would have been all over him, “can I take your picture ? can I visit your studio ? apartment, whatever” !!
how Willoughy’s hard-core, all too true story un-spools, and rings so true, if not for you, James Crump: it breaks my heart.
well, so you can’t move that desert earth by the truckloads anymore, but Willoughy, if you were still here, you could be whipping out your cellphone and showing that thinks-he-knows-it-all, twenty-something Brooklyn millennial . . a thing or too.
not to mention handing out a re-vamped ‘Avalanche’, which has just been re-leased, big time.
JAMES CRUMP, has not just written, directed and produced a wonderful documentary . . he has re-written . . history and re-told the ‘real’ grit, true grit story behind Land Art, and long may it live, now.
talent, always outs in the art world. eventually.
carve that into a desert rock, somebody.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH
grabbed with my iPhone from the screening, except of course, for the photo of . . . JAMES CRUMP and STEPHANIE MURG, at the Q&A.
the screening was at: THE APARTMENT by The Line, Soho, NYC. MARCH 28, 2016.
‘THE REVENANT’, 2015
DIRECTOR: ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU, who also was a producer, and co-wrote the screenplay with MARK L. SMITH
Based in part on a novel by MICHAEL PUNKE
A FILM REVIEW – by NANCY SMITH, FEB 28, 2016
talk about GREGORY CREWDSON and his ‘THE CATHEDRAL of the PINES’, this was the shocking . . DEATH & MANHUNT . . . under the tall, tall PINES.
the winter scenes add such a cold, cold visual, and cinematic heartbreak beauty – throughout.
I hope it sweeps the OSCARS tonight.
ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU . .
at the JULIAN SCHNABEL . . ‘New Indian Paintings & Selected Sculptures’ opening, at PaceWildenstien in Chelsea, NYC.
OCT 16, 2003.
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH – first published in artnet, editor Walter Robinson.
I had the great luck to catch Director ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU in 2003, at a Julian Schnabel opening, way back in the Fall of 2003.
that’s 13 long, long years ago.
his film ’21 Grams’ had just opened in theaters, and ‘BABEL’ had just won the Best Film, Drama award at the Golden Globes, the very night before.
‘THE OUTDOOR WORLD’, 2016
A SHORT FILM BY – TOMMY MALEKOFF
FEATURING ORIGINAL MUSIC BY – JOE WILLIAMS
& running 10:17 minutes
FILM REVIEW – by NANCY SMITH, FEB 24, 2016
A singularly striking, but casually unwinding, almost freestyle cinematic ode – to MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE and also, to Black life . . .
as seen through the lens of a young New Yorker.
the word: vernacular – does come to mind.
TOMMY MALEKOFF leans into his subject, like a ski jumper leans into his skies.
‘The Outdoor World’ . . is a remarkable short film on MEMPHIS, of all places.
independently made by a young New Yorker, TOMMY MALEKOFF with a hand-held camera, and not much else. okay, and – with a lot of . . verve.
it also features . . an incredible, original sound track by JOE WILLIAMS aka DJ MOTION GRAPHICS. This singularly striking ‘travelogue’ with absolutely no words, but which is metaphor-rich, for your own taking !! is just transfixing – from frame one. it’s just the way TOMMY MALEKOFF, apparently a natural behind the camera, sees the world from his own very personal & straight-forward inquisitive . . vantage point. we are one with him, in his journey behind the lens, a young artist / explorer / producer just about to burst on the scene . . with no, or not much (!!) previous history or art world baggage to hold him back.
part of the magic spell of the film, besides just how strange vernacular Memphis can be . . . esp to a New Yorker, is the rhythm, the momentum, the framing & editing . . of the visuals – which pair up so nicely with the rhythm of the sound track, so completely, so sweetly. words ? who needs words. I might be wrong, but the closest I can come to describe the way the film moves, in words . . is, it’s the visual equivalent of house / wave / beach music.
it moves real casual, but it’s very transfixing. and then there’s the music.
in its own way, the film is also about . . BLACK LIFE.
as with most cutting edge art today – it’s also about indie low-key production, but big on both content, hand-lettered info graphics & real world digital photography . . in other words: small scale / big visions. DIY spirit, individual skills, and . . making your singular voice count, within the mass web of social media that surrounds us, bombards us 24/7 & then, focusing in on our own particular location-specific . . urban experience.
as for ‘graphics’ / sometimes called graphic design:
these 2 images are from Tommy’s website.
if ‘quiet beauty’ were a catalog, a style – this would be that, and that . . would be ok.
being right on the vibe – is hard to do.
don’t take it for granted, just how striking this singular home page . . is.
TOMMY MALEKOFF, and ANDREW KASS . . at ‘The Outdoor World’ – 170 Suffolk St, Lower East Side, NYC screening.
TOMMY MALEKOFF & ANDREW KASS are key players i.e. big energy & innovative creative contributors . . among the informal swirl of the very downtown, very politically aware, ‘seed-like’ & ‘gonna be’ very influential . . openly subversive, indie rebel, creative, cutting-edge & mostly underground . . urban-based, and informally structured . . artist crew centered around curator / artist . . SEAN VEGEZZI, is the best I can put it.
you know, the guys of . . 15 WARREN ST, 170 SUFFOLK, and 34 JOEY.
again, very urban-based in outlook, as in rooted in the actual infra-structure of the city, or with regard to global politics. a general over-all dynamic, as opposed to say . . specifically sticker art, or street art per se, though the group shows I have seen obviously include a lot of street art just by the nature of how things roll indie in NYC. the key is, these guys grew up in the downtown area, and within the underground fringes of the downtown art scene, and they don’t wait for things to happen, they just throw up the shows – on their own, or hit up other indie pop-up venues, or subway stations, lol. and abandoned buildings, and let’s leave it at that.
TOMMY MALEKOFF . . seems to have been blessed, not only with a natural eye . . for the camera & in turn – indie filmmaking – but, also with the insight that it takes to inform the footage, and thus blow up a small film of 10 mins – into quite the entrancement.
quite the statement.
and, with no .. words.
JOE WILLIAMS aka DJ MOTION GRAPHICS, and of whose moniker . . we have no doubt.
motion graphics – is what this film is all about . . style-wise.
and JOE supplied the original film sound track – and it is pro, and it is brilliant.
I asked Tommy to tell me a little bit more about how the film’s music score came to be, & this is what he emailed me:
“For the score – I came to Joe with 3 songs:
‘Walking in Memphis’ by Marc Cohn, ‘Where is da Bud’ by 3 6 Mafia, and ‘I can’t help falling in love with you’, by Elvis.
Joe took the melodies from these songs and applied strings to them instead of lyrics to make a more orchestral, atmospheric sound that referenced popular songs from/about Memphis. He also used samples of noises from mosquitoes and ducks for parts of the song(s). Each segment of the video has a special song made up of these references.”
backtrack: 170 SUFFOLK appears to be a large, vacant one story floor-thru space, much like a garage. SEAN VEGEZZI and pals put up an incredible pop-up, group show there back in June, 2014.
and interestingly enough, TOMMY MALEKOFF was one the featured artists. no, he didn;t show a film, it was kind of the exact opposite of a film, he put subtle ‘trash / tracks’ throughout the space. I know – it sounds crazy, but it really gave the place some . . ‘spatial’ grit. trash from North Carolina. bye the way. Tommy seems to be into . . geography. cities.
it made the space ‘bounce’, transcend. added city infrastructure ‘narrative’ – does that say it better.
one day I have to post the pix.
as if . . anything by this crew needs grit.
grit & hardcore thought – am I.
I’m up for as much grit as you can throw at me. anything, but the wall-to-wall mediocrity this town’s art scene has become, for the most part.
of course inside it is dark. it is quite huge, and wide open and beautiful. raw, but not dysfunctional, with a great bank of high windows at the back near the ceiling, bringing the city lights inside. there was just enough light to pick out ‘poster’ mages from the film.
football. hmm. the outdoor world, you just never know.
DJ DONDERO, in front of one of the ‘film’ posters – featuring the MEMPHIS PYRAMID, what a strange tourist attraction.
and that’s just how the movie starts . .
the film’s outlook is curious, more than anything, I would say.
the ‘souvenir’ site, the ‘tourists’, mainstream America, America . . the Great Mall, speaks for itself. come up with your own metaphors, they are yours – free for the taking.
form the elevator ride down, to the crocs in the water. to the history of the place itself.
there was an info sheet hand-out, (it hosted the mega-fight between LENNON LEWIS vs MIKE TYSON in in 20020) – when you entered.
the projection screen was just off to the right, the back wall.
you can see the lights & buildings of the city’s night . . just outside, through the bank of large windows at the ceiling, just above the screen. very nice, lucky random draw-of-the-straw – real estate touch.
and then the film opens.
the film begins, with an aerial shot, and we descend via elevator into the Memphis Pyramid.
at first I thought, ok . . it’s going to be an ‘extreme urban infrastructure’ take down. a walk on the wild side, illegal high storied intrusion. but it was in fact, quite the opposite.
it was like finding a home movie souvenir, by a really smart kid. and then the music kicks in & you are off and running. entranced & wondering. wtf. this was no kid. this was a master at the vernacular. vernacular photography – look it up. not quite the same as ‘found’ photography . . because Mr. Malekoff is indeed the eye behind the camera of his very own footage. . with a pictorial style . . all his own, somewhere within the genre of ‘reality’ ‘souvenir’ and ‘documentary. it’s not fiction. it’s not made-up, but it is chosen & composed. and the vibe is very very cool, very chill. the direction, the easy scope, the unobtrusiveness, yet the telling . . of the average day to day, is not average at all. trust me, I’ve seen too many film projects in my lifetime – to know. the diff.
talent is rare, but when it spools – trust me, talent . . outs.
the Outdoor World. Memphis – style !!
the big catfish . . ?
scale, size. animals. bio. haven’t I been hearing those very words, lately ?
the ‘tiny’ minnows.
we are minnows swimming in a sea of technology, social media & information overload.
we are on the other side of that glass. whose in the outdoor world, them or us ?
and hey, that’s just what I’ve been thinking . . who is really bio these days. we are . .
we are wired. we are . . wireless. we are computer merged. we are . . mutated.
and we are under assault by the nano life of the food chain. invisible particles. viruses. the icebergs are melting, but the viruses are growing.
everything is upside down.
the chicks, the cars. The Outdoor World – Memphis style.
the world was once so – easy. maybe that’s why souvenirs are so – pleasant.
LIL RON – the indoor / outdoor world ?!! (reference footage)
fab. bio. skills.
the dancing is called . . gangsta walking. it seems to be a form of ‘bio’ competition.
no wires, but wired !! but smooth wired. and nothing . . digital. well maybe the music recorded. it’s also referred to as ‘jooking’ . . it’s a dance native to Memphis.
Memphis must be such a special place. what’s in the water ?
besides crocs and catfish ? or maybe that’s it.
even, just the songs. the Memphis blues.
B. FRANK (reference footage)
LIL BUCK (reference footage)
back inside ‘The Outdoor World’ – at 170 SUFFOLK.
the hardcore party . . life.
sure to be a player. . .
in the outdoor world of NYC . . night life.
ASPEN and MOSIE.
‘The Outdoor World’ . . comes inside, and takes over . . your world.
if just for 10 mins.
you are knocked out of the water, taken deep down into the faux pyramid, and turned onto ‘jook’.
just a homemade ‘vignette’. not.
just another spectacular NYC night !! this crew never fails to knock it out of the park.
and they’re so chill – at it. the way they throw you – for a loop.
style. graphics. timing. curiosity. music. culture story-telling. slice of life documentary. the celebration of the great American vernacular. Memphis as seen by NYC.
the great American city adventure. cities are . .. us.
downtown indie filmmaker TOMMY MALEKOFF, and musician JOE WILLIAMS . . aced it.
always remember: ‘REVOLUTIONARY’ does NOT mean . . . terrorist.
witness our world after 9/11: terrorist equals . . FASCIST, BRUTALLY REPRESSIVE, HYPER-VIOLENT & the very anti-thesis of . . freedom, liberty, speech, art & LIFE !!
my other take away – was the discovery of this artist: EMORY DOUGLAS.
I had seen his work, but wasn’t aware of the total story – Minister of Culture for the BPP, the Black Panther Party from 1967 thru 80s – his art defined a generation & then took off and became global symbols for freedom.
there is a wonderful, vivid, and profoundly informative video clip on Mr. Douglas, his historical take on the Black Panthers – and the times they rose up from, his own involvement, as well personal first person background about his art-making.
this video was produced & directed by . . DRESS CODE out of NYC. dresscodeny.com
image: EMORY DOUGLAS – DRESS CODE VIMEO
EMORY DOUGLAS . . is still very much around, and his work is being exhibited globally.
I’d like to see another exhibit – in NYC.
super talented, super articulate, and for all appearances well-grounded & easy going . . but very, very focused, his oral history of the BBP movement, and his own work – this video clip is a gift. to us all, and it’s al the more remarkable by its non-strident tone & the first person narration.
oral history: priceless.
image: EMORY DOUGLAS – DRESS CODE VIMEO
his first formal foray into ‘art’ – was in a school print shop & the format of woodblock prints – made a lasting impression.
image: EMORY DOUGLAS – DRESS CODE VIMEO
his early depiction of cops . . as PIGS standing on 2 feet – went on to transcend the Black Panther Party & became a universal symbol for the abuse of power.
image: EMORY DOUGLAS – DRESS CODE VIMEO
his use of markers to ‘mimic’ the heavy black outlines of woodblock printing – reminded me of the very popular use of makers, ink pens, and Sharpies – today. esp among ‘sticker’ & cartoon artists. and illustrators and legions of graphic artists in general . . across the board. this is where art is today, in every sense Mr. Emory is a very much . . living artist.
image: EMORY DOUGLAS – DRESS CODE VIMEO
his words – are just as stirring as his art.
he says: art is a LANGUAGE – and that’s why it’s so POWERFUL.
image: EMORY DOUGLAS – DRESS CODE VIMEO
sticker art – or what ?!!!!!!!!!
art – as COMMUNICATION.
‘THE BLACK PANTHERS: Vanguard of the Revolution’, 2015
DIRECTED, PRODUCED & WRITTEN BY: STANLEY NELSON
A PBS DOCUMENTARY
FILM REVIEW – BY NANCY SMITH, FEB 18, 2016
An amazing archival & living history document, I was lucky enough to catch a PBS screening on my TV yesterday.
All these people I had heard tell about, but never really knew the facts about – came to life with wall-to-wall archival photos. The historical record, fleshed story & behind-the-scenes narratives are provided by a wide array of players – from all sides of the story: from FBI informants to the very compelling first person accounts provided by luminaries such as: KATHLEEN CLEAVER, ERIKA HUGGINS & JAMAL JOSEPH. All three, still very much alive, strong & vital . . . and, who had been there. in person, played a role, & lived through it. how can you beat that ?
so often with these historical PBS documentaries, fascinating as they are, we have only the archival footage, the old sienna, or black & white photos, the strips of journals and scraps of letters. dry, crusty, newspaper clippings – imbedded, colored, intentionally or not, and still interesting, don’t get me wrong – with the ‘bias’ of their times, which is invaluably telling – in its own way.
here, we have the real voices of a remarkable generation – an incredible oral history rolls out, closely following the chronological timeline of the events, and enriching our ‘take’ beyond all hope & imagination. It’s really a remarkable accomplishment. the film has a beautiful cinematic rhythm, too. not too shrill nor militant in tone – but it ‘packs’. the archival footage of then FBI Director J. EDGAR HOOVER – proves our by now, only ‘inherited’ subliminal thoughts on the guy – to be right on. ugly, ugly as sin. secret files, unfair trials, brutality, killings, by outright assassination, or by paper trails, as in no true affordable legal representation, etc. etc. at one point it even drops that even the ‘personal’ security guard with . . was it Fred Hampton or Huey Newton, or both – was a federal agent/informant.
on the other side, although the empowerment was real, and the uniform went a long way towards making the exploitive white folks wake up, and feel threatened, the proud afros, the cinematic black leather jackets, and the ubiquitous guns, was not so much truly terrorist in nature – as it was posing. strutting. these guys weren’t thugs, they were pop cultural visionaries, & as I write that – hope I’m not offending anybody – from the perspective of 2016 – they didn’t bomb schools, derail trains, blow-up suicide, mass machine gun, or poison. they walked their walk, they talked their talk, they strutted their stance. it was a form of power, but it was not terrorist, as we know it. it was militant, it was organized, it had a target, but it was also kind of by and for ‘writers’ – if you know what I mean. Bob Dylan was subversive, too. it was just finally time for a change, and these guys seized it. as far as I could see, they got pretty beat up, too. in the process. it was urban resistance, the militant style was their most potent weapon.
for artists, I think we all love anything ‘archival’ and esp of the photographic record . . one of the inherent visual strengths of the film – is just watching the self-empowerment & pride that glows out from these young strong faces. usually all we get to see in PBS records of the history of the USA . . are the beat-downs, the sadly mis-used & doomed genius musicians, and the true root/giants of our culture . . or the severely kicked-in-the-backside, if not lynched, downtrodden ordinary folk from the Jim Crow era. ok, occasionally we get brilliant film portraits of the modern gifted black women writers, like Zora Neal Huston and Alice Walker. this doc was so much different. you had to wonder, over and over – at the power of the Party, which came, truly – from within.
the other surprising aspect of the film, that will captivate artists is the actual artwork that runs through the film, and even informs the film’s final credits – artwork by EMORY DOUGLAS – the “Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture and chief art director for their newspaper for 12 years.” Today we would call that – an indie zine !! a cross between folk lore, folk art, and mid-century revolutionary art. And lucky for us, as this documentary is made to celebrate the 50th (!!) of the movement – a very youthful and sweet Mr. Emory Douglas is still around and kicking, teaching, and making art . . to tell us his story – in the first person. priceless. I always saw the soulful woodblock print-type art. . on the covers of the books by the black woman writers I so revere, I never knew from where it had sprung, now I do. boy, is his time for global recognition overdue, or what !!
though of course, following the lives and different sets of circumstances of the various leaders, and even the heroic small ‘folks’ who get caught up in the party’s momentum – they all glowed with charisma and down home fire, coming from NYC 2016 – you can’t not appreciate their street style. and smarts. drives. dreams, goals. just such a beautiful, beautiful generation. again, I’m not saying this, to be smart-ass, nor to trivialize their fight, plight, brutalization, tragedy & the crass covert way the American system ‘played’ them, and the so-called ‘democratic’ gov’t failed them. except in New York, bye the way, witness the ultimate freedom of the New York 21.
just put it this way: the white cops, and the white feds look like mad-crazed un-educated nasty, rural dogs. fat, sweaty, mean, ill-clothed, and just so full of fear. such an attractive look, no wonder time is on the Black panther side, you are what you – eat.
there is one other one small slice of cinematic telling included here, that maybe won’t mean much to many, and . . if you blink you’ll miss it, so I’m mentioning it. and that’s the brief alliance of the Black Panther Party . . with THE YOUNG PATRIOTS aka the HILLBILLY NATIONALISTS – the young revolutionary voices that sprung up out of the deep, raw poverty & the outright government abuse of the stubborn & early-rooted Appalachia. if you are into quilts, fiddles, banjos & vintage hand-painted Southern Potteries – Blue Ridge dinnerware, you know what I’m talking about. another folk art rich area of America – that also got really ripped off. American dream, right. I think they were among the first to fight in the Revolutionary War, the Mountain Boys (?), and, the first to be ripped off by the new nation – by GEORGE WASHINGTON, himself, who taxed the hell out of their whiskey & beer industry, even stole the recipe – for his own big money-making use.
so yeah, with all the authentic first-hand accounts, and the glorious, if steely archival clips . . and, ‘clips’, i.e. moving film . . not just still black & white photographs – it’s hard to believe this film comes out to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party . . whose full and
official title always was – and is: The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. self-defense being the key phrase.
and, after 9-11-2001, and certainly in light of the recent sad, brutal & shocking events in Paris, and elsewhere & even still here at home in the urban trenches, and it’s not just in the streets, bye the way: why isn’t . . ‘STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON’ up for an Oscar this month, why wasn’t the awesome JAMES BROWN biopic, ‘GET ON UP’ . . sweeping up at last year’s Oscars ?
don’t get me started, but even so . . repeat after 9-11, and on-wards – I think we all should really really think hard, about our ‘domestic’ policing, and I hope we can as a nation, better appreciate . . 50 years on, just how truly revolutionary their stance, their ideology, their intellect, their artistry, their power, their poetry, their militancy, their voice, their struggle . . was.
FILE UNDER: LET’S START – A MASS MEDIA PROTEST.
LENA DUNHAM . . to WRITE & DIRECT THE NEXT STAR WARS, or dump the whole damn project.
PEGGY G. vs DARTH VADER ? PEGGY WINS !!!!!!!!!
‘PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT’ vs ‘STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS’ . . . ?
‘PEGGY GUGGENHEIM’ WINS . . . !!
hands down, no contest.
DARTH VADER, oops I mean . . KYLO REN !!!! – LOOK OUT !!!!
PEGGY G. – coming to take you out !!
‘PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT’, 2015 – directed by LISA IMMORDINO VREELAND, is still playing at the IFC CENTER in Manhattan, albeit at 10:45 am – but, still . . !!
as IF, we don’t know it’s a dumb-ed down world, don’t blink, get out of bed 2 hrs earlier, and go see it.
yeah, it’s great on a big screen – lots & lots of archival footage: JACKSON POLLOCK, MONDRIAN, DUCHAMP – all them forward moving serious art Frenchies, and, then all those bold American dudes. yep. totally fab visuals . . as the art world moves from Paris – to New York !!
and it’s: all because of, thank you – Peggy !!
and of course, the film is . . . !!
also chock-full of the main character, and I do mean CHARACTER, with a capital C, art-seer & patron .. PEGGY GUGGENHEIM, herself.
and, even CARLO McCORMICK – makes several cameos – as a talking head !!
on the other hand, ‘STAR WARS’ put me to sleep, several times, in fact continuously !!
even at the IMAX !!
what a waste of time, and resources. and it made $1 Billion in a record 12 days.
well, that’s the world – we live in. sad. played out. thin & lame. $$$ in all the wrong places.
I think that’s what I missed most in it. something really new, weird and far-out. seriously digital. warped sound waves. twisted time. come on guys, alien life forms are not all going to be anthropomorphic.
if you were a muscle-bound weightlifter, you could maybe squeeze a few drops of original imagination – out of it, maybe enough . . to make one cup of tepid tea.
the only thing I liked, special effects wise, and anything else wise: was the roly-poly 2 balled metallic or was that hard plastic/composite (?) ‘snowman’ robot/droid – that followed the super cute, scavenger class, duh. heroine, around. nothing else is new. oh I forgot – the ‘villain’, KYLO REN aka the new gen Darth Vader – is: new.
but, he sucks. that guy from ‘GIRLS’, sucks. you know, ADAM DRIVER, what a disappointment. scrape it up, off the sidewalk – dude, your character doesn’t even qualify as an alternative new age, mopey brooding Vader.
Brooklyn hipster dude, you shoulda stuck with . . Lena. Adam did better with a naked frumpy Lena – than he does with this good looking chick, any day. no chemistry whatsoever. no balls. no fear. no twists. no terror. no evil. ok he throws Han Solo around. so what, Harrison Ford looked like he was ready, already !! to be cast out of this loser – gimme break. he gets more thrills flying planes in real life.
maybe, because . . no script ? no really, and I mean really .. dark holes.
yeah. I vote LENA DUNHAM – to direct, if not write – the next ‘Star Wars’ !!
anybody else – second that emotion ?
on the other hand, ‘PEGGY GUGGENHEIM’ was a low ball production that had it’s weak moments of editing, but overall – absolutely delivered.
and, for god’s sake – don’t judge this film by it’s trailer !!
the worst trailer in the world – and as good an example as any, of how Peggy was demeaned throughout her life.
thank God, she lived to see her singular vision – validated !!
and shame on the filmmakers for releasing such a lame low ball trailer – no wonder the film is screening at 10:45 in the morning.
but PEGGY GUGGENHEIM herself – was huge !!
a huge colorful character. super chic, and modern – before modern was a word, she was a huge huge influence on the art scene – we know and love, even today. and, except for that unfortunate trailer, which just serves to show you – what unkind idiots she was up against – she comes through – loud and clear.
how could she not ?
she left a blazing trail of artists behind her, that never would have stood a chance without her . . just 3 names, among many – should suffice: MARCEL DUCHAMP, JACKSON POLLOCK and MONDRIAN.
some interesting tidbits . . that had particular big sparks for me:
1. haha, her feud with her richer, but dumber art patron uncle, SOLOMON GUGGENHEIM, founder of the Guggenheim Museum, and his arrogant, nasty, snobby, power-stealing, ‘hottie’, maybe mistress – art consultant / curator !!
as if, things have changed !! NOT !!
Peggy has one word for her, besides: “bombshell” – lordy !!
and yeah, they got a clip of her !!
was it: evil ? or simply: “she was a fiend”.
well, Peggy as I said, lived to see – she had had the last word.
2. the insights into the Guggenheim family & its legacy, in general, but esp her aunt or cousin, who threw her own 2 babies to their death off a roof, rather than give them up in a divorce power play, and was never charged with anything ??!!??
a nice cameo on the social mores of the day. esp of the super upper crust. they, the Guggenheims, went from dirt poor immigrant Lower East Side street cart peddlers to vastly immensely super rich – in one generation, so one can only imagine the DNA in that clan. if you are going to ‘bio-clone’ – you know where to start.
and maybe Peggy was the smartest of the lot, if not the shrewdest !!
3. I loved how people bitch in the film about . . . “how cheap she was” – !!
because she served . . the cheapest low grade food and wine at her parties !!
omg, what losers. and no, again, nothing – has changed.
in the meantime she fronted the considerable dough out of her own pocket – that had several indie galleries, with agendas & curatorial visions way ahead of their time – up and running in Paris, London and then New York, and finally in Venice, without much sales, or income – all of which, literally gave birth to modern art, and all !! on her own dime.
not only that, she single-handedly & in person, in a desperate & dangerous time – moved a lot of this modern art, from Paris, away from the grasp of the Nazis who would surely have destroyed it, and shipped it, covertly – across the Atlantic ocean, for god’s sake !! halfway around the world – to safety, in New York – again, all on her own dime.
not to mention the generous patronage she bestowed, we are talking US $$$, on the ’emerging’ & under-recognized artists, of the time, even bringing many of them, including Duchamp – to New York. in essence saving them. and, all on her own dime.
Jackson Pollock would never have flourished without her financial support.
and then, just ever so casually – towards the end of the film, it is just dropped that she, Peggy G paid a life long patronage grant to DJUANA BARNES !! to keep her alive, and writing her whole life.
are you following me ? Djuana Barnes !!
yeah, PEGGY GUGGENHEIM was cheap. right.
dodos rule the world, and esp the art world – as if anything has changed there.
4. the bio behind the brand . . the woman herself.
all the incredible archival photos, film clips & newly surfaced audio-tapes. nothing beats seeing & hearing her in her own voice & words – the real deal . . the real person, behind that art-history-in-the-making.
Peggy comes across as quite funny, vulnerable, brilliantly wry & equally insightful, brave. with a life both tragic, hard-partying, and art loving joyful. she was intellectually inspired, passionate, and sensual – on hyper mode.
moved to action by forces that are hard to explain logistically, but with a . . juiced-up pre-vision, that was/is . . as sure as sure can be.
tell me about – it. second nature, you either have it, or you don’t.
that’s a funny thing about being such a radical pre-thinker, talent scout & patron.
you begin to be perceived as an oddball, an outsider, when really you are the most consummate insider – in the world.
moved by invisible rays . . of knowing.
a water diviner. a juicer. it make take years – for the clear source of that sweet nectar of inspiration – to surface and, finally make its play.
but when your ship comes in, it’s a huge, huge payload.
for all the hardships & name calling, there’s nothing like knowing great art when you are the only one in the room, nothing like buying great art for pennies, and then living long enough to walk around – and point to the now . . million dollar price tags !! which she does in this film, and yes, she utters many a “damn I shouldn’t have sold that” under her breath !!
but, she always knew it. that’s the great beauty of her . . eccentricity. her edge.
the only thing she regrets – at the end of her long life, is that with age – she ran out of lovers !!
and the worst trailer in the world – is:
but, still fun to watch !!
YES: “art & sex occupied the same part of her brain”, lol . . . . tell me about it. the ultimate rush.
especially crushin’ on new art, omg. it is hard to tell the diff, except as you get older, the underground just keeps turning over a new wave of eternally twenty-somethings. yo, Peggy – ain’t that the truth. catching the wave, is how we like – to call it.
YES: she created an art collection on just $40,000 . . . “now worth billions” ~ Larry Gagosian !!
YES: she met “JACKSON POLLOCK when he was just a carpenter .. working in her uncle’s museum . . . !!
all ye art handlers, and, yep – I could name a few !! take heart.
BB-8 …. the only star in ‘STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS’, and not so much for anything he does, just for his shape & the way he moves. esp that disconnected . . head !!
nice graphics, nice colors, nice surface fades, too. all good. good stencil work. good proportions, minimal, hard core, scratched. weathered. believable. functional.
imagination-rollin’ – in a word.