Posted: April 26th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Art, Museums, performance art | Tags: Art, Guggenheim Museum, hollywood, homeland security, marina abramovic, MoMA, Museums, photography, public space, rights, The New Museum, tino seghal, urs fischer, Video | 2 Comments »
Movie lights surround Abramovic as MoMA’s atrium is turned into a film set (MoMA is slowly figuring out how to use this vast, cold space which is its center). Three HD cameras record Abramovic’s performance at all times and a man with a still camera stands behind Abramovic, taking extreme close-ups of each person who sits across from her. There are signs alerting the public that whoever enters acknowledges consent to being videotaped and photographed, giving up all rights to these images.
There are other signs stating that no photographs can be taken in the atrium, and there are guards set up at either ends to insure that this doesn’t occur. Luck only for those with a long lens.
There is no photography allowed in any part of the Abramovic show, there was no photography allowed in the recent Tino Seghal show at the Guggenheim or of any other Seghal piece for that matter, there was no photography and even more egregious, no note taking(!) allowed in the Urs Fischer show at the New Museum. I’ve spent the last few years fighting with everyone and anyone who has challenged my right to shoot in public spaces. Granted, a museum is a private form of public space and we’re surrounded by ever more of these hybrid spaces as true public space shrinks.
I understand that museums have the ‘right’ to forbid any activity on their premises. But by denying viewers’ rights while invoking their own, what kind of controlling (precious) atmosphere do these museums and artists want to promote? It seems to put us back several decades in terms of the positioning and passivity of the viewer. These tactics also mimic those of large information-gathering corporations as well as our own government’s Department of Homeland Security. What is up here?
Posted: March 17th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Art, Filmmakers, Screenings | Tags: Art, Bruce Jenkins, Buffalo, Circles of Confusion, experimental film, Hollis Frampton, Millenium Film Workshop, Museums, No Certainty, On the Camera Arts and Consecutive Matters | 2 Comments »
Poetic Justice – Hollis Frampton, 1972, b&w, 16mm
Dear Ms. Doyle,
I’m sending you the color Xerox series By Any Other Name today by Priority Mail. My form is enclosed, and I’ve written a characteristically opaque note on the back of it, which you may use or not as you see fit.
The images themselves, as you will see, take up a bit of space. Do not feel, if they seem boring or tenuous, under any special obligation to use all of them, or indeed any of them. I am aware that the group (there’s a part two on the burner, by the way) rides roughshod over the notions of both subtlety and coherence: a mild triumph, in my book, but others may not find themselves tickled in the same spots I do.
In any case, I hope well for your show. It is about time that filmmakers be allowed outside the gilded ghetto of cinema: after all, the painting and sculpture gangs invade our turf without so much as a by your leave, and almost invariably there is hysterical applause for that It reminds me of the Spanish “discovery” of gold in South America. The Incas had already dug it out of the ground.
Above is a letter to Cherie Doyle, Curator, Department of Art, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN written in 1980. In terms of the last paragraph, it could have been written in 2010.
It’s from a wonderful book edited by Bruce Jenkins called: On the Camera Arts and Consecutive Matters: The writings of Hollis Frampton. I am also the happy owner of a previous book of Frampton writings, Circles of Confusion (I bought a signed remaindered copy at Millenium for $6.00 in the late 80′s). The Jenkins book expands on this earlier book, with small gems like the above.
It is a pleasure to find a fellow traveler on the craggly unmarked path of the moving image. I never physically met Frampton, and now it’s too late, but the magic of books - that I could spend an hour this morning, in my Chinatown coffee shop, cajoling, arguing, conversing with this man.
“This is not to say that there is no such thing as art, or that everything is art; rather, it is to state that there can be no certainty, no final determination, about where we may expect to find art, or about how we are to recognize it when we do find it.” Notes on Composing in Film, Hollis Frampton, written for and delivered at the Conference on Research in Composition at the State University of New York at Buffalo in October, 1975