Category Archives: ART

“If your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything.” – David Foster Wallace” DAVID FOSTER WALLACE ON AMBITION, PBS Digital Studios, 2013, 4.5min.

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WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS :: A MAN WITHIN, directed by Yony Leyser, documentary, 85min.

This particular video of the film is intact, minus the end credits.  Please see credits below.

Directed by Yony Leyser
Produced by Carmine Cervi
Scott Crary
Ilko Davidov
Yony Leyser
Written by Yony Leyser
Starring Laurie Anderson
Jello Biafra
David Cronenberg
John Giorno
Thurston Moore
Genesis P-Orridge
Iggy Pop
Patti Smith
Gus Van Sant
John Waters
Distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories

Notes about the film, from PBS’s Independent Lens:

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within investigates the life of the legendary beat author and American icon. Born the heir of the Burroughs’ adding machine estate, he struggled throughout his life with addiction, control systems, and self. He was forced to deal with the tragedy of killing his wife and the repercussions of neglecting his son. His novel, Naked Lunch, was one of the last books to be banned by the U.S. government. Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer testified on behalf of the book. The courts eventually overturned the 1966 decision, ruling that the book had important social value. It remains one of the most recognized literary works of the 20th century.

The film features never before seen footage of William S. Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues including John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, David Cronenberg, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Sonic Youth, Anne Waldman, George Condo, Hal Willner, James Grauerholz, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, V. Vale, David Ohle, Wayne Propst, Diane DiPrima, Dean Ripa (the world’s largest poisonous snake collector), and many others, with narration by actor Peter Weller, and soundtrack by Sonic Youth.

William Burroughs was one of the first to cross the dangerous boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950s, and write about his experiences. Eventually he was hailed the godfather of the beat generation and influenced artists for generations to come. But his friends were left wondering if he had ever found contentment or happiness. This extremely personal documentary pierces the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time.

MICKALENE THOMAS interviewed by Alexander Benrimon, artnet, 2013

Video Notes:

Brooklyn-based Mickalene Thomas, well known for her rhinestone, enamel, and acrylic paintings, as well as her Blaxploitation-style portraits of black women, explores modern notions of beauty and sexuality, drawing heavily from pop culture and Pop Art. She received her BFA from the Pratt Institute in 2000, and earned an MFA from Yale University in 2002. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, including at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, and The Renaissance Society in Chicago. The artist famously painted the first individual portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama, which was shown at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. During the interview, Thomas discusses her experiences as an art student, how interiors factor into her works, how being a mother has affected her, and her various recent projects, such as her mural at the Barclays Center.

THE LOST GENERATION: A&E Biography documentary, 2001, 91min

The Lost Generation is a documentary produced by A&E Biography in 2001.  It first aired on November 15, 2001.

The Lost Generation, in general, is the post-World War I generation, but specifically a group of U.S. writers who came of age during the war and established their literary reputations in the 1920s. The term stems from a remark made by Gertrude Stein to Ernest Hemingway, “You are all a lost generation.” This generation included artists and writers who came of age during the war such as F. Scott Fitzgerald,[1] T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Olaf Stapledon, Sherwood Anderson, John Dos Passos, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Djuna Barnes, Glenway Wescott, Waldo Peirce, Isadora Duncan, Abraham Walkowitz, Ezra Pound, Alan Seeger, Henry Miller, Aldous Huxley, Malcolm Cowley, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Erich Maria Remarque, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and the composers Sergei Prokofiev, Paul Hindemith, George Gershwin and Aaron Copland.

The documentary focuses on American expatriate writers living in Paris in the 1920s,including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Archibald MacLeish, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and John Dos Passos.

Malick Sidibé : Dolce Vita Africana, documentary by Cosima Spender, 2008, 80min.

Dolce Vita Africana is a documentary about the internationally renowned Malian photographer Malick Sidibé, whose iconic images from the late 1950s through the 70s captured the carefree spirit of his generation asserting their freedom after independence and up until an Islamic coup ushered in years of military dictatorship. The filmmaker travels to Sidibé’s studio in Bamako, Mali, to witness the artist at work and meet many of the subjects of his earlier photographs, whose personal stories also tell the history of Mali.

Commissioned by BBC’s Storyville.

ANDY WARHOL:: OXIDATION PAINTINGS, aka PISS PAINTINGS, 1977-78

“Basically we’d say, ‘we’re making these piss-paintings. Wanna come up and pee?’ And that didn’t work as well.  Uhh, I brought u a girl, and she squats and just makes a puddle.  And Andy went, ‘Oh there’s no brushstroke.’  So we learned the hard way.”   -Ronnie Cutrone

(below,from Warholstars.org)

The Oxidation paintings are sometimes referred to as Warhol’s Piss Paintings. The paintings are generally attributed to 1977-78, although Warhol also referred to them in a 1976 interview. The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné (Vol. 1) notes “In a little-known 1976 interview, when Warhol was asked if there were ‘any old non-representational paintings that no one knows about,’ he replied: ‘The only ones I have are the piss paintings; I have a couple. That was a long time ago. Then there were the canvases that I used to leave on the street and people used to walk on them; in the end I had a lot of dirty canvases. Then I thought they were all diseased so I rolled them up and put them somewhere. Reproduced with this interview was an unstretched canvas, captioned ‘Andy Warhol: Piss Painting, urine on canvas, 46 x 80, c. 1961.'”  Continue reading ANDY WARHOL:: OXIDATION PAINTINGS, aka PISS PAINTINGS, 1977-78

ANDY WARHOL: THE COMPLETE PICTURE, documentary, 2002, 2hours 57min

Andy Warhol: The Complete Picture is director Chris Rodley’s three-part documentary series originally broadcast on Channel 4 in the U.K. The program profiles the life and career of pop artist Andy Warhol, starting with his early days as an advertising designer to his death in 1987. Narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt.

LAWRENCE WEINER:: THE MEANS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS, interview, Louisiana Channel, 13 min.

A revealing and informative interview with Lawrence Weiner.  A seminal figure in the post-minimalist conceptual art of the 60’s, Weiner’s art practice spans over 50 years.

Jesper Bundgaard’s interview with the legendary conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner discusses the connection between cruelty, hierarchy and rationality. The artist must ask questions past ordinary logic, he says.

In this interview Weiner philosophises on how the artist can present things people might not have noticed. Art is not meant to answer questions, but rather to ask them. Art is about things you don’t know. Art is a means to answer questions. The artist must go beyond logic and risk madness, he explains: “You have to re-adapt your own logic just to be able to communicate with somebody else.” Continue reading LAWRENCE WEINER:: THE MEANS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS, interview, Louisiana Channel, 13 min.