Archive for August, 2010

Kenneth Anger: Missoni

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

It’s probably impossible to assess the full scope of Kenneth Anger’s influence on contemporary film making and video—he is credited with having invented the entire genre of “music video” decades before MTV came along, for starters, and was recently the subject of a retrospective at PS 122 in New York.  I consider Anger to be just about the closest thing to a “pure” cinematic poet that America has produced in the years since World War II—our own Jean Cocteau of independent film, if you will.  Or if you won’t!

As one might expect, any film auteur in this country who operates outside the mainstream Hollywood Blockbuster loop has to contend with marginalization and lack of funding (consider Orson Welles, who spent much of his career after Citizen Kane searching for backers for his later film projects).  Nevertheless, Kenneth Anger, who is now 83 years old, continues to create mysteriously subversive, evocative short movies, and Missoni is his latest: a two-and-a-half minute film for the Missoni fall 2010 fashion campaign.  According to a recent article by Rebecca Pattiz at Interview magazine, several generations of Missoni family members appear in it—Margherita, Jennifer, Angela, Rosita, Ottavio, and Ottavio Jr.—their images layered in a kind of ghostly montage reminiscent of Mr. Anger’s 1949 classic, Puce Moment.  The haunting soundtrack was composed by the French symphonic composer Koudlam; I particularly love the distorted, compressed sound of atmospheric voices that fade in and out at the end, as if Darth Vader were being channeled through an old AM radio that is tuned between two distant stations.

Visit more of Harold’s Sketchbook at www.haroldgraves.com

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The Temple of Blooom at Cinders Gallery

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

The Cinders Gallery on Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg is just closing out one of the more amazing shows of the summer today—The Temple of Blooom is an installation of drawings, paintings, collage and sculpture.  There are too many good things in this show to give an exhaustive description of what’s going on in the space; that such an engaging, inspiring installation could be assembled in the relatively small confines of a storefront gallery is testament to the vibrant energy that runs through the Brooklyn art scene, even during the Dog Days of summer.

Hisham Bharoocha has put together a group of collages that resonate at once with 1960′s San Francisco psychedelic poster art and the dreamlike imagery of Joseph Cornell, or the poignant poetics of the late Joe Brainard’s collage work.  Kelie Bowman’s delicately rendered drawing of flowers arranged in the shape of human forms might easily have been included in this year’s Biennial, across from Aurel Schmidt’s Arcimboldo-esque Minotaur drawing as a counterpoint to some of the Biennial’s brooding pessimism.  The entire gallery has a magical, ritual-like atmosphere, as if one had walked into the after-effects of a Vodun rite.  The black and gold painted papier mache shrine to “the gods of plants” by an artist who calls himself Sto, and John Orth’s mask-like drawings of disembodied, abstract spirit-faces further enhances the mysteriously evocative atmosphere of this show.

Photos and video from Friday’s musical performance by Inferior Amps, Noveller and Brian Chase are on the Cinders Gallery blog,  along with pictures from the closing party tonight.

Click on an image in the gallery to view a larger photo:

Please visit more of Harold’s Sketchbook @ www.haroldgraves.com

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