NEW YORK.- A new film series, Lights, Camera, Action: Artists Films for the Cinema, recently opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The exhibition, organized by Whitney curator Chrissie Iles, brings together a remarkably wide-ranging group of films made by artists for the screen, allowing us to see the many ways in which artists have interpreted the language of cinema in their own terms. The exhibition remains on view through April 1.
Since the invention of film, cinema has been an inspiration and a subject for artists, and moving image installations have become a major part of the language of contemporary art. In recent years, artists have also begun to produce single screen films, made to be screened in the cinema, rather than the gallery.
Some of the artists in this exhibition address the language and mythologies of Hollywood. Others construct narratives that evoke independent film. The exhibition includes classic early films by Joseph Cornell, such as Rose Hobart, Robert Frank and Alfred Leslies enduring Beat anthem Pull My Daisy, and Samuel Becketts FILM, starring Buster Keaton, as well as key narrative films of the1960s and 1970s by Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Yvonne Rainer, Babette Mangolte, Anthony McCall and Andrew Tyndall, Yoko Ono and John Lennon.
Also included are rare screenings of films by David Salle, Julian Schnabel, Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, Larry Clark, and Rebecca Horn, who first came to prominence in the 1980s, and whose films sought to occupy both the worlds of independent and commercial cinema. The show also features films by a generation of artists who emerged in the 1990s and developed a different approach, making both films specifically for the cinema, and installations using the moving image. In many cases, their single screen films, like those of the previous generation, are part of a larger body of works in other materials, including sculpture, photography, drawing and painting.
These artists include Douglas Gordon, Tacita Dean, Matthew Barney, Sharon Lockhart, Shirin Neshat, Wilhelm Sasnal, Laurie Simmons, Johan Grimonprez, Tracey Emin, Clemens von Wedemeyer, and Isaac Julien, who began his career as an independent filmmaker. A small group of filmmakers who have influenced artists moving into film and who have also explored the gallery context - Jean-Luc Godard, Derek Jarman, Chantal Akerman, Chris Marker are also included.
On Saturday, March 3, there will be a one-night-only screening of Destricted a series of seven erotic films by acclaimed artists and directors Marina Abramovic, Matthew Barney, Marco Brambilla, Larry Clark, Gaspar Noé, Richard Prince, and Sam Taylor-Wood, commissioned by Mel Agace, Andrew Hale, and Neville Wakefield.