With the recent rise of purported “zombie attacks,” its sort of like we’re all living in the sick wet dream of Ed Gein. And after watching a recent live performance by the artist Bruce LaBruce at a gallery in New York – where actors portrayed some sort of rebel faction and then execute a hostage all in one of LaBruce’s signature bloodbaths – I started thinking of shock and extreme violence in art as a baptism of our consciousness. In 1909, at the very birth of modernism, Italian writer Filipo Tommaso Marinetti’s published in France’s leading newspaper Le Figaro his seminal piece entitled The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism which declared that “Art can be nothing but violence, cruelty, and injustice.” To Marinetti violence was not only as a means of producing an aesthetic effect, but was also inherent to life itself. There is certainly a palpable depravity underneath our gossamer thin surface – the dark, primitive recesses of our unconscious can sit only so long under the heat until it snaps. Since 1963, the Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch has created a series of live happenings, which combine cruelty, sexuality, defilement, and visual shock for “purposes of purification, and “ab-reaction” of sado-masochist impulses.” In these performances we can see the amazing creative lineage between Nitsch and artists like Bruce LaBruce who don’t necessarily make this type of art for the sake of shock alone, but to reawaken our unconscious from a permanent state embryonic paralysis and exact revenge on our general sense of collective torpescence. This is a film record, entitled Maria – Conception – Action, of Nisch’s most controversial creation: the crucifixion of a young woman, the disembowelling of a lamb carcass, and her defilement with it. Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper. See film after the jump (warning: film is EXTREMELY graphic, if you are under the age of 18, at work, or squeamish about real blood do not watch). [SEE MORE....]
A beautiful film still from the super eight footage shot by Adarsha Benjamin for Soko’s music video We Might Be Dead Tomorrow starring Meghan Edwards & Soko. See music video after the jump. [SEE MORE...]
Mommy Milk is an art film by photographer Ashley Anthony. “Often the things we do in private are not to be seen by the public eye – starring Zac Pennington, the lead singer of the experimental pop band the Parenthetical Girls, this film explores the closeted performances we act out alone when we think no one is watching.
Between 1969 and his death at age 37 in 1982, brilliant enfant terrible German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder made 30 films and numerous television productions, including the 15-hour mini-series BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ. Even as he averaged two to three films per year, his work maintained a meticulous, rigorous style, marked by stunning shot composition, laser-precision blocking and deep characterization ranging from bitterly crystal clear to hypnotically allusive. Fassbinder returned to the same themes and fixations again and again: money, sex, pride and cruelty. Postwar Germany is often his cinematic landscape – the place of drained, falsified dreams where his characters make the most of things and act with their own best interests in mind. Fassbinder himself was plain, drug-addicted and gay, and had much in common with the outsiders he created. He was notorious for the same cruel nature seen in his films, and behaved heartlessly toward those who loved and surrounded him. Still, over the course of his short, astonishing career, he collected a team of dazzling recurring players, including cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and actresses Hanna Schygulla, Margit Carstensen, Brigitte Mira and Irm Hermann. Whether the strain of working with the director was worth the staggering output is hard to say – Ballhaus “burned out” after The Marriage of Maria Braun and went to work with Martin Scorsese. But, as film critic and ardent fan Roger Ebert wrote, “Fassbinder was a genius. That much everyone admitted.” On the 30th anniversary of his death, the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles unveils a 16-film retrospective of the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder from May 31 to June 14.
Beauty Is Embarrassing is a funny, irreverent, joyful and inspiring documentary featuring the life and current times of one of America’s most important artists, Wayne White. Raised in the mountains of Tennessee, Wayne White started his career as a cartoonist in New York City. He quickly found success as one of the creators of the TV show, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which led to more work designing some of the most arresting and iconic images in pop culture. Most recently, his word paintings, which feature pithy and often sarcastic text statements crafted onto vintage landscape paintings, have made him a darling of the fine art world. Beauty Is Embarrassing is currently screening is select cities.
As part of SHOWstudio’s Fashion Fetish film season, Liberty Ross collaborates with photographer Polly Borland to create Dollywood, a subversively sinister view of eroticism. Liberty explains, ‘I wanted to make a film that blurred the line of primitive sexual fetishism with naive and childlike play. To me the act of dressing up, tying up and fetishism has its primal urges in childhood.’ Inspired by Borland’s current artwork, the provocative work tackles the taboos surrounding fetish, questioning the extent to which sexual acts have their basic roots in youthful urges.
Me @ The Zoo is the first feature film from the visionary directors, Valerie Veatch and Chris Moukarbel, it made its New York City premiere at MoMA PS1 last week. Zoo mirrors the perilous journey of Chris Crocker to stardom with the initiation of our digital obsession, from the first YouTube video ever posted (from which the documentary gets its title), to the monthly checks paid to the creators of viral videos. This film is more than just a bio-pic about the world’s favorite Britney Spears fan, it is also a reflection on our human desire to connect and extend our roots past the original pot we were placed in. Chris is from Bristol, Tennessee which Veatch and Moukarbel captured perfectly with poetic shots of Chris in drag, strolling down main street during the fourth of July parade. The viewer gets a feel for this restrictive environment, and can draw the connections between the spastic personality who honestly wanted us to “leave Britney ALONE” and the sensitive artist that loves his family but desires for something more. As Chris shares with us every bit of his kaleidescope sexuality, from Britney look-alike to male hunk star, he proves that at any point in time you can be whoever you want, as long as you get it on camera. Me @ the Zoo will make its U.S. premiere on HBO Documentaries. Text by Angelina Dreem
The much hyped about film The Color Wheel, which opens tonight in New York, is the story of JR, an increasingly transient aspiring news-anchor, forcing her disappointing younger brother Colin to embark on a road trip to move her belongings out of her professor-turned-lover’s apartment. Problem is these grown up kids do not get along and are both too obnoxious to know better. Chaos and calamity are not far behind her beat up Honda Accord. Too bad that nobody else in the world can stand either of them. Not Colin’s neglectful girlfriend, nor JR’s former high school friends, nor strangers they clash with at pretty much every step of their hopeless and increasingly infuriating voyage of frustration, failure and jerks. It can only be a matter of time before JR and Colin arrive at the strangest and most unsettling of resolutions and put to rest their decades of animosity, half-baked sibling rivalry and endless bickering. Resting uncomfortably somewhere between the solipsistic, unrepressed id of late Jerry Lewis, the confrontational pseudo-sexual self-loathing of Philip Roth and the black and white motels, diners and loners of Robert Frank’s America, The Color Wheel is a familial comedy of disappointment and forgiveness. The film opens tonight at BAMcinématek in New York and runs until May 24.
One of the best fashion films to come around in a good while, from writer and director Jessica Hundley, a film entitled The Morning After for Grey Ant sunglasses. See film after the jump. [SEE MORE...]
Agnès Varda is displaying her works at the Hubei Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts of Wuhan until May 6 2012. She is displaying several installations, including a portico in bright red in which she has installed her photographs. Agnès Varda is a visual artist and film-maker famous for films such as Cléo from 5 to 7 which made her a burgeoning member of the Nouvelle Vague film movement. However, in the eyes of the Chinese, where she is above all else is a photographer, the same photographer who travelled through the country under Mao, in 1957. The result of this trip is a collection of photographs which have never before been displayed: smiling families wearing Mao suits, female dockers bent under their burdens. The snapshots depict China before the repression.