Great VHS series on Modern Art

Chris (
Wed, 30 Jan 2002 15:01:08 -0800 (PST)

Here is a just-completed 3-part series on contemporary art, called
ART CITY about to Premiere at The National Gallery of Art
in Washington D.C. which Robert Rosenblum, curator at the Guggenheim
Museum calls:
"A perfect time-capsule of the American art world as it goes into the
21st Century. This panoramic cross-section ranges from New York to Los
Angeles, capturing critics, curators, dealers and artists of every stripe.
Posterity should be grateful for this vivid document."

* Peggy Parsons, film curator, National Gallery of Art writes:
"A superb cinematic experience. The artists, the images, the music, the
mood - it all blends so seamlessly, that I forgot I was watching an art

* Louise Bourgeois just viewed and exclaimed:
"These are important pictures!"

* Mark Miller, a National Geographic Traveller editor writes:
“A hell of a job. I mean, impeccable. Not one thing I would change or
delete. These films deliver the feeling of experiencing a perfect

* Libby Lumpkin, curator, The Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas writes:
“They're terrific. I'd like for the UNLV Library to buy them
and whatever other films you've produced."

featured ARTISTS: Richard Tuttle, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Mike Bidlo, Lari
Pittman, Michael Ray Charles, Agnes Martin, Louise Bourgeois, Elizabeth
Peyton, Amy Adler, Richmond Burton, David Deutsch, Joan Snyder, Robert Williams,
Dave Hickey...

MUSIC by Beck, Charles Mingus, Count Basie, Roy Ayers, Tom Waits,
Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ted Greene, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Claude Thornhill,
Herbie Hancock...)


ART CITY #2: Simplicity (59 mins. VHS)

Travelling around the country, ART CITY: Simplicity takes viewers on a
revealing trip into the studios and lives of a group of singular
artists. On a desert mesa outside Santa Fe, Richard Tuttle invents his
mysterious and marvellously humble forms, made of wire, cardboard, string, wood. In
Taos, Agnes Martin rhythmically repeats extremely simplified images. In
his studio by the Santa Monica surf, John Baldessari, a founding father of
Conceptualism, aims for successful juxtapositions combining photographs
with text. The imaginative tableaux of Robert Williams revel in surreal cartoon
imagery, creations from his living room in the San Fernando Valley. At a cabin in

Woodstock, Joan Snyder refines her sensuous art amid a lush birch
forest. Mike Bidlo salutes Duchamp at a Manhattan Gallery, while in a
Brooklyn brownstone, Carolyn Martin uses charcoal slabs to realize her visceral
abstractions. On Sunset Boulevard, Amy Adler reclaims personal history through
self-portraits, photographing her original drawings, then destroying the
traces. Through this group of memorable iconoclasts, the creative “act” is there to see
and study. Along with L.A. Times art critic Christopher Knight,
writer/curator Dave Hickey, publisher Mat Gleason, and others, ART CITY: Simplicity
touches on artists’ relations with the press, ambiguous feelings about showing
one’s work, distilling concepts into an essence, and what it means to
succeed in the artworld. (Music by Beck, Tom Waits, Charles Mingus, Count Basie,
Ted Greene, Antonio Carlos Jobim...)

ART CITY #3: A Ruling Passion (58 mins. VHS)

Many artists use the pain, exhilaration and resolution of private
desires to express themselves. ART CITY: A Ruling Passion focuses on
intense personalities who’ve used their art to explore the emotional impact, or
dark humor of psychological truths. Everything that Louise Bourgeois creates -
whether in wood, marble, fabric or bronze - comes from memory of past
experience. Michael Ray Charles investigates the marketing of black memorabilia,
using early American illustrations and advertising imagery. Elizabeth Peyton
reinvents portraiture, using her friends as subjects, as well as historical, and
pop culture, royalty. Ed Ruscha’s literary landscapes burst from the
physical world around him - the world “right outside the window.” The
comic spirit of Lari Pittman contrasts with his graphic and painterly declarations.
Tucked away in a landmark house, Richmond Burton remembers his dreams to build
a “psychic field” of abstraction. The telescopic vistas and Pantheon-like arrays of
featureless faces by David Deutsch are stimulated by sub-conscious
sensations. Along with writer/curator Dave Hickey, New Museum founder Marcia
Tucker, and others, ART CITY: A Ruling Passion plumbs issues that affect artists -
preoccupations of startling universality - like community, motivation and controversy,
finding one’s audience, and just “getting it right.” (Music by Beck,
Charles Mingus, Roy Ayers, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Claude Thornhill, Piero Umiliani,
Joey Altruda, Herbie Hancock...)

ART CITY #1: Making it in Manhattan (59 mins. VHS)

Unlike any art movie you've ever seen, ART CITY is informed
entertainment about the people who make contemporary art. Artists,
collectors, and dealers bring to life the art capital of the world, New York, as it
plunges into the 21st Century. Presenting a cross-section of artists, the film
discusses inspiration, aesthetic issues, and the meaning of success. With Louise
Bourgeois, Brice Marden, Chuck Close, Neil Jenney, Elizabeth Murray, Pat Steir,
Ashley Bickerton, Gary Simmons, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Caio Fonseca, Rirkrit Tiravanija,
Richmond Burton, St. Clair Cemin, Emma Amos, George McNeil, Cletus Johnson, John
Torreano, Ivan Karp, Jay Gorney, Matthew Marks, Jerry Saltz, Herb & Dorothy Vogel, and
others. From abstraction to figuration, from installation to conceptual art, from the
privacy of the doctor's office to the posh gallery opening, the film captures the
reality of a special world. (Music by Tom Waits, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ronnie Jordan,
George van Eps, Piero Umiliani w/Chet Baker, & The Don Braden Quintet)

"...captures New York artists, dealers, and collectors at their
liveliest and most candid." -The Washington Post

"This remarkable film gives us the sense of seeing art today
with absolute clarity and truth" -Arthur C. Danto, The Nation

"Anyone who knows anything about the perils of talking heads and
flapping tongues on film must marvel at this insightful job."
-Andrew Sarris, Film Critic, New York Observer

Please contact me for purchase of this video series for your Library.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on making these films available to students.

Best Regards,

Chris Maybach