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MoMA

AUTHOR: ANNE MORRA

Posts by Anne Morra
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June 5, 2015  |  Film
MoMA’s Department of Film at 80: Commencement
July 1935 signing of the document establishing the MoMA Film Library. From left: John Abbott, Iris Barry, John Hay Whitney (seated), A. Conger Goodyear, Nelson A. Rockefeller

July 1935 signing of the document establishing the MoMA Film Library. From left: John Abbott, Iris Barry, John Hay Whitney (seated), A. Conger Goodyear, Nelson A. Rockefeller

Long before The Museum of Modern Art Department of Film was so named, it was called the Film Library. The entity to be known as the Film Library was officially announced on June 27, 1935, and on July 2 The Museum of Modern Art Film Library Corporation was formalized with documents signed by trustees A. Conger Goodyear, John Hay Whitney, and Nelson A. Rockefeller. Read more

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April 16, 2015  |  Film
Hamilton MacFadden, Who?

The discovery of new artists and the rediscovery of established ones are key components of curatorial work. An exhilarating part of curatorial work is the ability to be something of a cultural archeologist and bring to the fore an artist whose work has been consigned to the past due to changing critical taste, shifts in technology, and the demands of motion picture economics. As a longtime Fox Films contract director, Hamilton MacFadden (American, 1901–1977) is indeed worthy of thoughtful rediscovery. Read more

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March 5, 2015  |  Film
William K. Howard’s Don’t Bet on Women

I’ve recently discovered a sassy feature that has been in the MoMA collection for more than 40 years. Don’t Bet on Women, a drawing-room comedy produced by the Fox Film Corp. in 1931, encompasses all of the risqué behaviors, modes of dress, suggestive situations, and freewheeling alcohol consumption that the Motion Picture Production Code hoped to curtail. Read more

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December 2, 2014  |  Film
An Interview with Art Wehrhahn, MoMA Film Vault Manager
Art Wehrhahn at work in The Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Center in Hamlin, PA. Photo: Mary Keene

Art Wehrhahn at work in The Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Center in Hamlin, PA. Photo: Mary Keene

Those of you who follow my blog posts know I generally write about issues relating to the MoMA film collection. When my colleague and dear friend Art Wehrhahn announced his retirement this summer, it seemed fitting to devote a blog post to an interview with Art that examines an extraordinary career spanning more than four decades. Read more

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October 15, 2014  |  Film
Bill Morrison: Compositions
Light Is Calling. 2004. USA. Directed by Bill Morrison. Courtesy of Bill Morrison

Light Is Calling. 2004. USA. Directed by Bill Morrison. Courtesy of Bill Morrison

A key component of curatorial work is the discovery of a new artist, the study of their continued output, and the development of a long-term, supportive relationship. Following an artist’s work over many years and investigating their growth or, in certain cases, their failure to evolve, is an essential endeavor for a curator. Read more

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August 28, 2014  |  Film
Discovering Adorable
Adorable. 1933. USA. Directed by William Dieterle

Adorable. 1933. USA. Directed by William Dieterle

For a number of years now I’ve been meaning to engage in a research project to learn more about the American film editor Irene Morra (1893–1978). This interest first began because we share the same last name. I don’t think we’re related, but as a wise friend once told me, trees have lots of branches! Read more

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July 23, 2014  |  Film
Tiger Morse: Fashion Guru and Andy Warhol Star
Tiger Morse (Reel 14 of ***). 1963. USA. Directed by Andy Warhol. © 2014 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved. Image courtesy of The Andy Warhol Film Project, Whitney Museum of American Art

Tiger Morse (Reel 14 of ***). 1967. USA. Directed by Andy Warhol. © 2014 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved. Image courtesy of The Andy Warhol Film Project, Whitney Museum of American Art

I have a vague recollection of attending a classmate’s birthday party when I was about six or seven and in the gift bag there was a paper dress perfectly sized to fit me! The dress was neatly folded in a flat plastic package; it was a simple, A-line, sleeveless shift dress with brightly colored circles. I can’t recall the manufacturer, but the material was something like a thick, stretchy paper towel. Read more

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May 28, 2014  |  Collection & Exhibitions, Film
From the Collection: John Cassavetes’s A Pair of Boots (1962)

New York–born actor/director John Cassavetes (1929–1989) began working in early episodic television while directing his first feature film, Shadows, which officially opened in March 1961 in New York City. Concurrent with the production of Shadows, Cassavetes starred in and directed 27 episodes of the early television crime drama Johnny Staccato (which was filmed in Los Angeles but set in a Greenwich Village jazz club), in which he played the title role, a jazz pianist/private detective. Read more

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March 27, 2014  |  Film
Apple Tree Farm: A Script by Stanley Lupino, with Revisions by Ida Lupino
Ida Lupino with her father, Stanley. c. 1936

Ida Lupino with her father, Stanley. c. 1936

Ida Lupino’s (1918–1995) work as an accomplished actress is acknowledged by many who enjoy classic Hollywood studio films. With well-known movies like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939), They Drive by Night (1940), and the memorable High Sierra (1941) as part of her acting résumé Read more

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February 6, 2014  |  Collection & Exhibitions, Film
Finding The Robot

Recently I was watching a 35mm print of a new film acquisition called Vincere (2009), directed by Marco Bellocchio. Vincere tells the story of the rise of Benito Mussolini and Ida Dalser, the woman he kept as his secret lover for decades. At one point in the film, Mussolini pays a visit to the Milan headquarters of the Futurists to view a multimedia art exhibition. Read more