1966. USA. Directed by Jud Yalkut. Courtesy New York Filmmakers’ Coop.
1967. USA. Directed by Aldo Tambellini .
1966–68. USA. Directed by Aldo Tambellini.
Pioneering multimedia artist and poet Aldo Tambellini presents nine works from his Black Film Series that have been recently restored by Harvard Film Archive. Chaotically, hypnotically beautiful, these films are steeped in the culture of the 1960s, speaking at once to abstraction in painting, the materiality of Arte Povera, American racial politics, and image-saturated visual culture in the age of Marshall McLuhan. In the mid-1960s, Tambellini was living on New York’s Lower East Side, making paintings and light-based installations and, together with the artist Otto Piene, operating the Black Gate Theatre, where they presented some of the most radical films and performances of the time. In 1966, Tambellini began making films that explored the possibility of black as a dominant color and an idea. His Black Film Series comprised largely camera-less experiments that transformed celluloid into a painterly medium, a heady collision of clear film leader on which he applied black ink, paint, and stencils; black leader that he scraped, punctured, acidified, or manipulated in other ways to yield abstract forms; and found footage from industrial films, newsreels, and broadcast television. This program was curated by Pia Bolognesi and Giulio Bursi, independent curators. Special thanks to Haden Guest, Director, and Elizabeth Coffey, Film Conservator, Harvard Film Archive. All Tambellini films preserved through the Avant-Garde Masters program funded by The Film Foundation and administered by the National Film Preservation Foundation. Additional funding provided by Harvard University.