Concurrent with the exhibition Panoramas of the Moving Image: Mechanical Slides and Dissolving Views from Nineteenth-Century Magic Lantern Shows, the Department of Film presents monthly screenings of films and digital media works by Ernie Gehr, whose work has been collected by the Museum since the 1970s. Gehr is one of the most celebrated and internationally recognized experimental filmmakers of the richly influential generation that came of age in the 1960s. During that fertile period, in which visual artists in all mediums innovated new ways of seeing and challenged the established aesthetic, Gehr and his contemporaries exhibited together in galleries and film clubs. Subsequently, his work has been shown and collected internationally by cinematheques, museums, and other art institutions. Characterized by strong lines and a certain formal severity, Gehr's films and recent digital works for theatrical exhibition nevertheless create a sense of wonder with their unfailingly lush, sensual image quality and minute attention to contrast and framing.
Organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, Department of Film.
Related Film Screenings
There are no upcoming film screenings currently scheduled.
Filmed mostly at the old Fulton Fish Market, in diners around that downtown area, and in the subway, these exquisitely framed images of New York in the 1970s are mostly low-angle or hip-level shots of exceptional presence and texture. When the last part of this quartet of films suddenly bursts into Kodachrome color, it is shocking—but also fitting and perfectly timed. Once conceived as part of a larger work but then abandoned, the 16mm footage was resurrected nearly thirty years later: transferred to digital video at the correct film-projection speed of sixteen frames per second and edited into four separate sections that together channel a mournful difference between then and now.
Ernie Gehr discusses two structuralist masterpieces separated by twenty years—Serene Velocity (1970) and Side/Walk/Shuttle (1991)—and relates them to his interest in pre-cinema objects and the artists who invented a "cinema of attractions," as evidenced in Gehr's works in Panoramas of the Moving Image.
Replete with visual and audiovisual humor, these digital works not only celebrate the pleasures of perception, as well as spaces both physical and of the mind; they also remain ethereal and multifaceted in their formal and perceptual attributes. Rigorous in their construction, these works float between representation and abstraction while opening up new cinematic worlds.
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