Suzan Pitt’s wildly imaginative and comically sinister animation has dazzled MoMA audiences for nearly 45 years. An award-winning artist and filmmaker who variously calls Los Angeles, Mexico, and a remote cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula her home, Pitt returns to MoMA on March 6 to introduce the New York premiere of five newly restored films as well as her most recent work. This career-encompassing Modern Mondays is presented in partnership with the Academy Film Archive as a featured event in MoMA’s To Save and Project festival. Highlights include Pitt’s earliest 16mm films, Bowl, Theatre, Garden, Marble Game (1970) and Crocus (1971). Also screened are her magisterially oneiric Asparagus (1979), which for nearly two years was the wet-and-wild amuse bouche for David Lynch’s Eraserhead on the midnight-movie circuit; excerpts from her unfinished ESO-S (c. 1980/86), a hybrid of live action and animation; and Joy Street (1995), her exuberant expression of desire, defiance, and suffering. A master practitioner of hand-drawn animation and early cinema techniques, including painted cutout, stop motion, claymation, matted cel, and multiplane camerawork, Pitt draws upon countless sources—from Max Fleischer cartoons to the surrealism of Leonora Carrington and Dorothea Tanning, the magic realism of the rain forest to the polymorphous perversity of 1960s and 70s underground comix. Her unbridled inventiveness has extended to painting and the graphic arts, fashion, opera, and multimedia installation, as demonstrated in her two most recent films: Visitation (2011), an alchemical experiment in photogenic drawing inspired, the artist observes, “by hearing wolves crying and simultaneously reading H.P. Lovecraft,” and Pinball (2013), a deliriously colorful and kinetic piece of abstract visual music set to composer George Antheil’s radical 1953 reworking of his Ballet méchanique. Program approx. 75 min.
T2, Theater 2
Introduced by Pitt