Abstract Expressionism and Film

Feb 13–Apr 23, 2011


The Red Desert. 1964. Italy/France. Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Abstract Expressionist New York, Abstract Expressionism and Film comprises six programs of short and feature-length films, all drawn from the Museum’s collection, that were both developed simultaneously with and inspired by the radical formal innovations of the New York School. While Abstract Expressionism was primarily associated with painting, filmmakers concurrently embraced an abstracted cinematic language that employed technological innovations and personal expression via nonrepresentational imagery. Using visual subject matter that was wholly abstract, filmmakers could create works that, while occasionally interpreted as apolitical and “safe,” actually utilized complex structures and challenged viewers to reexamine the narrative basis—and in some cases the very materiality—of film. Full screening details will be available soon.

Organized by Anne Morra, Associate Curator, and Sally Berger, Assistant Curator, Department of Film.


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