The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar at the Flaherty Farm in Vermont circa 1950s (Flaherty at MoMA: Turning the Inside Out, June 21 – 30, 2014). Courtesy the Flaherty Seminar

Each year MoMA’s Department of Film collaborates with one of the Robert Flaherty Film Seminars—the longest continuously running film programs in North America and a one-of-a-kind institution that seeks to encourage filmmakers and other artists to explore the potential of the moving image—on an exhibition that focuses on films and filmmakers working in a specific thematic area. The Flaherty’s 60th Anniversary Seminar (Colgate University, June 14–20) probes the essence and frontiers of the form that inspired its beginnings: the documentary.

Turning the Inside Out examines the state of documentary as it travels between the art gallery, the cinema, and the interactive screen. The curators turn to a unique group of documentary artists—some of whom produce new aesthetic idioms, and others who move seamlessly between media without changing their vocabulary. Together they ask, Which genre (essay film, auto/biography, docufiction) and exhibition form (theater, gallery installation, Internet) best supports the expression of an idea, and how can form optimize documentary’s potential to connect us to unfamiliar places, objects, or situations? In confronting the effectiveness of form, the works in this program amplify new and unexpected tensions: between the need to participate and the desire to withdraw; between aesthetic expression and direct action; and between staying inside or going out.

Organized in collaboration with the 2014 Robert Flaherty Film Seminar.

Organized by Sally Berger, Assistant Curator, Department of Film, MoMA; with Caspar Stracke, artist, filmmaker, and curator; Gabriela Monroy, video artist and curator; and Anita Reher, Executive Director, The Robert Flaherty Seminars.

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