The Films of Beth B and Scott B

Sep 8–11, 2022

MoMA

Scott B and Beth B with cast members of The Offenders, 1979. From left: Diego Cortez, Lydia Lunch, Johnny O’Kane, Bill Rice, and Adele Bertei. Photo: Marcia Resnick. Courtesy Beth B
  • MoMA, Floor T2/T1 The Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center

The Museum of Modern Art presents a career retrospective of the films of Scott B and Beth B, the legendary duo who defined the punk filmmaking scene in Downtown New York in the 1970s and 1980s. The series features three films by Scott B and Beth B, including MoMA’s restoration of The Offenders and the theatrical premiere of five titles newly restored by Kino-Lorber.

Beth B and Scott B are the best-known and most critically acclaimed underground filmmakers of New York’s No Wave and early punk scenes. They were on the leading edge of a movement germinating in the city’s lofts, nightclubs, and galleries, where their confrontational, humorous, thought-provoking films instigated and anticipated a democratization of filmmaking that eventually became known as “American Independent Film.” Among the influential artists and musicians who appeared in their work during this formative period are Lydia Lunch, Jack Smith, Adele Bertei, John Lurie, and John Ahearn. Galvanizing the alternative spirit of the Downtown scene, their films became aesthetic touchstones for succeeding generations of filmmakers, artists, and musicians, and continue to be cited in critical works on the period by film and art historians. In 2018, MoMA acquired and preserved their Super 8mm debut feature The Offenders (1979). In 2021, Kino Lorber Distribution acquired the Scott and Beth B catalogue of films for restoration and distribution. Their cooperation in the organization of this series is gratefully acknowledged.

Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Curator, Department of Film.

Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black and by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston.

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