Ken Jacobs is one of cinema’s living treasures. For the past 70 years, the Brooklyn-born filmmaker has reawakened the sense of awe and mystery that many 19th-century audiences must have felt when confronting motion pictures for the first time. His lifelong project has been the aesthetic, social, and physiological critique of projected images—images that by turns mesmerize and disorient the viewer.
Jacobs has credited his discovery of his passion for movies to trips to MoMA in the late 1940s, recalling that “The Museum of Modern Art plunged me, when a teenager, into the unexpectedness of art.” It is a fitting tribute to the artist, then, that the Museum has recently become home to the largest collection of his films and videos, which number more than 200 to date. The three moving-image works shown here can only hint at the exhilarating breadth of his career.
Organized by Josh Siegel, Curator, Department of Film, with Danielle Johnson, former Curatorial Associate, Department of Drawings and Prints, and Rachel Rosin, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints and Curatorial Affairs.