Steve McQueen. Deadpan. 1997

Steve McQueen Deadpan 1997

  • Not on view

Deadpan is inspired by a scene from Buster Keaton's 1928 slapstick film Steamboat Bill, Jr., in which the eponymous character stands in front of a dilapidated house as its facade crashes down around him. Bill's luck and evident naiveté place him in a spot where an open window hits the ground, thus leaving him unscathed amid dust and debris. In McQueen's remake the artist casts himself in the starring role, but unlike Keaton, who is a small man in a large landscape, the artist appears imposing in scale throughout a sequence of shots that capture the same action from different angles. While Keaton bolts from the scene after a comical delayed reaction, McQueen remains standing stoically in the wreckage, unflinching in the face of near disaster.

Gallery label from Contemporary Galleries: 1980-Now, November 17, 2011-February 17, 2014.
Medium
16mm film transferred to video (black and white, silent)
Duration
4:35 min.
Credit
Fractional and promised gift of Thea Westreich and Ethan Wagner
Object number
537.2004
Copyright
© 2018 Steve McQueen. Used by permission.
Department
Media and Performance Art

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.