The discovery of new artists and the rediscovery of established ones are key components of curatorial work. An exhilarating part of curatorial work is the ability to be something of a cultural archeologist and bring to the fore an artist whose work has been consigned to the past due to changing critical taste, shifts in technology, and the demands of motion picture economics. As a longtime Fox Films contract director, Hamilton MacFadden (American, 1901–1977) is indeed worthy of thoughtful rediscovery.
Posts tagged ‘film preservation’
Those of you who follow my blog posts know I generally write about issues relating to the MoMA film collection. When my colleague and dear friend Art Wehrhahn announced his retirement this summer, it seemed fitting to devote a blog post to an interview with Art that examines an extraordinary career spanning more than four decades.
Chief film curator Rajendra Roy and I attended the 69th congress of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), in Barcelona, Spain, April 21–27. Each year the member and associate film archives convene in a city where the annual congress is hosted by a local FIAF institution
The provenance of a work of art is an important part of the acquisition process. What is a provenance? By definition, the noun provenance—with respect to art and archeological specimens—is a place or source of origin.
James Bond took up residence at MoMA 25 years ago this June. You might have thought a posh London apartment or a secluded villa on the Caribbean island of Mustique might better suit the suave international man of intrigue, but in fact Bond—well, the 35mm films at least—resides in Hamlin, Pennsylvania, zip code 18427.
With Turner Classic Movies (TCM) celebrating MoMA’s film-preservation work with a special 24-hour festival (all day today!) featuring 14 preserved films, I thought it made good sense to write about our efforts to preserve films, the background and importance of film preservation, and about the Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Center, where this valuable works take place and where the Museum stores all of its films in climate-controlled conditions to prevent any further deterioration.
On Wednesday, March 16, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will celebrate the film preservation work of The Museum of Modern Art with 24-hour program of 14 films drawn from MoMA’s collection. Chief curator of film Rajendra Roy and I flew to Los Angeles in late February to tape cohosting spots with the well-known TCM host Robert Osborne. We were eager to be a part of TCM’s ongoing commitment to spotlighting efforts to protect the world’s cinema heritage. And we also got to sit in the red leather chairs during the interview with Mr. Osborne!
I take my work as a curator very seriously. I consider myself fortunate to put into practice on a daily basis the knowledge I gained as an undergraduate and graduate film and art history student. But honestly, we’re not saving lives here at MoMA or finding the means for alternate energy sources that will sustain our planet for millennia. My mother is proud of my professional achievements too, but she’ll never have the chance to say to her friends “my daughter, the Nobel Prize winner.” Even so, the work of a film curator is significant, enduring, and critical to the history of cinema.
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