Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Abstract Expressionist New York, Abstract Expressionism and Film comprises six programs of short and feature-length films, all drawn from the Museum’s collection, that were both developed simultaneously with and inspired by the radical formal innovations of the New York School. While Abstract Expressionism was primarily associated with painting, filmmakers concurrently embraced an abstracted cinematic language that employed technological innovations and personal expression via nonrepresentational imagery. Using visual subject matter that was wholly abstract, filmmakers could create works that, while occasionally interpreted as apolitical and “safe,” actually utilized complex structures and challenged viewers to reexamine the narrative basis—and in some cases the very materiality—of film. Full screening details will be available soon.
Organized by Anne Morra, Associate Curator, and Sally Berger, Assistant Curator, Department of Film.
Related Film Screenings
There are no upcoming film screenings currently scheduled.
Aristotle. 1965. USA. Directed by Storm De Hirsch. 2 min. A Reticule of Love. 1965. USA. Directed by Storm De Hirsch. 2 min. Catalog. 1961. USA. Directed by John Whitney. 9 min. One-Two-Three. 1968. USA. Directed by John Whitney. 3 min. Permutations. 1968. USA.Directed by John Whitney. 8 min. Experiment in Motion Graphics. 1968. USA. Directed by John Whitney. 12 min. Matrix. 1971. USA. Directed by John Whitney. 6 min. Arabesque. 1975. USA. Directed by John Whitney. 7 min.
Architectural Millinery. 1952. USA. Directed by Sidney Peterson. 7 min. In the Street. 1952. USA. Directed by Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb, James Agee. 20 min. The Cool World. 1964. USA. Directed by Shirley Clarke. 125 min.
Tarantella. 1940. USA. Mary Ellen Bute. 4 min. New Sensations in Sound. 1949. USA. Mary Ellen Bute. 2 min. Imagination. 1958. USA. Mary Ellen Bute. 3 min. Color Cry. 1952. USA. Len Lye. 4 min. An Optical Poem. 1938. USA. Oskar Fischinger. 7 min. Motion Painting No. 1. 1947. USA. Oskar Fischinger. 11 min. Dots. 1940. Canada. Norman McLaren. 2 min. Early Abstractions. 1939–46. USA. Harry Smith. 24 min.
In conjunction with Abstract Expressionism and Film, experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs discusses the influence of Abstract Expressionism on his filmmaking career. Jacobs started making films in 1955, and studied abstract expressionist painting under Hans Hofmann from 1956 to 1957. Jacobs’s ideas for an Abstract Expressionist cinema are evident in films like Tom, Tom, The Piper’s Son (1969) and his use of a unique “double-analysis” projector setup.
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