Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at 7:30pm
Michel Auder + Rebekah Rutkoff: Sunsets and Other Stars
155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn
In conjunction with the recent publication of Rebekah Rutkoff's The Irresponsible Magician, Light Industry presents a selection of rarely-seen videos by Michel Auder and a reading by Rutkoff.
Sharp, acerbic, and often humorous, Rebekah Rutkoff's writings about contemporary culture reflect the present in ways reminiscent of Renata Adler’s and Joan Didion's writings about urban life in the late twentieth century. Moving freely between fact and fiction, utilizing imaginary interviews, accidental stories, and critical essays, The Irresponsible Magician approaches psychoanalysis and celebrity on a first-name basis. Writing about cultural figures as diverse as Oprah Winfrey, Michel Auder, the Kennedy women, William Eggleston, Gregory Markopoulos, and Hilda Doolittle, Rutkoff interprets protagonists as if they were figures in a dream. Navigating a world of painting, cable television, video art, avant-garde film, memories, or Rutkoff's own photographs, these texts read images like tea leaves, opening up a space in which shadows speak more eloquently than symbols or signs.
“Rebekah Rutkoff’s fertile mind disrupts the conventional, leaping over the usual ways of seeing and thinking. She embraces the imagination, refuses oppositions, say, between rational and irrational, and, like H.D., welcomes dreams as the mind’s unconscious, helpful messenger. Her lovely, rhythmic sentences are delightful, as is her special comprehension of the visual and written.”
- Lynne Tillman
Talking Head, 1981, 2 mins
Auder's young daughter delivers a hypnotic monologue on a mysterious lost object which seems to have deep psychic resonance—"a nothing-nothing," "a thing that never came back again...everyone was mad about it and sad about it...but nothing ever happened"—while the artist surreptitiously captures her performance through the leaves of an intervening house plant.
Gregory Corso, 1971, 4 mins
Three minutes of ephemeral beauty at the Chelsea Hotel. Beat poet Corso, joined by Auder, his wife Viva and infant daughter Alexandra, commune under the romantic auspices of enormous, Arp-like soap bubbles and swirling cigarette smoke.
Polaroid Cocaine, 1993, 5 mins
Composed solely of still images, a meditation on photography, advertising, desire, and spectacle. The title song is written by Jean-Jacques Shuhl and performed by Ingrid Caven, both friends of the artist.
Harry Smith Calls the Dalai Lama, 1971, 5 mins
Harry Smith patiently and insistently articulates his desire to be connected to the Dalai Lama in a protracted telephone conversation with the operator.
1967 Four Screen, 2015, 3 mins (excerpt)
A multi-screen composite of images from 1967, including artist and Warhol superstar Brigid Berlin painting with her breasts-as-brush.
Made for Denise, 1978, 4 mins
A "video letter" from Auder to an unspecified "Denise" (he delivered it to her apartment and left it with her doorman). Her photograph appears in the palm of the artist's hand and gives way to images of violent destruction, blood, and an arrangement of colorful fruit. With music authorized by Philip Glass.
Voyage to the Center of the Phone Lines, 1993, 55 mins
Auder has gathered, selected and ordered fragments of intercepted phone conversations (he obsessively scanned mobile calls between 1987 and 1989) for his audio track and placed them on top of slowly alternating, gazed-out-at images from a quiet beach retreat. The pairs of voices from the phone calls are common and raw—the content is not always alarming but the sameness that binds them is: these conversations are marked by intimate and incisive stabs at the truth, and many of them by urgent concerns about sexuality and sanity. Lovers anticipate sex and taunt each other with guesses about who loves the other more; parents fret over their teenage daughter’s tendency toward unprotected sex with an unsavory boy and fantasize about forms of violent punishment; two female friends make distinctions among kinds of sex with types of men; two men wonder how to re-engage an emotionally withdrawing girlfriend; a woman describes feeling acutely rejected by a boyfriend who’s not keen on sex; two friends criticize a third for cutting off all contact with her mother and calling it bravery. There are questions about masturbation and molestation and therapy and the ethics of skipping a birthday party, and about how to best praise God and gain membership to his kingdom. - RR, from The Irresponsible Magician
Born in Soissons, France in 1945, Michel Auder moved to New York City in 1970 and has been making videos since the arrival of the Sony Portapak in 1969. Auder is an ethnographer of both moving-image time itself and the many art worlds in which he has lived and moved; his earliest works include portraits of artists including Alice Neel, Larry Rivers, Annie Sprinkle and Hannah Wilke. A solo exhibition of his most recent work, Everybody Knows (Or Should), opened at Martos Gallery earlier this fall. A monograph on his work, Stories, Myths, Ironies, and Other Songs: Conceived, Directed, Edited, and Produced by M. Auder, was produced by Adam Szymczyk and published by Sternberg Press last year. Auder lives and works in Brooklyn and will be present for this event at Light Industry.
Rebekah Rutkoff is a New York-based writer, artist, and teacher. She is currently completing books on the American filmmakers Robert Beavers and Gregory Markopoulos and is the editor of a forthcoming volume of writings by and about Beavers. Her work has appeared in publications including Artforum, Bookforum, Fence, Animal Shelter, and World Picture. She is the recipient of a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for a new project on the artist Lillian Schwartz.
Tickets - $8, available at door.
Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.