Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 7:30pm
Three Films by James Scott
155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn
Curated by Jesse Pires
Love's Presentation, James Scott, 16mm, 27 mins
Richard Hamilton, James Scott, 16mm, 25 mins
The Great Ice Cream Robbery, James Scott, 16mm double projection, 40 mins
The son of pioneering British abstractionist William Scott, James Scott studied painting and theater design at the Slade School of Fine Art in the early 1960s, but while there quickly transitioned into making films. In his early twenties, he directed several notable short works, helmed an unfinished feature produced by Tony Richardson, and shot a suite of candle-lit color tests for Richardson’s Tom Jones (1963).
Scott eventually began a series of portraits of contemporary artists, several of which were commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britain. Sharing the spirit of Ken Russell’s documentary Pop Goes the Easel (1962), these films offer a fascinating snapshot of a decisive moment in art history. Yet Scott’s intention was not merely to document the artworks themselves, but to merge the artistic practice of his subjects with the possibilities of the moving image. As such, the films stand on their own as discrete cinematic achievements. The first of these films was Love’s Presentation (1967), featuring David Hockney, which shows the artist in the midst of creating a series of etchings based on the erotic poems of C.P. Cavafy. Scott’s 1969 film portrait of Richard Hamilton continued this collaborative formula, with Hamilton musing about cinema, art, and celebrity while images of his works, their original source materials, and related elements from pop culture flash by in rapid succession. The most ambitious of Scott’s portraits, The Great Ice Cream Robbery (1971) is a side-by-side double projection featuring Claes Oldenburg as he prepares for his retrospective at the Tate Gallery in London.
Scott continued to make films for several decades, like the landmark union activist documentary Nightcleaners (1972, as part of the Berwick Street Film Collective), but he achieved something of particular significance with the works featured in tonight’s program. Here, Pop is re-presented through a new visual language, and illuminated as a style, a strategy, and—perhaps most crucially—a process. - JP
Followed by a conversation with Scott and Hal Foster.
Tickets - $7, available at door.
Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.