Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at 7pm
The Film Sense and the Painting Sense

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

Curated by Ann Reynolds

A Study in Choreography for Camera, Maya Deren, 1946, 16mm, 4 mins
The Titan: Story of Michelangelo, Curt Oertel by way of Robert Flaherty, 1950, 16mm, 67 mins
Magoo Goes Skiing, UPA, 1954, digital projection, 6 mins

On the Edge, Curtis Harrington, 1949, 16mm, 6 mins
Desistfilm, Stan Brakhage, 1954, 16mm, 7 mins
The Blood of a Poet, Jean Cocteau, 1930, 16mm, 55 mins

The critic Parker Tyler (1904-1974) already possessed a reputation for writing about art, film, and, with some regularity, the relationships between them by the time his essay “The Film Sense and the Painting Sense" appeared in Art Digest in 1954, followed by an expanded version a year later in Perspectives USA. On the face of it, this essay is about the relationship between film and painting, a subject that many others had already marshaled to assert the aesthetic potential of film and to defend film’s status as art. This too is, ostensibly, one of Tyler’s goals, but his true subject is, in fact, what initially appears to be just an expedient device for linking the two art forms together: animation and its correlative de-animation. In "The Film Sense and the Painting Sense," Tyler calls particular attention to how certain filmmakers exploit the formal limits of the camera image’s flat rectangular surface and framing edge in a manner similar to painting to produce images of the moving body that articulate a new space of creative imagination and new ways of seeing, feeling, and being in the world at large.

At the time he was writing this essay, Tyler perceived a pressing need for such new ways of being, and he identified a group of younger filmmakers who seemed poised to address that need: "A great problem of our time is the world which group and individual find to live in and their capacity to change this world according to needs and desires or passively to be changed by it. Imaginative workers in the experimental-film field have contributed insights into this human problem by ingenious exploitation of the film’s aesthetic possibilities.” Tyler’s chosen precedents for this world-making through animation range across an eclectic group of films, including an Oscar-winning documentary on Michelangelo, Maya Deren’s A Study in Choreography for Camera, early animated films by Max Fleischer, an episode of the cartoon Mr. Magoo, and Jean Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet. The younger filmmakers he highlights and would continue to champion throughout his career include Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, Curtis Harrington, and Gregory Markopoulos. By watching a selection of the works Tyler uses to build his utopian argument, one can appreciate what a profoundly visual and visionary writer he was.

- AR

Ann Reynolds is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. In her research and teaching, she focuses on twentieth and twenty-first century art and visual culture in the United States and Europe. Her recent publications include essays on Joan Jonas for the 2015 Venice Biennale; the experience of remoteness in relation to land art (Centre Georges Pompidou Spring 2015); Bob Fleischner, Jack Smith, and Ken Jacobs’s film Blonde Cobra (Criticism, Spring 2014); Charles Simonds’s Urban Dwellings (Dumbarton Oaks, 2011); Zoe Leonard’s Dia Beacon installation So you see I am here after all (Dia Art Foundation and Yale University Press, 2010); a co-edited anthology, Political Emotions (Routledge Press, 2010); and an essay on feminist exhibitions and publics circa 1970 for Witness to her Art (Bard Center for Curatorial Studies and D.A.P. Press, 2006). She is the author of Robert Smithson: Learning From New Jersey and Elsewhere (MIT Press, 2003), which has been translated into French as Du New Jersey au Yucatán, leçons d’ailleurs (SIC Editions, 2014). Currently Reynolds is working on a new book entitled In Our Time; through this study she will address the cinematic and social circumstances of various intergenerational creative communities in New York during the 1940s through the 1960s. She and her co-curator, Michael Duncan, are also developing an exhibition focused on the magazine View (1940-1947), tentatively scheduled to open at the Harry Ransom Center in 2020. She will be the Allen W. Clowes Fellow at the National Humanities Center, NC this coming academic year.

Tickets - $8, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 6:30pm.