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Visual Arts Curated Video/DVD Collection


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Art on Film/Film on Art - Currently Unavailable

A video anthology designed to stimulate debate and to illuminate the challenges of presenting art and art history in moving-image media. Includes five cassettes, incorporating fifteen productions of the Program for Art on Film and introductory material that sets the productions in context. The introductions consist of conversations among groups of art historians and filmmakers who debate critical questions about making films on art, and statements by the filmmakers and art experts who collaborated on the films. (Read about the individual Programs following Curator's Comments.)

Curator's Comments: The wrap-around introductory material provides a didactic gloss on this disparate collection of short films. The films themselves are presented in their entirety, three on each cassette, and can be programmed separately. Covering a wide range of subject matter and stylistic approach, these shorts appeal to audiences interested in the art of cinema as well as the subject matter of art or cultural history. They lend themselves to multiple viewings, and can be programmed in a variety of contexts

Program 1: BALANCE: FILM/ART presents a discussion centering on the issue of collaboration between art experts and filmmakers and the tension between respect for the art treated and the need to see the film itself as a work of art. Includes: THE FAYUM PORTRAITS (15 minutes): Filmmakers Andrea Simon and Bob Rosen, with art historian Richard Brilliant, present over fifty mummy portraits painted in the Fayum region of Egypt between A.D. 100 and 300 during Roman rule, with an original soundtrack by Meredith Monk. 1867 (14 minutes): French painter Edouard Manet (1832-1883) painted a series of four canvases depicting the execution of the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico in 1867. In this dramatic short, film director Ken McMullen recreates the artist's studio and the events of Maximilian's death, using a single uninterrupted shot to trace the artistic process through the eyes of the painter. Art expert: Michael Wilson. MA--SPACE/TIME IN THE GARDEN OF RYOAN-JI (15 minutes): The early sixteenth-century Japanese garden in the Zen temple of Ryoan-ji, in Kyoto, is considered a masterpiece of the karesansui or "dry landscape" style. This film, a collaboration between architect Arata Isozaki and avant-garde filmmaker Taka Iimura, invites the viewer to experience the garden as an embodiment of ma, a Japanese concept that conveys both time and space.

Program 2: FILM SENSE/ART SENSE offers a discussion of the issue of "sense" or meaning in a work of art. Includes: GIORGIONE'S TEMPEST (11 minutes): Explores various interpretations of the meaning of The Tempest, the early sixteenth-century masterpiece of the Italian painter Giorgione (1477/78-1510) which hangs in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice. Director: William Cran; art expert: Cecil Gould. TREVI (17 minutes): A witty exploration of the relationships between the original meaning and received meanings over time of this famous eighteenth-century Roman fountain. A film by Richard P. Rogers and Corey Shaff, with art expert John A. Pinto. A WINDOW TO HEAVEN (20 minutes): Investigates the interplay between words and images written and painted in the twelfth century. Saint Neophytos (1134-1215) was a Byzantine monk who established a community of followers in caves near Paphos on the island of Cyprus; he also commissioned artists to paint the cave walls with scenes depicting the lives of the saints and of Christ. Director: Adrian Maben; art expert: Robin Cormack
Program 3: FILM FORM/ART FORM examines the relationship of a film's structure to the work of art. Includes: LEONARDO'S DELUGE (14 minutes): Filmmaker Mark Whitney, in collaboration with noted Leonardo scholar Carlo Pedretti, uses computer animation techniques and scenes of natural landscapes around the Arno River to underscore the symbolic significance of eleven small drawings of a deluge, by Italian artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), now in the collection of The Royal Library of Windsor Castle. Selections from Leonardo's notebooks comprise the narration, spoken by Anjelica Huston. A MOSQUE IN TIME (8 minutes): Originally built by Abd ar-Rahman I in the eighth century, the Great Mosque of Cordoba in Spain was consecrated a Christian church in 1236. Video artist Edin Velez, in collaboration with art historian Jerrilynn Dodds, uses a complex layering of images and split screens to deconstruct the architectural space and the forms of Islamic and Christian ornament that intertwine two cultures alienated in time but bound together in this extraordinary space. SAINTE-GENEVIEVE: THE PANTHEON OF DOMES (16 minutes): Architectural historians Barry Bergdoll and Jean-Pierre Mouilleseaux explore the church of Sainte Genevieve in Paris, and consider its history and architectureAlso known as the Pantheon, the building was designed in the 1770s by French architect Jacques Soufflot (1713-1780) and is noted for its superimposed domes. Director: Nadine Descendre.

Program 4: FILM VOICE/ART VOICE discusses how the "voice" of a film is defined and determined. Includes: DE ARTIFICIALI PERSPECTIVA OR ANAMORPHOSIS (15 minutes): The Brothers Quay, noted animators, elucidate the illusional art of anamorphosis, a method of visual distortion whereby an image is presented in confused and distorted form. When looked at from a different angle or in a curved mirror, the distorted image appears in normal proportions. Using a puppet as master of ceremonies, the animators demonstrate the basic effects of anamorphosis and reveal the hidden meanings that lurk within. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the practice of creating anamorphic images was an outgrowth of artists' experiments with rendering perspective. Art expert: Roger Cardinal. ARCHITECTURE OF TRANSCENDENCE (9 minutes): A wordless celebration of a gothic cathedral: St. Peter's of Beauvais in France. The camera is constantly in motion, shaping perception through movement as it explores the soaring space of the interior and the imagery of the stained-glass windows. Director: Richard Greenberg; art expert: Stephen Murray. PAINTED EARTH: ART OF THE MIMBRES INDIANS (15 minutes): Filmmaker Anita Thacher and art historian J.J. Brody dive into the painted pottery bowls of the Mimbres, a Native American people who lived in the isolated mountain valleys and hot deserts of southwestern New Mexico until their culture died out in the twelfth century.

Program 5: FILM/ART: SUBJECT AND EXPERT explores the issue of the on-screen narrator, the classic approach, and new possibilities.Includes: GOMBRICH THEMES: PART 1--ILLUMINATION (26 minutes) and PART 2--REFLECTION (20 minutes): Noted British art historian Sir Ernst Gombrich (b.1909) discusses the natural phenomenon of light and its representation in a wide range of Western European art. Director: Judy Marle. A DAY ON THE GRAND CANAL WITH THE EMPEROR OF CHINA (46 minutes): British artist David Hockney shares his insights, enthusiasm, and gentle humor as he guides viewers along a Chinese scroll painting entitled The Kangxi Emperor's Southern Inspection Tour (1691-1698), scroll seven. Director: Philip Haas.

DATE: 1992

COUNTRY: United States

Producing Agency: Program for Art on Film, a joint venture of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Trust
Director/Producer: Michael Camerini (introductory segments)
Executive Producer: Joan Shigekawa
Program Executives: Wendy Stein ; Karl Katz
Panelists: Keith Christiansen ; Jerrilynn Dodds ; Linda Downs ; Brian O'Doherty ; Andrea Simon ; Barry Bergdoll ; Leila Kinney ; Richard Rogers ; Susan Vogel

Complete version 321 minutes - Color
(5 separate videos also available, 60-100 minutes ea.)

Art History

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Copyright 1996, 2001, Library Media Project, Chicago, IL