December 5, 7pm
Artists Space Books & Talks

Introduction by Robert Buck, Former member of DIVA TV

Target City Hall, 1989
DIVA TV Collective, 27min

Corita on Teaching and Celebration: We Have No Art, 1967
Baylis Glascock, 26min

Corita on Teaching and Celebration: Mary’s Day, 1964
Baylis Glascock, 12min

DIVA TV (Damned Interfering Video Activist Television) came into existence expressly to document the 1989 ACT UP demonstration against New York Mayor Ed Koch’s lack of response to AIDS. Following this action, DIVA TV continued as an affinity group within the larger coalition. Target City Hall is an energetic and emotional record of preparing for the demonstration, of the demo itself, and of its aftermath. The footage is paired with Baylis Glascock’s artful films conveying the gentle charisma of Sister Corita and the environment of her 1960s classroom. Corita’s teaching philosophy permeates the film as we witness her assigning experiments and collages, instructing students to question their own working structures, and celebrating visuals of the everyday. Glascock’s filmic methods seem to mirror Corita’s educational tenets, folded into a sensitive cinematography.

This program is preceded by Cinema Elaine, by Jason Simon and Danh Vo, 2012, from a group of short videos made on the occasion of Tell It To My Heart.

Back to top

December 12, 7pm
Artists Space Books & Talks

On Art and Artists Series. Julie Ault: What Follows…, 1991
University of Colorado, 29min

On Art and Artists Series. Andres Serrano: What Follows…, 1991
University of Colorado, 31min

In January of 1991, Julie Ault and Andres Serrano visited the University of Colorado at Boulder at the invitation of Lucy Lippard, who taught there intermittently for many years. The visit was on the occasion of the first solo exhibit of Serrano’s KKK Portraits at the Colorado University Gallery. Group Material had by then completed some of their most influential exhibitions, including The Castle (Documenta 8, 1987), Democracy (Dia Art Foundation, 1988-1989), and AIDS Timeline (Berkeley Art Museum, 1989). Ault and Serrano were at the end of their marriage, and Group Material was in a crisis about if and how to move forward. Serrano was not a member of GM, but his work appeared in several of their projects, and the visibility of his images in the American Culture Wars was in dialogue with GM projects that challenged and provoked debates on art in the public sphere. Accordingly, this pair of videos is a time capsule, or perhaps a freeze-frame, of their diverging subjects.

This program is preceded by Cinema Elaine.

Back to top

December 19, 7pm
Artists Space Books & Talks

Introduction by Tim Rollins & Rick Savinon

Kids of Survival: The Art and Life of Tim Rollins & K.O.S., 1996
Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller, 87min

Filmed in the South Bronx studio workshop of Tim Rollins & K.O.S. over the course of three years, Kids of Survival portrays the workings of this combined classroom and art studio during the production of some of their most celebrated suites of paintings and sculptures. In 1981, Rollins opened the workshop to the students of Intermediate School 52, many of whom had few creative opportunities in their severely disenfranchised neighborhood. By the mid-1980s - out of a network of
roughly seventy participating students to date - a core
group populated this film, including Victor Llanos,
Carlos Rivera, Angel Abreu, and Rick Savinon, all long-
standing members of K.O.S. Rollins’ work with K.O.S.
began while he was getting a Masters in Education at
New York University, and just two years after he co-founded
Group Material. It is Rollins’s dual effectiveness in teaching
and art-making, and his fusing them into a singular process,
that makes his project such a breathtaking story.

This program is preceded by Cinema Elaine.

Back to top

January 9, 7pm
Artists Space Books & Talks

Introduction by Moyra Davey

Everness, 2008
Alejandro Cesarco, 12min

Fifty Minutes, 2011
Moyra Davey, 50min

Fifty Minutes and Everness are both films in which on-screen voices consider the possibility of a “word that has the power to change one’s life,” to quote one of Cesarco’s protagonists. In Everness, a couple is suspended between spoken thoughts on literary genre from a discourse on tragedy to inhabited allusions to James Joyce’s The Dead. A cinematic depiction of their domestic lives unfolds onscreen, with tenderness and sadness, a silent breakfast, and two well-played vinyl records. Moyra Davey’s Fifty Minutes is an auto-portrait no less invested in the impact of reading on art making. In Davey’s case, the video documents her own circumstances, living, reading, photographing and writing, in the wake of a five-year psychoanalysis and the events of September 11. Digressions, monologues and musings on literature and war, from Natalia Ginzburg to Vivian Gornick, Baudrillard and Freud, flesh out the telling of the central story. For both Davey and Cesarco, to be a reader is to be a maker, texts are mirrors, and these works are lights between the page and the reflection.

This program is preceded by Cinema Elaine.

This project is made possible in part with public funds from NYSCA’s' Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes (www.NYSCA.org www.eARTS.org).

Back to top

Click here to read

January 16, 7pm
Artists Space Books & Talks

Introduction by Kate Horsfield

On Art and Artists Series. Lucy Lippard 1979: An Interview, 1979
Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield, 63min 36sec

Nancy Spero: An Interview, 1982
Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield, 35min

On Art and Artists Series. Lucy Lippard: What Follows…, 1987
University of Colorado, 18min 25sec

Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield, in their founding Video Data Bank series, interviewed writer, critic, feminist, and art historian Lucy Lippard soon after the publication of her essential book on conceptual art, Six Years: the dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972. The book remains a touchstone of extraordinary scope, while these videos, keeping with the medium’s purpose-driven roots, concentrate on Lippard’s politics. Blumenthal and Horsfield were art students themselves when they founded VDB with this interview series, and were fierce fans in their deployment of voices to create a validating discourse of women practitioners. Blumenthal and Horsfield’s 1982 interview with Nancy Spero begins with her decision to allow political events to determine what she chose to paint, and why. Spero, along with her partner Leon Golub, whose work appears in the exhibition, had a unique place in the factionalized 1980s New York art world, sustaining vibrantly engaged practices in a scene riven with competing agendas and freighted with political, philosophical, and market stakes.

This program is preceded by Cinema Elaine.

Back to top

Screenings Calendar

Scroll down or click dates for individual listings

December 5

December 12

December 19

January 9

January 16

January 23

January 30

February 6

February 13

February 20

January 23, 7:30pm
Anthology Film Archives

“Untitled” (A Portrait), 1991
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, 5min

Memories of Underdevelopment, 1968
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 97min, 35mm

Memories of Underdevelopment was an important film to the artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres. In the context of the Cuban Revolution and the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, the film reveals the complexity of political engagement with a world-changing political situation. Gutiérrez Alea’s film asks questions about how one is to be revolutionary, and the complications of extricating such a practice from everyday life. The rarely-seen video “Untitled” (A Portrait) by Gonzalez-Torres presents the titular portrait without specifying the identity of its subject, confounding the notion of a personal episode and the boundaries of private and public. This convergence of disparate events also summons to mind the text portraits he began making in 1989, beginning with his own self-portrait, and thereafter composed collaboratively by the artist and the portrait’s “sitter,” conflating signs of personal and social histories. “Untitled” (A Portrait) can be viewed in two different forms. Most often it is screened in an installation for which the video is played continuously on a small monitor placed atop a pedestal. Located in front of the monitor are two Arne Jacobsen chairs, side-by side, suggesting the shared living experiences that typify romantic unions. With permission from the owner of the work, the video can also be screened as a one-time event, specified for “education purpose.”

Back to top

February 6, 7:30pm
Anthology Film Archives

Introduction by Charlie Ahearn
Followed by a conversation with Yasmin Ramirez

Charlie Ahearn: Artist Portrait Videos (Martin Wong), 2007
Charlie Ahearn, 18min, digital video

Short Eyes, 1977
Robert M. Young, 100min, 35mm

After completing Wild Style, his groundbreaking and celebrated 1982 feature on hip-hop, Charlie Ahearn began producing short video portraits of artists living in New York. The resulting series are intimate studies of friends, among them Martin Wong, as one of the only documents of an artist who is now being rediscovered. Wong describes his friendship with poet and playwright Miguel Piñero, whose 1974 prison play Short Eyes was filmed in 1977 by Robert Young. The film is a brutal drama detailing the arrest of a white, middle-class pedophile and the subsequent disruption of the social order of The Tombs, New York’s notorious city jail. Young sustains Piñero’s original staging with performances by Freddy Fender and Curtis Mayfield, while Piñero himself plays a hustling inmate intent on exploiting the block’s few vulnerabilities, as predators become prey.

The screening will be followed by a conversation between Charlie Ahearn and curator Yasmin Ramirez, centering on a series of paintings by Martin Wong that responded to Robert M. Young's Short Eyes, 1977. Yasmin Ramirez, Ph.D., is an independent curator and scholar. A participant in the early 80s art scene, Ramirez was a regular contributor to the East Village Eye and a friend of the artist Martin Wong. Her publications on Wong's works include: “Martin Wong: Chino Malo,” in Fresh Talk/Daring Gazes, Conversations on Asian American Art, University of California Press, 2003; and “La Vida: The Life and Writings of Miguel Piñero in the Art of Martin Wong,” in Sweet Oblivion: The Art of Martin Wong, New Museum and Rizzoli Books, 1998.

This project is made possible in part with public funds from NYSCA’s' Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes (www.NYSCA.org www.eARTS.org).

Back to top

February 13, 7:30pm
Anthology Film Archives

House: After Five Years of Living, 1955
Office of Charles and Ray Eames, 11min

Supersurface: An Alternative Model For Life On The Earth, 1972
Superstudio, 26min

The World of Liberace, 1972
Tony Palmer, 55min

The films by Charles and Ray Eames and Superstudio were paired in 2000 in the first collaborative exhibition by Julie Ault and Martin Beck titled Outdoor Systems, indoor distribution at NGBK in Berlin. The Eames’s film is a self-study of their own living space, animated by the California light and the completeness of the modernist vision brought to scale there, while Supersurface is a famously proscriptive proposal for living in the absence of architecture. Adding to an examination of the morphing of culture in public space, The World of Liberace is a 1972 public-television portrait of the Las Vegas entertainer and actor, who here conducts a tour of his homes and most prized possessions, intercut with highlights of his shows. An immersion in the sheer passion of an artist-collector, Liberace’s excesses are surprisingly sentimental and directed.

Back to top

February 20, 7:30pm
Anthology Film Archives

Two Cabins, 2009
James Benning, 30min, digital HD

Nightfall, 2011
James Benning, 97min, digital HD

In the summer and fall of 2007, the filmmaker James Benning built a copy of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden cabin on private land that he owns in the Sierra Nevada just north of Bakersfield, California. The following spring, nearby the Thoreau structure, Benning replicated the small, one-room cabin built by Theodore Kaczynski near Lincoln, Montana, where Kaczynski launched his bombing campaign that targeted individuals who stood for technological progress. Two Cabins pairs views out of the cabins’ windows with field recordings taken at sites of the original constructions. This work is presented with Nightfall, a 97-minute continuous shot of metamorphosing light in tranquil wooded terrain. Pure, radical, and with minimal means, Benning gives us an information-rich image of a wilderness that eludes everyday life for the majority, and an acute experience of something equally elusive - time.

Back to top

Introduction

Jason Simon

Many of the artists in the exhibition Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault make films and videos, in addition to their works seen at Artists Space. Others included in the show are themselves the subjects of films, allowing their works to be experienced with the benefit of these expanded records of their process and context. And still additional moving-image works on the social forces affecting artistic production are included in the following program, allowing an audience to bridge individual works at Artists Space to a shared consciousness captured by the filmmakers. In this way a program has emerged as an alternate version of the exhibition, itself drawn from Ault’s long engagement with creative practices.

The first pairing selected for the program was the short video portrait, Martin Wong (1998) by Charlie Ahearn, and the Robert Young independent feature Short Eyes (1977), from the 1974 prison play by Miguel Piñero. For the screening at Anthology Film Archives, Young has graciously loaned his own 35mm print of Short Eyes, which was shot in The Tombs with a mixed cast of actors, amateurs, ex-cons and includes extraordinary musical appearances by Freddy Fender and Curtis Mayfield. The film links directly to Martin Wong’s

painting in the exhibition at Artists Space Come Over Here Rockface (1994), and Wong’s relationship with poet and playwright Piñero, and his tales of prison life. While Piñero was a central figure of off-off Broadway theater in New York, Ahearn is well known for his film and video documentaries of the New York art and music scene – beginning with his groundbreaking feature on early hip-hop, Wild Style (1982) – that tell the story of DJs and dancers from the South Bronx entering a bohemia in the midst of its own transformation from the Lower East Side to the East Village. That this history of downtown media, art, film and theater can feel so viscerally bound to the Wong painting, which has been hanging in Ault’s apartment for as long as I have known her, sets a serendipitous standard for the program over all.

As a whole, the videos to be screened are grouped by subject, history, and affinities more personal than the content itself may suggest. Five are from the On Art and Artists series, begun in 1974 by Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield as the earliest efforts of the Video Data Bank, now a foremost distributor of artists’ videos. These include works on Nancy Spero, Andres Serrano, Ault herself (speaking about Group Material), and two with Lucy Lippard from 1974 and 1987. As students at the Art Institute of Chicago, Blumenthal and

Kate Horsfield and Lyn Blumenthal
Image: Video Data Bank, www.vdb.org

Horsfield set out to interview women artists operating in the gallery and museum worlds as a feminist counterpoint to art world patriarchy, as well as to accumulate valuable information for their own practices in painting and sculpture. In later years, the University of Colorado at Boulder continued the series under their own visiting-artist program, and subsequent producers have added more titles since. Intended as spare records of artists’ commentaries on their own practices, the now enormous scope of the Databank’s On Art and Artists series is a collective counter narrative for artists to live by.

Past project’s of Ault’s echo in the program here. House: After Five Years of Living (1955), by Charles and Ray Eames, and Supersurface: An Alternative Model For Life On The Earth (1973), by the Italian architecture collective Superstudio, were previously paired in 2000 in Outdoor Systems, indoor distribution, the first collaborative exhibition by Ault and Martin Beck, and a precursor of Macho Man,Tell It To My Heart in its inquiry into culture as proximities described over time. The Eames’s film is a self-study of their own living space, animated by the California light and the completeness of the modernist vision brought to scale there, while Supersurface is a famously proscriptive proposal for living in the absence of architectural boundaries. To this intersection with Ault and Beck’s Outdoor Systems, and its examination of the morphing of culture in public space, Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart adds The World of Liberace, a 1972 public-television portrait of the Las Vegas entertainer and actor, who here conducts a tour of his Las Vegas and Palm Springs homes. The excesses of Liberace are a surprisingly astute design for a Vegas glamour unique to him alone. This visual catalog of his most prized possessions is intercut with highlights of his shows: playfully virtuosic piano renditions, dance routines that are more drag than grace, and hilarious exchanges with his audience about just how rich he is (“You want to see my jewelry? Why not – you bought it!”) are delightful spectacle and an immersion in the sheer passion of an artist-collector.

Three examples of the art-on-film genre appear as exceptional portraits of makers in the exhibition: Kids of Survival: The Art and Life of Tim Rollins + K.O.S. (1996), by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller; Corita on Teaching and Celebration: We Have No Art (1967); and Mary’s Day (1964). The latter two films are by Baylis Glascock, and focus on the art, teaching, and public happenings of Sister Corita. As much portraits of their time as they are of their subjects, these films span the Ault collection’s engagement with art’s claim upon a political voice. Kids of Survival and the Glascock films are centered on radical pedagogies invented by artists Corita (in the 1960s) and Tim Rollins (in the 1980s and ’90s) as the passionate centers of their life-long work with students a generation apart.

The contemporary artists, including myself, whose films and videos accompany their works in the galleries at Artists Space, are a small sampling of Ault’s recent engagements. James Benning, Sadie Benning, Alejandro Cesarco, and Moyra Davey are polymaths that have been subjects of Ault’s writing,

Still from Everness, Alejandro Cesarco, 2008

Still from Fifty Minutes, Moyra Davey, 2006

teaching, and curatorial work, while each has also extended video’s role in the consideration of current artistic practices to an extraordinary degree. Davey and Cesarco have placed their readings of literary history at the center of their artistic lives, while father and daughter Benning are each, separately, central to any consideration of moving-image practice for their respective generations. Many of the artists in Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart would have fit well in the program for their concurrent video activity. But Davey, Cesarco and James and Sadie Benning are also central to Ault’s critical project of situating authors in the process of redefining their forms.

Two films are direct records of social history that stand here for the political impetus of much of the work in the Artists Space exhibition. Memories of Underdevelopment (1968) by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea (which will screen with “Untitled” (A Portrait) (1991), the single, rarely seen video by Felix Gonzalez-Torres) and DIVA TV’s Target City Hall (1989), which screens with the Glascock films on Corita). They share in-the-moment engagements with world-changing events: the mass exodus of Cubans following the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s, and its effect upon a lone character who remains behind; and a key action by the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in its most effective and ultimately life-saving activist mode.

Film and video programming at Artists Space is greatly enhanced with the addition of the basement at 55 Walker Street. New audiences may not recognize the affinity to previous incarnations of the institution, but then, as now, a medium driven space positively inflects a generation’s engagement with critical content and alternative forms. Operating there on their own terms also permits a playful and productive relation to such events, and such was the thinking behind the pre-screening shorts grouped under the title Cinema Elaine. Made expressly to precede selected evenings during Tell It To My Heart by myself with Danh Vo, the films record brief encounters with a spirited psychic or a clairvoyant in Maine, the voice of Elaine Ault, suggesting a cinema of foresight and generosity, like all of the relations inscribed between the works in the show.

Back to top

Artists Space Books & Talks
55 Walker Street
New York
NY 10013

Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue
New York
NY 10003

Screenings are held across both venues
Please check individual dates for location

an introduction by Jason Simon

Film and Video Program

Macho Man, Tell It
To My Heart:
Collected by Julie Ault

December 5, 2013 – February 20, 2014

Curated by Jason Simon, with Julie Ault

Image: detail from
“Untitled” (A Portrait), 1991
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, 5min

January 30, 7pm
Artists Space Books & Talks

Introduction by Jason Simon
Jason Simon in Conversation with Richard Birkett

Vera, 2003
Jason Simon, 25 min

In Parts, 2012
Sadie Benning, 28 min

The protagonist of Jason Simon's documentary Vera is an attractive and vibrant young woman grappling with the transition between a history of daunting debt – due to her habit of pathologically collecting high-end clothes and accessories – and her new, restrained behavior that reflects her desire to control spending and get control of her life. In Simon's treatment, Vera's obsessive-compulsive excess takes verbal form, essentially allowing her to speak for herself; Simon simply facilitates her self-portraiture. Vera is paired with Sadie Benning's In Parts, which explores American landscapes through the recent acquisition of a vintage black and white tube-video camera, dating to the earliest days of portable video equipment. It begins with a single-shot study of a leopard pacing in its cage: an extended take on the need to move. What follows is a journey through the Joshua Tree environs of Julie Ault and Martin Beck, where some of the collection in Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart resides, before a return East.

This program is preceded by Cinema Elaine.

This project is made possible in part with public funds from NYSCA’s' Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes (www.NYSCA.org www.eARTS.org).

Back to top

This project is made possible in part with public funds from NYSCA’s' Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes (www.NYSCA.org www.eARTS.org).