Artists Space

Film and Video Program
Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault
February 6

February 6, 2014, 7:30pm

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

A man wearing a denim vest is seen within the cramped, barred space of a prison.
Robert M. Young, still from Short Eyes, 1977. 35mm, 100 min. [A man wearing a denim vest is seen within the cramped, barred space of a prison.]

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 (