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We often forget that many cutting-edge modern artists found funding and support by making ads. The work of New Zealand avant-garde filmmaker Len Lye is a case in point.
His films, like “Rainbow Dance” (1936) or the beautifully abstract “Colour Flight” (1938), were commissioned as advertisements to be shown at the cinema. The former was created for Post Office Savings Bank and the latter for Imperial Airlines.
How these were intended to work as ads is not exactly clear to the contemporary viewer but the fact that brands stopped commissioning works like this may explain that they were not necessarily successful in the eyes of the sponsor. It’s interesting to not that while no one may know what the Post Office Savings Bank or Imperial Airlines are nowadays, Lye’s bizarre and thrilling short films remain alive in the art world. Lye also made ads in the 1930s for the British General Post Office (GPO), the Imperial Tobacco Company and Shell Motor Oil.
Here is Brett Kashmere’s take:
Akin to Oskar Fischinger’s fine art advertising films, Lye’s cinematic “figures of motion” sublimated their commercial purpose by emphasising geometric and all-over abstraction and direct authorial inscription. As Tess Takahashi notes, filmmakers like Lye, McLaren and Harry Smith saw direct animation as “a way for the artist to imbue film with the imprint of the filmmaker’s essential self… [This] self, represented for Lye by the then-new discovery of DNA, was transmitted in the process of direct animation.”
Coincidentally, “Colour Flight” (1938) was on display in MoMA’s recent Abstract Expressionist show, where the curator mentioned to me that Lye’s films were screened at The Club, the infamous “boys’ club” of the Abstract Expressionist.
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
What is the relation between possessing a person, possessing their image, and dispossessing their progeny
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.
We cannot be indifferent to the long-lasting effects of photography. The photographs at the center of Lanier v. Harvard are relentless in making Renty and Delia Taylor work and perform as slaves. The pain inflicted on them has not ceased. Photography has the capacity to propagate harm, and we have the moral obligation to interrupt…