Maya Deren’s Short Films from the 1940s and ’50s Screen at the Norton Simon Museum

On June 9, the museum will host a screening of six of Maya Deren’s short films that were milestones in the history of avant-garde cinema.

Galka Scheyer and Maya Deren (photograph by Alexander Hammid, © Estate of Alexander Hammid)

German-Jewish art collector and dealer Galka Scheyer was an indefatigable promoter of European modernism in California, predominantly the work of the “Blue Four”: Lyonel Feininger, Alexei Jawlensky, Paul Klee, and Vasily Kandinsky. After moving to the Bay Area in 1925, Scheyer settled in Los Angeles around 1930, surrounding herself with a diverse circle of friends that included experimental filmmaker Maya Deren and architect Richard Neutra, who designed her Hollywood Hills home (pictured above, with Deren).

In conjunction with its exhibition on the influence of Scheyer, the Norton Simon Museum will host a screening of six of Deren’s short films, milestones in the history of avant-garde cinema. Spanning the years 1943–1959, the program begins with “Meshes of the Afternoon,” a 16mm, low-budget, black-and-white fever dream that relocates Buñuel-style European Surrealism to sun-dappled LA. This is bookended with “The Very Eye of the Night” (1959), a split-screen film that pairs an ambient synth soundtrack with solarized footage of dancers. Contrasted with Deren’s earlier work, it proves just how expansive her radical cinematic vision was.

When: Friday, June 9, 6–7:20pm (free with admission)
Where: Norton Simon Museum (411 West Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, California)

More info here.

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