CINCINNATI — The trending wardrobe of choice for aspiring female protest artists consists of Day-Glo leotards and matching ski masks. Credit the young punk rock performers known as Pussy Riot, feminist activists who led late 2011 civilian protests in Moscow following Vladimir Putin’s controversial reelection as Russia’s president.
The Many Truths of Nonfiction
Film, like writing, is split categorically between “fiction” and “nonfiction.” This nomenclatural divide most likely stems from a perceived obligation to the audience on the part of nonfiction — the title conveys a promise of vérité. Stories We Tell, the new documentary from Sarah Polley (Away from Her , Take This Waltz ), successfully asserts that there is no objective truth to be found anywhere in “nonfiction.” Polley isn’t the first documentarian to upend audience expectations of reality, but Stories We Tell needs no novelty to succeed; it is a beautiful film.
Making Documentaries More Real
In an email, a friend of mine mentioned a show taking place at the Kitchen next week: The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, created by the filmmaker Sam Green, with live music by indie rockers Yo La Tengo. The subject matter seemed like solid geeky/arty fare, but what stood out to me in the event description was the phrase “live documentary,” in quotes. Given the subject matter and the indie music, the first thing to come to mind when guessing what that might mean were the live, touring shows created in the past couple of years by the public radio programs RadioLab and This American Life. Then again, it was being presented at the Kitchen, a venue that has a history of presenting fairly aggressive work spanning visual, performance, and literary arts.
I Think My Life Depends on Me Being An Artist: The Oscar-Nominated Short Documentary Inocente
“When I paint, I feel happy, so it’s a good way to start my mornings, to just paint on something, and what better place than my face?” says Inocente Izucar in the Oscar-nominated documentary short Inocente, which follows the life of the 15-year-old artist. Each day she coils curls of vibrant colors with delicate accents around her eyes, and her paintings are equally vibrant with their richly colored abstract forms and playful creatures. Yet Inocente’s life is anything but, as the undocumented teenager has spent the majority of her life homeless or in shelters with her mom and two younger brothers.
The Art Documentary of the Future
Bruce Sterling might be the most influential art writer you’ve never heard of. The sci-fi novelist and cultural commentator is extremely active in the world of new media and creative coding, writing about artists who work with technology as a medium. A new video interview, part of artist James George and documentarian Jonathan Minard’s CLOUDS documentary, shows Sterling explaining why he’s so passionate about code-based work.
Beauty Before Age
In Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s new documentary About Face: Supermodels Then and Now, we follow the stories of a group of aging models discussing the nature of projecting an image, our society’s preoccupation with youth, and how an industry so consumed with beauty can be so ugly.
WTF Is Up With Marina Abramović: The Movie? A Review
Hyperallergic writers and siblings Brendan and Marisa Carroll recently went to see Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, a documentary about the performance artist’s Museum of Modern Art retrospective. The museum retrospective included photos, videos and re-creations of Abramović’s performances from her 40-year career, but the documentary, directed by Matthew Akers, focuses almost solely on Abramović’s new piece for the exhibition, “Sitting With Marina.” In that work, the artist sat motionless in the same chair for seven hours a day, every day that the show was on, and museumgoers were invited to sit across from her, silently, one at a time. Brendan visited the exhibition back in 2010; Marisa did not. Below are their impressions of the film.
A Taste of Occupy Wall Street Films
Since the raid on Occupy Wall Street’s home in Zuccotti Park, news on the Arts and Culture front of the movement has slowed down a bit. Yet one OWS art topic that has yet to receive much attention are the films created by protesters and affiliated artists that express and document the uprising of the %99. Video and film are possibly the most powerful medium to track developments of the movement, used as both a social media tool and immediate evidence of police brutality as well as an artistic outlet for statements on the myriad of issues surrounding OWS.
Eye on the Lo-Fi: DIY Flicks
Like all things punk, DIY cinema is a bit rough around the edges. But, isn’t that what makes it so much fun? Kicking off in midsummer with the release of Céline Danhier’s Blank City, punk films have been having a bit of a revival — and, while we’re at it — a reinvigoration.
Anselm Kiefer Channels Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard
Sophie Fiennes’ new film, Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow, is a record of German-born artist Anselm Kiefer as he transforms the grounds around his sprawling hilltop-studio in Barjac, a town in southern France. The film is as much about Fiennes adulation of the artist as it is about Kiefer.
Can You Name Three Women Artists?
Out of the 55 artists represented at the 2010 Whitney Biennial, 26 were women. While that’s still less than half, it’s certainly better than the days when only one or two members of the “fairer” sex fought to be included. Lynn Hershman Leeson’s new documentary !Women Art Revolution, now playing at IFC Center, compiles interviews spanning 40 years that document the tumultuous battle women artists fought for proper representation in the world of galleries and museums.
Watch: Ai Weiwei Documentarian Alison Klayman on Colbert Report
Director of Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry Alison Klayman hit the Colbert Report last night to talk about the Chinese artist’s arrest and his current situation. Click through for the video clip.