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Go Read: Underground Film, Into The Light

By Mike Everleth ⋅ September 8, 2007

While searching for something completely different this morning, I stumbled across an article from a defunct website called Synoptique, which I guess ran from 2004-2005. Too bad it’s not around anymore, looks like they had a lot of interesting content.

Underground Film, Into the Light: Two Sides of the Projected Image in American Art, 1945-1975” by Brett Kashmere is a nice little overview of the American avant garde film movement, mostly about the merging of filmmaking and traditional art. There’s some coverage of Maya Deren, Jonas Mekas (always nice) and Michael Snow, but Kashmere spends a lot of time discussing Stan Brakhage‘s connection to Abstract Expressionism, sculptor Bruce Conner‘s move into filmmaking and the film archiving departments of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney. The title of the article is derived from the Whitney’s 2001-2002 show Into the Light: The Projected Image in American Art 1964-1977.

Here’s an excerpt from Kashmere’s conclusion:

Into the Light investigates this flip side of avant-garde film’s purest approach. Only after cinema gained artistic status did painters, sculptors and other artists working in traditional mediums begin to produce time-based audiovisual works on a wide scale. While some artists like Michael Snow, Paul Sharits and Hollis Frampton took up a structural film practice, making films to be screened in theatres, others began to present projected images within a nexus of performance, Happenings and installation art. As a result of this multidisciplinary approach, the projected imaged has transformed the way we look at contemporary art. This has also altered the economic structure of artistic production, exhibition and art collecting.

Go read the whole thing. It’s good.