Art on Screen

Our Art on Screen series includes several documentary works focusing on important American and international art and artists of the 20th century. Opening the fall film program is the new and much-lauded portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat; plus a fascinating look at the process and politics of artist Leon Golub (which complements our fall exhibit, Leon Golub: Live & Die Like a Lion?); and a compelling new film about one of the world’s most significant if little known art collections, a treasure trove of Eastern European art in a remote part of Uzbekistan.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Friday, September 24, 2010 7:00 PM
(Tamra Davis, 2010, US, video, 93 min.)

An intimate, previously unreleased 1985 interview with graffitist-turned-painter Jean-Michel Basquiat provides the primer for this portrait of one of contemporary art’s most revered talents. Recollections from the artist’s friends, patrons, and admirers add shade and texture to Basquiat’s own reflections on the unwavering ambition, intense work ethic, and flair for self-promotion that briefly made him the brightest star among Manhattan’s cultural elite. Where other biographers might choose to dwell on Basquiat’s self-destructive tendencies, director Davis instead celebrates those moments when his passion and creativity burned brightest.

Golub: Late Works are the Catastrophes

Thursday, September 30, 2010 7:00 PM
(Jerry Blumenthal, Gordon Quinn, 2004, US, video, 80 min.)

Filmed between the Iran-Contra scandal and the early stages of the Iraq War, Late Works are the Catastrophes marks the completion of a decades-long endeavor to chronicle the life and works of artist/activist Leon Golub (1922–2004). Known for his violent, politically charged subject matter and unconventional techniques (including scraping layers of paint from the canvas with a meat cleaver), Golub immortalized not only images of cruelty and oppression that would otherwise pass fleetingly through the news cycle, but those darker aspects of the human condition that we as a civilization cannot transcend without first confronting head-on. In person: Gordon Quinn.

The Desert of Forbidden Art

Friday, December 3, 2010 1:00 AM
(Amanda Pope, Tchavdar Georgiev, 2010, US/Russia/Uzbekistan, video, 80 min.)

After flourishing briefly during the 1920s, modern and avant-garde artists found their visions unwelcome in the Soviet Union, which embraced the aesthetics and propagandistic themes of socialist realism to the exclusion of all else. In defiance of the regime’s rigid censorship policies, archaeologist, painter, and art lover, Igor Savitsky opened the Nukus Museum in a remote part of Uzbekistan. Officially a showcase for regional folk art, the Nukus also became a secret haven for purged and endangered modernist works. The museum now boasts the second largest collection of Russian avant-garde art in the world.