Looking at Jerry Lewis || The Nutty Professor Storyboards

Of all the stars who worked in the golden age of the Hollywood studio system, few valued the acts of looking and being looked at more than Jerry Lewis. Lewis had years of stage experience behind him by the time he emerged as a major screen actor and director, and acknowledging the audience became an essential aspect of the ”comedy of looks” that characterized his work. In no other Lewis film is the experience of being seen so central a theme as it is in The Nutty Professor (1963), in which he treats his audience as a main character. In this adaptation of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story, his masterly dual performance as the self-effacing Professor Kelp and the narcissistic Buddy Love represents different sides of the Lewis persona, while on-screen students and night-club audiences who witness his character’s behaviour represent the critical gaze of the movie-going public.
[source: MoMA] Bill Avery
Jerry Lewis shooting a home movie, 1953


Bill Crespinel
Jerry Lewis mixing music at this home, 1961


John Jensen (American, 1924-2003)
Scenes from the Hangover sequence, 1962
Black and coloured pencil on vellum paper John Jensen (American, 1924-2003)
Scenes from the Stella fantasy sequence, 1962
Black and coloured pencil and pastel on vellum paper John Jensen (American, 1924-2003)
Mina bird cage sketches, 1962
Pencil on paper John Lauris Jensen’s storyboards for The Nutty Professor were on display between October 2018 – March 2019; they were a recent gift to the Museum of Modern Art.

January 5th, 2019

Shit Happens

One hundred thousand. Shit that could have been avoided.

Images from Disappearing Acts, a Bruce Nauman retrospective that was presented in two parts, in MoMa and MoMA PS1.

”Disappearing Acts traces what Nauman has called “withdrawal as an art form”—both literal and figurative incidents of removal, deflection, and concealment. Bodies are fragmented, centers are left empty, voices emanate from hidden speakers, and the artist sculpts himself in absentia, appearing only as negative space. The retrospective charts these forms of omission and loss across media and throughout the decades, following Nauman as he circles back to earlier concerns with new urgency. Presented in two complementary parts, at The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, this is the most comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work ever assembled.” [source: MoMA]

Last photo (not) showing the Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh; I wonder when (or even if) will we ever see crowds like this anymore…

October 19th, 2018

Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done [@MoMA]

”For a brief period in the early 1960s, a group of choreographers, visual artists, composers, and filmmakers gathered in Judson Memorial Church, a socially engaged Protestant congregation in New York’s Greenwich Village, for a series of workshops that ultimately redefined what counted as dance. The performances that evolved from these workshops incorporated everyday movements—gestures drawn from the street or the home; their structures were based on games, simple tasks, and social dances. Spontaneity and unconventional methods of composition were emphasized. The Judson artists investigated the very fundamentals of choreography, stripping dance of its theatrical conventions, and the result, according to Village Voice critic Jill Johnston, was the most exciting new dance in a generation.” – [source: MoMA]

Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done was a walk through the history of Judson Dance Theater with performances, films, photographs, posters and other archival materials. It was also an introduction to the very beginnings of the life and work of artists I have been admiring for some time – and others that were completely new to me.

Instructed by the filmmaker Gene Friedman not to talk or hide their faces, Judith Dunn and Robert Ellis Dunn looked directly at the camera with deadpan expressions until they both broke into laughter. Judith Dunn was a choreographer and member of Merce Cunningham’s company, while Robert Dunn was a teacher and Cunningham’s accompanist.

Gene Friedman
Excerpt from Heads, 1965
16mm film transferred to video


In his workshops, Robert Ellis Dunn presented his students with Cage’s score for ”Fontana Mix” and asked them to use it as inspiration for a performance. The score instructed performers to layer transparencies containing lines and dots over a grid to create a random visual arrangement, with they then interpreted using a variety of movements and actions. This exercise exposed the students to chance operations, a composition technique popularized by Cage that introduced randomness into the art-making process.

John Cage
Fontana Mix, 1958
Ink on paper and transparent sheets


Laughter poem* for James Waring, 2 August 1960, by Ray Johnson


*If you are curious to know how a laughter poem sounds, please click on this page: Atlanta Poets Group to find out. You can also listen to the first one: Laughter poem for Ray Johnson, 30 July 1960, by James Waring
Judson Memorial Church, New York – March 16, 1966
Fred W. McDarrah


Yvone Rainer
”Bach” From Terrain, 1963
Performed at Judson Memorial Church, April 28th, 1963
By Trisha Brown, William Davis, Judith Dunn, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer and Albert Reid

Rainer’s first evening-length work Terrain, was a five-part dance for multiple performers. Some of the sections were choreographed, while others were structured like a game, with rules and strategies that defined each dancer’s behavior but still allowed for spontaneity and improvisation.

Lucinda Childs
Geranium, 1965. Performed at 940 Broadway, January 29th, 1965
Geranium was set to the sounds of a championship football game, complete with sports commentators describing the action on the field, to which Childs added her imitation of sports broadcasting and intervals of music. Using the tape as a score and its sounds as cues, Childs interacted with objects including a wooden pole, a tinfoil scrap, a hammer and a pound of soil. She used a hammock to support her weight as she performed, in slow motion, the movement of a football player who – according to the broadcast – raced toward the ball, stumbled and fell.

Huddle is part of Simone Forti’s Dance Constructions (1960-61), a continually shifting mass of bodies. Seven to nine performers create a solid base and take turns climbing over the group. In doing this, they create a sculptural form Forti has often described as a mountain.

Simone Forti’s Dance Constructions (1960–61) were key forerunners to Judson Dance Theater. Made from inexpensive materials, including plywood and rope, each “construction” prompts actions such as climbing, leaning, standing or whistling. Simultaneously sculptures and performances, the works were first presented at Reuben Gallery and the artist Yoko Ono’s loft, both in New York.

Huddle was performed live in intervals, throughout the exhibition.

September 15th, 2018

To Be Looked At (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour

Thus spoke Marcel, and we obliged (for five minutes).

Looking for ”almost an hour” would have a hallucinatory effect similar to Marc Chagall’s experience, some years earlier.

Marcel Duchamp
To Be Looked At (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour, 1918
Oil, silver leaf, lead wire, magnifying lens on glass (cracked) mounted between panes of glass in a standing metal frame, on painted wood base

”The title of this work, which Duchamp said he ”intended to sound like an oculist’s prescription” tells the viewer exactly how to look at it. But peering through the convex lens embedded in the work’s glass ”for almost an hour” would have a hallucinatory effect, the view being dwarfed, flipped and otherwise distorted. Meanwhile the viewer patiently following the title’s instructions is him-or herself put on display for anyone else walking by. 

Duchamp called this his ”small glass”, to distinguish it from his famous Large Glass of 1915-23. He made the work in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he had fled earlier in 1918 to escape the oppressive atmosphere of the United States during World War I. When he shipped it back to New York, the glass cracked in transit, en effect that delighted him.”

Marc Chagall
I and the Village, 1911
Oil on canvas

@MoMA

August 8th, 2018

Bodys Isek Kingelez || City Dreams @MoMA

I first became aware of the work of Bodys Isek Kingelez, captivated by his intricate, colourful maquettes, at the retrospective that was presented at MoMA during the second half of 2018. There is a joyous, optimistic quality about these toy-like cities that brought a smile to the child in me; but make no mistake – these tiny sculptures, made from modest materials like glue and paper, straws and bottles, soda cans and bottle caps, are no toys. They are a delicate body of artwork, visions of utopian cities, images of a better world. Like, for example, the U.N. (1995), made in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, reflecting the artist’s belief in a world of democracy, peace, and cooperation. Or his Ville Fantôme (1996), a peaceful city in which doctors and police are unecessary.

An extract from the artist’s bio (for more info click on his name):

”Visionary artist Bodys Isek Kingelez created dazzling, intricate architectural sculptures that he called “extreme maquettes.” Born in the agricultural village of Kimbembele Ihunga in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1948, he came of age in a period of enormous political and social transformation. In 1970, he relocated to Kinshasa—the capital of the newly independent nation renamed Zaire—to pursue a university education. After his studies, motivated by a desire to make a civic contribution to his country, Kingelez worked briefly as a secondary school teacher. However, he soon became “obsessed with the idea of getting my hands on some scissors, a Gillette razor, and some glue and paper…” and began to create sculptures that took the form of buildings, constructed from modest materials like paper, cardboard, and repurposed commercial packaging, and embellished with push-pins, straws, elaborate hand-applied designs, and more. It was through these sculptures that he felt he could help shape “a better, more peaceful world.” The technical excellence of Kingelez’s early work led to his hiring as a restorer at the National Museums Institute of Zaire, where he repaired traditional objects in the collection until he devoted himself to art making full-time in the early 1980s.”


“Art is the grandest adventure of them all…art is a high form of knowledge, a vehicle for individual renewal that contributes to a better collective future.” – Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948–2015)

MoMA, New York

July 28th, 2018

Postcards from the past

Life seemed so much simpler then.

Slobodan Milićević || Hotel Croatia, Cavtat, 1971-73
Slobodan Milićević || Hotel Croatia, Cavtat, 1971-73
Andrija Čičin-Šain & Žarko Vincek || Libertas Hotel, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 1968-74
Bogoljub Kurpjel || Hotel Astarea, Mlini, Croatia, 1969-70
Boris Magaš || Haludovo Hotel complex, Malinska, Krk, Croatia, 1969-72
Andrija Čičin-Šain & Žarko Vincek || Libertas Hotel, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 1968-74
Branko Žnidarec || Hotel Adriatic II, Opatija, Croatia, 1970-71
Slobodan Milićević || Hotel Croatia, Cavtat, 1971-73

 

From ”Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980”,  an exhibition that ran between July 2018–January 2019 @MoMA.

July 24th, 2018

Groundbreaking Design

In the form of a humble Kiosk.

”The K67 kiosk system was a highly successful design for modular units that could be used for all kinds of street-level businesses and amenities. The prototype for the system was developed in 1967 by Saša Janez Mächtig, who was experimenting with the new technology of fiberglass-reinforced polyester. He invented a joint that could connect individual units into double- and triple-fronted kiosks and other configurations. The design was mass-produced and in widespread use by 1970, as fast-food stands, key-copy shops, grocery stores, newspaper and lottery kiosks, and many other enterprises.”

Images:

  • The shape-shifting K67 Kiosk, by Saša Janez Mächtig & its many applications.
  • Stills from Living Space/Loving Space (2018)
    Twelve-channel video by Mila Turajlić
  • Telephones (even one with a rotary dial, similar to one we used at home until well into the ’80s), by Davorin Savnik.
    Models are: ATA 21 K2 telephone, c. 1970, ETA 80 telephone, 1979, ETA 85 telephone, 1979

From ”Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980”,  an exhibition that ran between July 2018–January 2019 @MoMA.

July 24th, 2018