Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Two art films

I think most photographers have had the experience of spending a lot of time on an image, showing it off proudly to photo-friends they respect, and having them look at it a second, shrug their shoulders, and move on. Philistine! you think. Can't you see how great that is? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but what really counts is the disconnect.

That sinking feeling formed the defining life experience of Albert Barnes, the subject of The Art of the Steal, a great little film I saw last night. Barnes accumulated the greatest post-impressionist collection in the world, was lambasted by art critics, then held the work in private before it was stolen after his death by a cabal of plutocrats. The film isn't specifically about photography, but I'd recommend it to anyone interested in the machinations of the art world, legacies, and political maneuvering. If you like thinking about art, trust me you'll enjoy it.

The other noteworthy film I saw recently was less traditional. At the Maryhurst Art Gym's 30th Anniversary party last week, there was a photobooth run by Fliptography, a company out of Portland. You get filmed for 7 seconds, the footage is translated into 60 photographs, and the photos are printed, cut, and bound with a staple onsite within a few minutes. The result is a pocket-sized flipbook which has the character of an old silent movie in your hands. it's sort of halfway between being a photo and being a movie. I made a short film with Craig Hickman which was quite funny. You can see other examples on their site. Great concept, great execution. If you're in Portland, check them out.


bryanf said...

Art of the Steal is brilliant, highly recommended. It'll make your blood boil though, and not really because of the art necessarily but because of the political scheming.

Joe said...

I really enjoyed Art of the Steal, too. Recently watched Beautiful Losers, a documentary about a group of artists related to the graffiti or skateboarding scenes. Some great interviews.