Thursday, September 17, 2009

Menil Movies

It turns out that I’ve been stalking The Menil Collection for so long that they’ve gotten used to me, and even invited me to host a semi-annual screening series of works from The Menil Archives. I have earned my official “media archeologist” badge, and get to work about 20’ below ground in the engine room of the museum – the archives. My underground partners are archivists Geri Aramanda (incidentally, Geri has worked with the Menils since 1968) and Lisa Barkley, who both help me unearth works on audio, video and film. The archive was begun by media studies pioneer, Gerald O’Grady in 1968. The new screening series is called “Menil Movies.”

Image: Ed Keinholz by Robert Bucknam,
© Nancy Reddin Kienholz

Friday, September 25, 2009, 7:30pm
Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross, Houston TX 77006

Menil Movies: Body in Fragments

Films and videos related to the exhibition Body in Fragments. Included is work by or about Ed Kienholz, David McManaway, René Magritte, Georges Méliès, James Rosenquist, and Roy Fridge. Highlights include an outrageous 1962 made-for-television documentary on Ed Kienholz, home movies of René Magritte, and a Georges
Méliès silent film from 1898.

About Menil Movies
"Menil Movies" is a semi-annual educational screening series that highlights rarely seen film and videos from the Menil Archives. The series was created to introduce audiences to the range and abundance of the museum’s moving image holdings, including filmic art, documentaries, informational videos, avant-garde film, animation, Soviet cinema, Surrealist and DADA films, and documentary footage of artists and curators affiliated with the museum. For the series, films and videos are grouped by subject and presented to the public as one-hour curated compilations with overview and commentary. The educational component is an essential part of this series. Each movie is introduced with an explanation of its significance to contemporary art and film history, biographical information on the filmmaker or artist, and a summary of the larger film or art movement to which his or her work is attributed. Many of these movies are rarely shown, and in some cases represent one of just a few film prints of a title available anywhere. Some of the historically critical filmmakers represented in the archive include George Méliès, the Lumière brothers, Dziga Vertov (considered to be among the earliest auteur filmmakers); silent film error director F.W. Murnau (Director of the celebrated film Nosferatu); and acclaimed Surrealist filmmakers René Clair, Joseph Cornell, and Man Ray. Videotaped interviews, lectures, and exhibition installations that took place at the Menil Collection make up another rich section of the movie archive. These tapes encapsulate important information about the artists’ ideas and processes, and are valuable documents for research and scholarship. Artists in this section of the archive include 20th century masters Max Ernst, Yves Klein, John Chamberlain, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, and Larry Rivers, to name a few. This screening series makes these works accessible to a broad audience, and raise awareness about the significant resource that the Menil’s movie archive represents. Comparable movie archives do not exist in Houston.

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