Future of Film as a Subversive Act

When Amos Vogel (co-founder of the New York Film Festival and Cinema 16) passed away in April at the age of 91, I felt a great loss for culture. Perhaps though, with a re-emergence and re-interest in his legacy, we might now have the chance, with distance, to think about how his actions might inform the way we change and develop the future not just of film but of visual art as well. 

In small ways this is already happening. This essay by Douglas Fogle on the Frieze blog (a must-read remembrance of Mr. Vogel) is part of this start: 

Vogel’s philosophy was that in a democracy it was crucial to offer the public a range of films that would question, enlighten, and enervate with the goal of undermining previous ways of thinking and feeling. Disruption was the path to building new realities and new truths in his mind and his programming rigorously followed this critical methodology throughout his career.

Related: in 2009 LUX initiated a special project at the Zoo Art Fair where they presented artist films that respond to the idea of subversion and the moving image. 

The darkness of Frieze

Going through my camera after Frieze (a substitute for a forgotten pen), I noticed how the artworks I liked share in some serious darkness. This choice is aesthetic shouldn’t be a surprise. 

Fiona Banner and Empire Design – The Greatest Film Never Made (2012)
Graphite on paper
@ Frifth Street Gallery
Welles, real horror, and dream cinema 

Michelangelo Pistoletto – Two Less, One Black (2011)
Black and silver mirror, golden wood
@ Galleria Continua 
Black abyss, eternal reflection, the unknowable

Gary Simmons – Through the Mist (Ghost…), 2012
Oil on canvas
@ Metro Pictures
Haunting, frenzy, through time

Lari Pitman – How Sweet the Day After (1988)
Acrylic and enamel on panel
@ Regen Projects
Conglomeration of history