Big Screen on Gallery Walls – The Midwest and the South

Compiled by Gary Meyer

A guide to cinematic exhibits in the Midwest and the South

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Unknown photographer, set photo from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1919, directed by Robert Wiene

The Midwest

HAUNTED SCREENS: GERMAN CINEMA IN THE 1920s

Through Sunday, January 22, 2017

Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s, organized by La Cinémathèque française, Paris, examines the groundbreaking period in film history that occurred in Germany during the Weimar era after World War I, through more than 150 objects, including set design drawings, photographs, posters, documents, equipment, cameras and film clips from more than 20 films.

The Expressionist movement introduced a highly charged emotionalism to the artistic disciplines of painting, photography, theater, literature and architecture, as well as film, in the early part of the 20th century. German filmmakers employed geometrically skewed set designs, dramatic lighting, off-kilter framing, strong shadows and distorted perspectives to express a sense of uneasiness and discomfort. These films reflected the mood of Germany during this time, when Germans were reeling from the death and destruction of WWI and were enduring hyperinflation and other hardships.

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Boris Bilinsky, poster for The Joyless Street (Die Freudlose Gasse), c. 1925, directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst, La Cinémathèque française

The exhibition is grouped into five sections by theme: Nature, Interiors, The Street, Staircases and The Expressionist Body. From the dark fantasy of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to the chilling murder mystery M, the exhibition explores masterworks of German Expressionist cinema in aesthetic, psychological and technical terms. More than 140 drawings are complemented by some 40 photographs, eight projected film clip sequences, numerous film posters, three cameras, one projector, and a resin-coated, life-size reproduction of the Maria robot from Metropolis.Metropolis.jpeg

The Museum is taking a unique approach to the exhibition’s installation design, one that mirrors the mood of the time and the objects on display. Walls intersecting at unexpected angles and even breaking through the exhibition space give visitors an engaging experience.”

 

SALAAM CINEMA! 50 YEARS OF IRANIAN MOVIE POSTERS

Through Sunday, December 11, 2016

Block Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

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“The rare posters in this exhibition have been selected from the Hamid Naficy Movie Poster Collection at Northwestern University Libraries Archives. Dating from the 1960s to the present, the posters in the collection document the social history of cinema in Iran and over half a century of dramatic political turmoil and change.

After the end of World War II, the Iranian film industry rapidly expanded and modernized. Two major parallel cinemas emerged—commercially driven filmfarsi (Persian language) productions and an influential new wave cinema of dissent. The posters in Salaam Cinema! highlight the most prevalent filmfarsi genres, including pre-revolutionary melodramas and comedies that reinforce traditional values, cultural identity, gender stereotypes, and the Iranian star system. The exhibition also features posters from post-revolutionary, author-driven cinematic movements: dystopian new wave films that underscore the mounting paranoia, fear, and anger leading up to the 1978-79 Islamic revolution; nationalist films expressing the trauma of the Iran-Iraq War; films directed by and starring women that critically explore their representation on screen; and more contemporary art house films that examine post-revolutionary Iranian society.”

 

COLLEEN MOORE’S FAIRY CASTLE

Ongoing

Museum of Science+Industry, Chicago, Illinois

“The ultimate enchanted castle: lush gardens and sumptuous rooms, decorated with precious furniture and priceless art. There are glowing chandeliers and elegant bathrooms. Not bad, for a doll house!

Between 1928 and 1935 Hollywood silent screen star Colleen Moore spent a reported half-million dollars on her Fairy Castle, employing some 100 Hollywood designers and craftsmen to build this 9-square-foot model that features about 1,500 miniatures. Among its tiny treasures are a painting done by Walt Disney himself, along with a dozen other pieces of original artwork from various artists, the tiniest Bible ever to be written, dating back to 1840, a replica of King Arthur’s round table and three statues of the Goddess Isis.

In 1935 she sent the doll house on tour to raise money for children’s charities. Since 1949 its home has been the Museum of Science and Industry. In 2013 a major conservation resulted in artifacts that are usually hidden in the castle to be on full display.”

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MOHOLY-NAGY: FUTURE PRESENT

Through Tuesday, January 3

Art Institute, Chicago. Illinois

“Painting, photography, film, sculpture, advertising, product design, theater sets—László Moholy-Nagy (American, born Hungary, 1895–1946) did it all. Future Present, the first comprehensive retrospective of Moholy-Nagy’s work in the United States in nearly 50 years, brings together more than 300 works to survey the career of a multimedia artist who was always ahead of his time. Moholy, as he was known, came to prominence as a professor at the Bauhaus art school in Germany (1923–28). In 1937 he founded the New Bauhaus in Chicago, a school that continues today as the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. “

 

 

NOLLYWOOD PORTRAITS: A RADICAL BEAUTY

FASHION, FILM AND FAME

Through Monday, December 23, 2016

Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Illinois

 

Ejiofor & Afolayan photographed by Ike Ude

Starting in the early 1990s, Nollywood has quickly gained worldwide relevance as the world’s second most prolific film industry (almost 2,000 titles released annually) ahead of Hollywood and behind Bollywood with revenues topping $600 million annually. Historically, film in Africa had a European sensibility with parochial scenes laboriously captured on expensive celluloid, owing to the colonial funders. Nollywood, in contrast is characterized by independent cheap and quick filmmaking, capitalizing on the falling prices of digital recording equipment and meeting the demands of a continent for authentic stories that reflect the reality on the ground. An entrepreneurial rags-to-riches story, its producers are private individuals getting little or no assistance from government who make and distribute film across the continent despite infrastructure deficiencies and barriers to trade.

 

In October 2014, artist Iké Udé returned to Lagos, Nigeria, after three decades away, and took photographs of 64 Nollywood personalities. Udé captured an impressive cross section of the industry including renowned screen icon Genevieve Nnaji, veteran actor Richard Mofe-Damijo, established actor/director Stephanie Okereke, maverick filmmaker Kunle Afolayan, as well as the next generation of rising stars. The objective of this project is to celebrate these African celebrities in the timeless, classic, elegant style the artist is known for. Udé has also created a grand group portrait of all 64 subjects, The School of Nollywood, inspired by Raphael’s The School of Athens, 1509.”

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Roger Kingston, Belmont, Massachusetts, 1988

“Accompanying Nollywood Portraits: A Radical Beauty, the exhibition Fashion, Film and Fame features photographs from the MoCP’s permanent collection that intersect with themes seen throughout artist Iké Udé’s work: the use of costume, props, pose and stylized camera techniques to communicate narratives about the film industry, celebrity and identity. Select works by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Nan Golden, George Hurrell, Irving Penn, Sandro, Victor Skrebneski, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, among others will be on view.”

 

The South

SFANTHOR HOUSE OF WAX

Closing Monday, October 31, 2016

Austin, Texas

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Austin is home to movie lovers of all kinds but there is a special interest in horror and fantasy films. It is the birthplace of the Alamo Draft House, Ain’t It Cool News, SXSW and numerous filmmakers. And the Sfanthor House of Wax.

But not for long. Their building has been sold and they close October 31, 2016. An IndieGoGo campaign has been started to move the collection to a new location. Leonard Maltin recently visited and had this to write.

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The sister Museum of the Weird will continue to operate and some of the Sfanthor wax figures will be on display there.

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THE CLOCK

Southern Premiere -Thursday, November 10- Sunday, December 4, 2016

Prospect, New Orleans

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Installation view, Christian Marclay, The Clock, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, 2011. © Christian Marclay. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

 

The Clock is a must see 24-hour film made of clips from classic cinema where each scene includes a time piece or other reference to the very moment in time the viewer is watching. It is great fun but also frustrating, as it is unlikely you can see the entire thing without making several visits. Late night through early morning are less frequently shown because most museums can’t stay open around the clock except for specially announced nights. But don’t worry as whatever you see will be exhilarating. There are several clips online (mostly made illicitly via a phone from a visitor to the show) that will give you a sense of the work—try to watch them at the correct time.

“Winner of the Golden Lion award at the 2011 Venice Biennale, The Clock samples thousands of film excerpts from the history of cinema that indicate the passage of time—from clock towers to wristwatches to buzzing alarm clocks—that edited together unfold on the screen in real time as a 24-hour montage.

Never before exhibited in the South, The Clock is a cinematic tour de force that unfolds on the screen in real time through thousands of film excerpts that form a 24-hour montage. Appropriated from the last 100 years of cinema’s rich history, the film clips chronicle the hours and minutes of the 24-hour period, often by displaying a watch or clock. From the legendary to the obscure, The Clock incorporates scenes of car chases, board rooms, emergency wards, bank heists, trysts, high noon shootouts, detective dramas, and silent comedies.”

Read “How Christian Marclay created the ultimate digital mosaic” by Daniel Zalewski in The New Yorker

Video Review and interview

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