HERNAN BAS: UBU ROI
“I leave the concept at the door once I actually start painting it,” explains the young artist Hernan Bas in this short excerpt from our 2009 feature film miamiHeights. For several weeks leading up to the completion of the large-scale diptych Ubu Roi (the war march) for his first NYC solo show, we filmed the artist at work, day and night.
MAYBE THERE'S NO ONE STORY
“I hated being called an artist…” explains seminal conceptual artist Vito Acconci in this set of extended 2008 interview clips from our original filming of “making sh•t up,” which included in-depth interviews with Marina Abramović and Jerry Saltz. For this feature documentary on the roller-coaster early career of a young conceptual artist (Norberto Rodriguez), Acconci recounts his own participation in the first major conceptual art show at MoMA in 1970, and shares early career turning points. Acconci describes his ambivalence towards the commercial rise of documentation as objects of art, when framed photos and notes of his performances achieved painting-like status. As his notoriety grew, so did his concern that performances were defining and containing him. “You hope you leave a loose end, so you can get out.”
Vito Acconci (1940 – 2017) b. The Bronx, NYC
THE GIFTS YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN
"I see my work as living beings, things that change and things that have agency," the artist tells us at his home and studio in Gallup, New Mexico. His family, culture, sculpture, performances, spiritual life and dreams are deeply interwoven, gifts given and received.
JUST TRYING TO INVENT SOMETHING TO LOOK AT
Filmed in Taos, New Mexico and Venice Beach, California, the artist shares minimalist origin stories and narrates a unique behind-the-scenes experience: the making of an improvised collage with specially prepared papers, each with variations of color, texture, and light. The renown master of meticulously planned glass work remarks, "When I work with paper, well that's like taking a vacation!"
HOW THE PAINTING RELATES TO THE WALL
From her industrious, ebullient studio in a jungley corner of Miami, the late abstract artist Lynne Gelfman asks, "What does the wall mean? The wall is part of the painting at a certain point..." Her technique is a complex, four-dimensional layering of cause and effect, balancing spontaneity with order, "it's not clear what happened first."
19 SCULPTURES, 10 OR 12 PAINTINGS
With three days to opening night, the artist lays hands, tools, grinders, and fire from piece to piece; chemistry, gravity, time, in a tight fit. Sculptures were hanging and paintings laying flat, columns were at the ready. "I don't know if I really distinguish between painting and sculpture at this point."
I DON'T WANNA WAIT FOR OUR LIVES TO BE OVER
The artist's ability to see is impaired, raising the scale of all his others. An amazing backstory was one of many unique moments in filming production of a highly personal diptych painting in Mexico City, with a highly personal technique. Produced for an exhibition at ICA Miami.
I'M JUST WORKING
Producing practically all the small paintings for an upcoming solo show at the same time, the artist spared no effort, pulled from one work to another by a relentless demand for her brush.
FRANCES TROMBLY: RHYTHM
The artist generously slowed down the busy vigor of a large-scale installation production day to quietly share her technique and thinking on the nature of textile and tactility.
THE BLUE RIBBON
Beside the artist's house, his studio stands alone all night with Pablo Cano inside, laboring to build a new show, which will literally be a show. Maneuvering to and from his long worktable between heaping towers of objects and parts, the artist transforms their functions (but not always their form). Everything will have a role to play, in a new puppet.