recent programs -

Winter 2005 - Five Films by Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol made over 600 films between 1963 and 1970 during a very productive and critically significant phase of his artistic development.  The real-time and time-extended experiences of films such as Sleep (1963, 5:21) and Empire (1964, 8:05), perhaps his most discussed but seldom seen works, appear to be single-take continuous shots, but in fact involve repetitive looping and editing strategies with minimalist reflexive effects.  Processes of mechanical reproduction and development of surface qualities emphasizing difference within repetition are similar in his films and the silkscreen paintings that he produced during this same period.  As with the rest of his work, his films bridge gaps between high art, popular culture and ordinary life, and demonstrate the diversity of forms and experiences that cinema provides as both a medium and site of contemporary artistic practice.  Warhol's films were an extreme example of cinema verité that anticipated structural film, today's looped film and video installations, reality TV and Web cam voyeurism evoking a contemporary fascination with conflated documentary realities and constructed narratives.  His superstars' performances both in and out of drag are those of amateur actors and real people acting themselves.  These situations generate potential reality-effects when unpredictable interactions and improvised events disrupt the apparent flow of story development.  The Chelsea Girls was the first “underground” film to achieve national distribution, and helped launch 1960s American subculture into visual-cultural representation and ideology of mainstream society. –Patrick Clancy

February 2, 2005

, Andy Warhol (USA), 1965, 66 min., 16mm film
Vinyl is based on a script written by Ronald Tavel, based in turn on Anthony Burgess’ novel, A Clockwork Orange.  The misbehavior and reconditioning of the young hoodlum Victor, played by Gerard Malanga, takes place in a claustrophobic setting crammed with cast members and S & M practitioners.  The action is accompanied by the repeated playing of Martha and The Vandellas’ Nowhere to Run.  The film also features Edie Sedgwick, who sits in the foreground as a kind of uninvolved observer.  Callie Angell

Sunset, Andy Warhol (USA), 1967, 33 min., 16mm film
In 1967 Warhol was commissioned by the Texas art patrons Jean and Dominique de Menil to produce a series of religious films of sunsets for a chapel at the 1968 San Antonio Hemisfair.  Although this project was never completed to Warhol’s satisfaction, this particular sunset film was shown publicly as one of the reels of **** (Four Stars) in December 1967.  Warhol’s film of a California sunset, which is accompanied by an added soundtrack of Nico intoning her own poetry, bears a marked resemblance to the paintings of Mark Rothko, whose chapel in Houston was also commissioned by the de Menils.  Callie Angell

February 9, 2005

The Chelsea Girls
, Andy Warhol (USA), 1966, 210 min. in double screen, 16mm film
The most successful of Warhol’s experiments in expanded cinema, The Chelsea Girls, weaves various unconnected narratives together in a double screen format that mixes black-and-white and color reels.  A film that is intended to be slightly different each time it is projected, The Chelsea Girls is a fascinating interplay of psychological complexity and stunning imagery, and one of the most important independent films of the 1960s.  Callie Angell

Reel #1:  Nico in Kitchen
Reel #2:  Father Ondine and Ingrid
Reel #3:  Brigid Holds Court
Reel #4:  Boys in Bed
Reel #5:  Hanoi Hannah
Reel #6:  Hanoi Hannah and Guests
Reel #7:  Mario Sings Two Songs
Reel #8:  Marie Menken
Reel #9:  Eric Says All
Reel #10:  Colored Lights on Cast
Reel #11:  Pope Ondine
Reel #12:  Nico Crying

February 16, 2005

, Andy Warhol (USA), 1967, 66 min., 16mm film
Filmed in February 1966 from a script by Ronald Tavel, Hedy presents the adventures of Hedy Lamarr, who receives a face lift, is arrested for shoplifting and goes on trial to face the accusations of her five former husbands.  Mario Montez gives one of his most outstanding performances in the title role, and the film features appearances by Mary Woronov, Ingrid Superstar, Gerard Malanga and Jack Smith.  Filmed with the usual amount of Warholian chaos in a loft full of used furniture, Hedy also includes live music by The Velvet Underground.  –Callie Angell

The Velvet Underground and Nico, Andy Warhol (USA), 1966, 67 min., 16mm film
This film shows the band, The Velvet Underground, rehearsing at the Factory for an upcoming performance.  The film appears to have been produced with the intention of projecting it behind the Velvets during The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Warhol’s multi-media presentations of the rock-and-roll band.  During the second half of the film, the rehearsal is stopped by the arrival of the New York City police who have responded to a complaint about the noise level. Callie Angell