Peter Bowen

  • The art that inspired them in 2000

    Those of us who live and breathe contemporary art will hold to the idea that art does change, if not the world, then the way we live in it. But our “world” can be more insular than we care to admit. So to open our look back at 2000, we asked twenty-one “outsiders” we admire—from novelist J.G. Ballard to musician John Zorn—to tell us about the art that inspired them this year.

    Dave Eggers (novelist)

    About a year ago, I saw Marcel Dzama’s stuff in zingmagazine and fell madly in love. Then his show at David Zwirner just killed me. A hundred or so drawings (bears with handguns, whale-men

  • Sundance 2000

    In recent years, with the media outnumbering filmmakers by about three to one, the Sundance Film Festival’s purported emphasis—challenging, independent film by promising new talent—drastically shifted. Mirroring Hollywood priorities to a disconcerting degree, Sundance succumbed to stars, glamour, parties, and fashion—not to mention profit. Rather than critically appraise even a significant fraction of the films on view (this year, 120 features were screened during the fest’s eleven-day run, January 20–30), Sundance coverage typically reports on buzz, promiscuously propagating gossip about who

  • Kimberly Price

    AS YOU LIKE IT? First-time director Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry (which opened in October) dramatizes the true-life story of Teena Brandon, the small-town Nebraskan girl who lived and loved as a boy until she was brutally raped and murdered in 1993 for getting caught at it. Like the recent Matthew Sheppard killing, Brandon’s senseless death reverberated in the hollows of the American psyche, pitting our collective intolerance of sexual deviancy against our personal abhorrence of thuggery. While the historical record is a case study worthy of Gender Theory 101, Peirce’s docudrama harks back

  • Film

    In cinema, 1996 might be remembered as a year of poetic justice. As Susan Sontag bewailed the demise of cinephilia in the pages of The New York Times Magazine and critics mourned the death of Krzysztof Kieślowski as the passing of the last great European auteur, directors such as Lars Von Trier, André Téchiné, Wong Kar-Wai, and Mike Leigh came through with films that renewed faith in cinema as an art form. In the United States, on the other hand, where new cable venues like the Independent Film Channel and the Sundance Channel championed independent cinema, the movies that emerged had more bark


    ELMORE LEONARD’S EQUATION of a film producer with a petty criminal in Get Shorty may not completely miss the mark. Films such as Robert Altman’s The Player and George Huang’s Swimming With Sharks and real-life exposés of the drug-crazed antics of Don Simpson and the ogreish office politics of Scott Rudin (not to mention Julia Phillips’ bridge-burning autobiography, You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again) have posited the film producer as a modern-day Mephistopheles. Certainly, this caricature of the producer as part huckster, part thug, contains a grain of truth. But fortunately, it doesn’t

  • Sundance Film Festival

    IT’S GOOD TO REMEMBER that the Sundance Film Festival takes its name from that outlaw western, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which costarred, of course, the festival’s founder, Robert Redford. For every January the spirit (and rhetoric) of the Wild West fills the otherwise rarefied air of Park City, Utah, as words like “independence,” “integrity,” and “community” become common currency. Then again, so do “cable rights,” “video sell-through,” and “foreign sales territory.” With the assumed marketability of independent film, Sundance has become high noon for many distributors. Witness this

  • the Whitney Biennial 1995: Film and Video

    Founded in 1970, some 40 years after the Whitney Biennial itself, the film-and-video section could easily be called an afterthought or, as another critic recently put it, a “sideshow.” It doesn’t take long to grasp the distinguishing dimensions of the Biennial’s main exhibition as compared to its film-and-video section: one flows, if not overflows, through the entire space of the museum; the other has time on its side, changing its look every other day until June 18. Technically one cannot even visit the film-and-video section: you either flirt with it, checking out whatever program is currently