Regina Cornwell

  • Progress—-Discontinuous

    RECENTLY I CAME ACROSS A statement that Leo Steinberg made in the late ’60s. In effect it’s a thought that comments on its own time: “The legitimacy of retrojecting from our immediate experience to remote fields of study touches on the issue of relevance. No one imagines that relevance attaches to particular subject matter. Making things relevant is a mode of seeing.”2 Very simply, for Steinberg, nothing is naturally relevant. We make something to be so; it is a way of seeing, pointing to, underlining, calling attention to. We find issues from the past and what might be considered recondite and

  • Three by Serra

    IN THE LATE 1960S and early ’70s many artists involved in painting, sculpture, and “body” and conceptual art began making films as well as videotapes. Unlike their counterparts involved exclusively in the film avant-garde, who were examining the medium very self-consciously, the artists came to it from other practices and generally chose to ignore the nuances of the film medium in order to use it for other purposes. They were influenced by Sol LeWitt’s dictum “All art is about ideas,” and unconcerned about the film strip, emulsion and other accompanying concerns.

    Bruce Nauman was one of the first

  • Snow-bound Camera

    SINCE THE SUCCESS OF HIS Wavelength, 1966–67, at the Fourth International Experimental Film Festival at Knokke-le-Zoute, in the winter of 1967–68, followed by his three other major films to date, , 1968–69, La Région Centrale, 1970–71, and Rameau’s Nephew by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen, 1972–74, Michael Snow has come to be known in the U.S. and Europe primarily as a filmmaker. Yet in Canada, his homeland, he is still thought of for his earlier work as a painter and sculptor and for his continued pursuit of jazz improvisation on trumpet and piano. Perhaps now in Europe the

  • Abstract Film and Beyond

    Malcolm Le Grice, Abstract Film and Beyond (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press), 1977, 160 pages, illustrated.

    A KEY FEATURE WHICH HAS quite radically distinguished the English film avant-garde from that in the United States has been its stress, over the past five or six years, on public and private debate and dialogue among filmmakers and between filmmakers and critics. That stress underlines the relationship between theory and practice, often in a political or quasi-political manner.

    In contrast, in the United States there is a standard, years-old museum and showcase format in which filmmakers

  • The New York Film Festival: A Cultural Landmark?

    “THE CULTURAL CRITIC IS NOT happy with civilization, to which alone he owes his discontent,” wrote Theodor W. Adorno in “Cultural Criticism and Society,” conjuring up a punning allusion to Freud’s important text. Adorno refers here to the critic in the role of censor or judge. But even when functioning as censor or judge, the critic can at the same time express an optimism, a hope, for something better and/or more than the situation or event at hand.

    The 15th New York Film Festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center (in cooperation with the International Film Importers and Distributors

  • Edinburgh: The Film Festival Remodeled

    VENICE, IN 1936, WAS THE SITE of the first film festival, created by Benito Mussolini as a way to promote tourism. Mussolini’s child propagated quickly. Today, 41 years later, approximately 280 film festivals are held annually throughout the world. There is a saying among veteran festival-goers that the first thing a country does when it achieves independence is to establish an airline, the second thing, a film festival. Many festivals, including those at Venice and Cork, are financed by tourist boards. At its beginning then, Mussolini set the precedent for the film festival’s consumer orientation.

  • “True Patriot Love”: The Films of Joyce Wieland

    JOYCE WILLARD’S FILMS ELUDE easy categorization. The body of work as a whole is varied—there are films of a formal nature, and others which are less so. Several are political, concerned with technology, ecology, and her native land, Canada. Her films are informed by her involvement in other, more directly tactile art forms—painting, drawing, construction—and in crafts such as quilting. She makes padded wall hangings, pillowed quilts, and embroidery. There is an evident concern with textures and/or colors and their relationships within the frame and within the shaping of each film as a whole.

  • Paul Sharits: Illusion and Object

    “At the risk of sounding immodest, by reexamining the basic mechanisms of motion pictures and by making these fundamentals explicitly concrete, I feel as though I am working toward a new conception of cinema. Traditionally, ‘abstract films,’ because they are extensions of the aesthetics and pictorial principles of painting or are simply demonstrations of optics, are no more cinematic than narrative-dramatic films which squeeze literature and theatre onto a two-dimensional screen.”

    WHEN PAUL SHARITS SUBMITTED Ray Gun Virus and Piece Mandala/End War to the Selection Jury of the Fourth International