Thomas Beard

  • CUT. AND ACTION.

    MID-MARCH: As the reality of the pandemic in New York came into focus, calls to close cinemas spread across the local film scene. The lives of the four of us are typically devoted to going to the movies and encouraging others to do so, too; suddenly we found ourselves desperate to persuade the theaters we love to cease operations as soon as possible.

    Unlike some forms of disaster, epidemics can be predicted, modeled. Italy offered a grim preview of what might be in store for us stateside. So did history: Film scholar Thomas Doherty recently shared a 1920 Billboard article that quotes New York’s

  • COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS

    Expanded Cinema, by Gene Youngblood. New York: Fordham University Press, 2020. 464 pages.

    WHAT IF FILM CRITICISM could be read as science fiction? The thought crossed my mind as I was revisiting Gene Youngblood’s influential 1970 survey, Expanded Cinema. Republished by Fordham University Press on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary after decades out of print, it’s a book that functions as history and augury at once. Youngblood offers, as the title suggests, an integrative approach to some of the most radical nodes of moviemaking in the 1960s, bringing together bodies of work that might

  • A GORY TALE OF TERROR!

    “CAN A GENIUS BE UNTALENTED, TOO?” This, for John Waters, is the vital question posed by the films of Andy Milligan, the director behind a prolific streak of distinctively seedy exploitation vehicles. Over the past several years, a number of works by Milligan, the “Fassbinder of Forty-Second Street,” have come back into circulation via home-video distributors specializing in outré offerings—BFI Flipside, Vinegar Syndrome, and, most recently, the American Genre Film Archive, which has just released hi-res scans of Guru, the Mad Monk (1970) and Fleshpot on 42nd St. (1973). Preservation initiatives

  • “An Early Clue to the New Direction: Queer Cinema Before Stonewall”

    This month, the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York presents “An Early Clue to the New Direction: Queer Cinema Before Stonewall” (April 22–May 1), organized by the FSLC’s newly appointed programmer at large, THOMAS BEARD. In anticipation of this comprehensive survey, Artforum invited art historian and critic DOUGLAS CRIMP to speak with Beard about the series’ revisionist take on queer cinema before the gay liberation movement.

    DOUGLAS CRIMP: You talked to me about the “Queer Cinema Before Stonewall” series well before your recent appointment as programmer at large for the Film Society of

  • 2015 Triennial: “Surround Audience”

    The New Museum’s upcoming triennial is a show that speaks to both the promise and the peril of our relationship with contemporary technology, as envisioned by a new generation of artists. “Surround Audience,” the show’s evocative title, points to the unprecedented velocity with which images of the self are shared, circulated, and reshaped, while also calling to mind a new age of mass surveillance. This tension will play out through an impressively wide range of practices, represented by fifty-one participants; in addition to experiments with more traditional mediums and an ambitious publishing

  • CLOSE UP: SMOKE SCREEN

    An identity is questioned only when it is menaced, as when the mighty begin to fall, or when the wretched begin to rise, or when the stranger enters the gates, never, thereafter, to be a stranger. . . . Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self; in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which robes one’s nakedness can always be felt, and, sometimes, discerned.

    —James Baldwin, The Devil Finds Work

    “MY NAME IS JASON HOLLIDAY.” A brief pause. “My name is Jason Holliday.” A laugh. “My name is