PRINT May 2000


Commissioned on the occasion of “Departures: 11 Artists at the Getty” to realize a work responding to the museum’s collection, STEPHEN PRINA fixed on an early, seemingly uncharacteristic, Georges de la Tour. The result: twenty-one-and-a-half minutes of interlaced references, from seventeenth-century devotional painting to Andy Warhol’s 1965 film Vinyl. Writer and critic TOM HOLERT unpacks the latest installment in Prina’s examination of cultural expectations.

THE OPENING IMAGE OF the twenty-one-minute thirty-second, 16 mm film shows a section of a pale, naked male torso. Hands lie crossed one over the other on the chest; to the left a candle burns. A long time passes before slowly, very slowly, the image begins to change. Meanwhile, a single note is heard, played in unison on string instruments and completed by a French horn. The pitch begins to sink, then rise, as the instruments produce

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