New York

Shirley Clarke

Squat Theatre

One hand on hip, drink perched precariously in the other, he declares, “I was wild, black and crazy and I had white-boy fever.” Collapsing into a confidential baritone, he whispers “I love you Richard, trust me. I’m going to fuck you up.” We are watching Jason Holiday ( Aaron Paine), a middle-aged black male hustler, as he alternates between poignant reflection and spasmodic giggling fits. Acting out for the camera like Veroushka on a roll, he is an intelligent man playing cat and mouse with his own sanity. And this Jason is not just a struggling, troubled guy, but a cinematic object, good material to hinge a movie on, a supplier of entertaining pathos for Shirley Clarke’s voracious camera. Portrait of Jason (1967) is both a powerful stare at a human being as a collection of symptoms and a canny encapsulation of the monologue form. Its sparsely elegant shooting hones in on Jason like a

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 1984 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.