Re: chicago film archive

From: Chuck Kleinhans (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jan 03 2007 - 12:49:11 PST

On Jan 3, 2007, at 7:39 AM, Bernard Roddy wrote:

> There was a screening a couple months ago of that Anthony McCall
> (SIC) “Argument” something or other film, not the “Line Describing
> a Cone” thing, and those guys were focused, hard-hitting, on-
> target. I was standing in back at Chicago Filmmakers and some
> point-black radical voiceover rhetoric drove a middle-aged middle-
> class couple right out of the theater. It tore me up that down the
> street, at Mess Hall, a couple members of Critical Art Ensemble
> were giving a talk at that very moment. I could not decide,
> watched the start of the film, left to find the street-level
> storefront packed to the windows, gave it up, returned for the
> final quarter of the film.

I take it Bernie is a young whippersnapper who is also clairvoyant
since he can determine someone's class from just looking at them--
nice trick, how do you do it? And what is your class, young fella?

And Bernie can also read minds, knowing exactly what caused a couple
to doesn't seem possible to him that they left to see CAE
before he did. It must be quite reassuring to know what motivates
others with such certainty.

> I’d love to see that film in full, but CAE is current. No benches
> in photographs. The dead are beautiful, but to await death like
> this . . life itself risks being sacrificed in these machinations
> for prime plots in the graveyard.
> That McCall (SIC) film closes with the filmmaker reading off a
> list of all their expenses and sources of support for the project,
> who turned them down for funding, how expenses compared with those
> of other productions, what their own backgrounds and qualifications
> were, etc. Could such a film receive serious critical attention
> today?

That list is copied from Godard. Or if you feel charitable, it's an
homage. Well, the film did receive "critical attention" from Chicago

But if you take a look at the recent critical work on McCall, such as
The Works of Anthony McCall, ed. Christopher Eamon, you find a
complete erasure of McCall's radical political/ideological critique
of the artworld. He's now been safely ensconced in the gallery and
museum artworld as a formalist, after denouncing it in Argument.

The book's editor, Christopher Eamon, is a “private curator” for the
wealthy Kramlich couple who collect media art (including McCall, one
assumes). It also appears that shows presenting McCall's work at MOMA
and SFMMA were under their auspices (in other words, they paid for
the shows which will increase the market value of their private
holdings, which will provide them or their estate a tax break down
the line if they donate it to the museums,) So the publication of the
book is directly tied to the market value of part of the Kramlich

And after delivering the scorched earth denunciation of artistic
formalism in Argument, what did McCall do? He has had a commercial
design business in NYC since 1979: Narrative Rooms, which has an
attractive website (they are big on designing art oriented
websites). He seems to have produced no new (high artworld) art
from 1979-2003.

Yeah, Vertov was interested in that bench, but neither he nor Lenin
were sitting on the sidelines of history.

Chuck "Don't trust me, I'm over 30" Kleinhans


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