[Frameworks] Owen Land (aka George Landow) (1944-2011)

From: Mark Webber <mark_at_markwebber.org.uk>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 12:52:35 +0100

Dear all,

I am writing with the sad news, which some of you may have heard by
now, that Owen Land (formerly known as George Landow) died on 8 June
2011. Please see below for the announcement which was sent out by
Office Baroque Gallery yesterday.

Owen was not the easiest person to get along with, but in the years I
collaborated with him for the "Reverence" touring retrospective and
"Two Films by Owen Land" book, he was a source of great insight,
entertainment and surprise. He was a great filmmaker, and I'm sure
that his work will continue to engage and amuse viewers for many years
to come.

Mark Webber


Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of American
filmmaker and artist Owen Land. Owen Land was born in New Haven,
Connecticut in 1944 under the name George Landow and was found dead in
his apartment in Los Angeles on 8 June, 2011.

Land debuted as an experimental filmmaker in the 1960's with a
critique of structural film. When Land was barely twenty years old, he
produced some early masterpieces like Film in Which There Appear Edge
Lettering, Sprocket Holes, Dirt Particles, Etc. (1965-66), which
contains exactly what the title promises. A Kodak test film used to
adjust colour balance serves as the basic material. Land recomposes it
and extends it into a four-minute loop, the result, in which P. Adams
Sitney saw “the essence of minimal cinema”, no less – “a found object
extended to a simple structure”.

Land quickly expanded the genre of structural film to incorporate more
complex strategies and ideas and has produced some of the most thought
provoking and ground breaking works in film to day. His activities
span several decades and include film work on 16mm and on hi-video, as
well as screenplay writing and poetry. Land’s more recent films have
combined prolific, mythopoeic writing, with a subversive visual
strategy, to produce what is probably best described as an
entertaining yet disrupting “kitchen-sink-classicism”. Land’s seminal
Dialogues (2007-09) features an episodic series of short films
informed by the artist's study of female sexual desire, folklore,
myth, history and the theology of all major religions. Dialogues has
premiered at Kunsthalle Bern in 2009 and travelled to Kunstwerke
Berlin (2010) and Biennale of Sydney (2010) among others.

Owen Land’s work was characterized by a rare ability to combine
critical narrative with an eloquent, yet playful post-conceptual
aesthetic. His films are critically smart, densely lucid speculations
on popular and consumer culture, sexuality, language, history, art and
religion that have outgrown the borders of known art historical genres
or styles.

Owen Land studied Acting between 1970 and 1971, and received an MFA in
Painting in 1993. He has taught film production at the School of the
Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University, San Francisco Art
Institute, and Art Center College of Design, Pasadena California. He
founded the Experimental Theater Workshop at The Art Institute of
Chicago, and wrote and directed several musical theater pieces. Land’s
most important works on 16mm film include Film in which there appear
Edge Lettering, Dirt Particles, Sprocket Holes etc. (1969), A Film of
their 1973 Spring Tour as commissioned by Christian World Liberation
Front (1974), Wide Angle Saxon (1975), On the Marriage Broker Joke as
cited by Sigmund Freud in Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious
(1977-79) and Dialogues (2009). With his later work, including
Undesirables (1999) and Dialogues (2009), Land mostly found
recognition in Europe. Recent individual exhibitions of his work were
held at Kunsthalle Bern, Bern; Kunstwerke, Berlin; and Moderna Museet,

Retrospectives of Owen Land's films have been held at the Edinburgh
Film Festival in Scotland, The American Museum of the Moving Image in
Astoria New York, The Rotterdam International Film Festival in the
Netherlands, The Tate Gallery in London, Anthology Film Archives and
The Whitney Museum of American Art and in collaboration with Lux,
London and Filmmuseum Austria, Vienna. A monogpraph was recently
published by Kunsthalle Bern, Bern and Paraguay Press, Paris. The
films of Owen Land are preserved by Filmmuseum Austria, Vienna.

We wish to thank everybody who has taken interest and supported the
work of Owen Land and will continue to bring Land’s work to audiences
all over the world.

Wim Peeters and Marie Denkens – Office Baroque

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Received on Wed Jul 13 2011 - 04:52:45 CDT