There are not many films about artists that have even remotely the quality of the pictures, texts, or installations of the artists they portray. What makes for a good portrait of an artist? This program presents a selection of film portraits from the years 1967 to 1983, films which use different methods to generate insight into the ways of seeing, imaginary worlds, milieus, and inner conflicts of extraordinary artists, while also themselves retaining the status of independent works of art. In May 1970 Turkish photographer Sedat Pakay filmed the American writer James Baldwin in his temporary exile in Istanbul, creating an intimate study of an artist between anti-racist activism and a passion for life and writing. In 1967 Baylis Glascock studied the teaching methods used by the nun, artist, and activist Sister Corita Kent, accompanying her on her visual researches in the streets of Los Angeles. Tyler Turkle uses a montage of old film material and the memoirs in monologue of artist and bikers Jim Roche to create a radical portrait of a spiritual and psychedelic installation with references to Native Americans, which Roche made with his friends in 1974 in the Whitney Museum. In 1983, British art historian Judy Marle filmed a subtle portrait of the Indian painter Bhupen Khakhar and his complex imagery, in which observations from everyday life and ideas from popular pictorial cultures overlap with mythological themes and scenes of homosexual love.
Sedat Pakay, James Baldwin: From Another Place, 1973, 12 min
Baylis Glascock, We Have No Art, 1967, 26 min
Tyler Turkle, All In My Background, 1974/2006, 18 min
Judy Marle, Messages from Bhupen Khakhar, 1983, 37 min
Presented by Christian Kravagna
Christian Kravagna is an art historian and curator. He is professor of postcolonial studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.