Category Archives: Art

I should’ve quoted Henri Michaux

by Tony Nigro

Pardon me a self-centered moment as I point out an odd parallel between my life and a dispatch from Rotterdam over at The Auteurs.  Working as an assistant editor at night a few years ago, I became fascinated with decay of feedback created by component video signals.  I briefly wrote about it and spent hours recording video signals from different sources, creating feedback with assorted stock footage, and making a still unfinished video piece I saw as somewhat inspired by Stan Brakhage.  The video isn’t available online, but a still is (above) and the short piece I wrote is here.

Flash forward to 2010.  IFFR happens and Daniel Kasman writes about Billy Roisz’s Close Your Eyes (a Brakhage-inspired title if there ever was one).  Kasman describes Roisz’s video as inspired by Henri Michaux‘s experiments with mescaline, as “a rhythmic, patterned series of colored and black and white animated segments of pristine digital artifacting and other forms of video distortion captured, dissected, and re-framed as the kind of sensory nightmare parents in the 50s probably thought would beset their children if they sat too close to the radiation of the TV.”

That’s much better than anything I ever wrote about my video experiment.  But the still on the Auteurs post takes the cake:

I’m not calling foul or anything.  I haven’t even seen Roisz’s piece.  I’m just saying I should’ve quoted Michaux.



by Tony Nigro

In Los Angeles and the greater cinephile realm abroad, kvetching has ensued over Los Angeles County Museum Art’s announcement about closing its 40-year-old film series.  LACMA offers its own discussion forum, and there’s a petition and a Facebook group dedicated to saving the program, but perhaps KCRW art critic Edward Goldman said it best when he lambasted the museum for its decision:

The museum’s reasoning is that funds are scarce and audiences are dwindling, an explanation that would fly if we weren’t talking, for heaven’s sake, about the City of Angels, the film capital of the whole damn world!

And then this zinger:

It’s disingenuous for the museum to blame the audience for the demise of its film program; it feels as if LACMA has lost its passion and conviction for the art form which is the core identity of this city. After spending more than a million dollars on a visibility study for the gigantic sculpture of a suspended train by Jeff Koons, supposedly a new symbol of civic pride for LA, the museum seems to be in the process of cutting off its nose to spite its face by killing its venerated film series.

L.A. has  a shaky enough reputation when it comes to serious art, and in terms of showcasing its best known export is leagues behind New York City and Paris.  And then there’s always the bigger question: What is a county museum for, if not to fight for the preservation of local culture?  I’d say all the kvetching is justified.

Recent news points toward big money donors stepping up, but the fight isn’t over yet.  Even if you aren’t in the Los Angeles area, please make yourself heard by signing the petition to help save LACMA’s film series.

Movie Hell

The Standard Hotel in NYC has got a pretty sweet ride: their elevator. Mixing movie clips and stock footage, Civilization offers hotel guests the ride of their lives, a video view of the ascent from Hell to Heaven, and the opposite on the way down. Though it’s probably not as cool as the ride, you can check out the video art and its background info here. Keep your eyes out for the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the oracle from 300, and lots of other familiar faces and boobies.