It’s a momentous Monday here at Art21. Following Maren Miller’s thoughtful introduction of our newest documentary series, New York Close Up, last week, we are thrilled to present you with the very first episodes. Kicking off the project are films with the artists Shana Moulton (b. 1976, Oakhurst, California, USA; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York) and Kalup Linzy (b. 1977, Clermont, Florida, USA; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York).
Should an artist separate herself from the character she creates? In this film, artist Shana Moulton traces the development of her ongoing video and performance series Whispering Pines and its central protagonist Cynthia. Shana charts the various ways in which fiction and autobiography meld and diverge in the character of Cynthia, played by the artist herself. The title of the series is an homage to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and adopts the name of Shana’s childhood home: a trailer park for seniors near Yosemite, California. Featuring video and music from several episodes of Whispering Pines—a mix of live action, computer animation, and original songs by Jacob Ciocci and Nick Hallett.
On making the film, New York Close Up co-creator and producer Nick Ravich writes, “Shana Moulton, in shape-shifter Shana fashion, showed up to her interview with two outfits—and she wanted to wear both. Switching clothing, in the middle of an interview and with all the possible continuity headaches that it entails, is an absolute no-no in documentary production.” Visit the project’s website to hear what happened.
What’s the difference between art and entertainment? In this film, artist Kalup Linzy prepares for his debut performance as Kalup & Franco—a performance art music-based collaboration with the actor James Franco—at Rob Pruitt’s 2010 Art Awards at Webster Hall in the East Village. Kalup & Franco are the closing act for a Hollywood-style awards show where celebrity and contemporary art merge in ambiguous ways. Featuring excerpts of Linzy’s original songs Chewing Gum, Hot Mess, and Asshole, along with cameos by artists Marina Abramovic, John Currin, Rachel Feinstein, Mary Heilmann, Marilyn Minter, and Rob Pruitt; curators Klaus Biesenbach and Tom Eccles; dealer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn; and critic Jerry Saltz.
About the film, New York Close Up co-creator and producer Wesley Miller writes, “This film is in many ways a study in contrast: between private and public moments, being a solo artist and forming a group, the shrinking divide of the art world and celebrity culture, and Kalup’s purposefully lo-fi performance style at a glitzy event. We aimed to preserve the overall surreal quality of the day as well as convey the tension of how it feels to try something new, on a big stage, when the stakes for a young artist are so high.” Visit the project’s website to hear more behind-the-scenes takes.
Kalup & Franco’s debut EP titled Turn It Up, co-produced by DJ /rupture, is due out July 12th, 2011 on the label Dutty Artz.
Stay tuned for additional episodes of New York Close Up throughout the month. Up next are films with LaToya Ruby Frazier and Mika Tajima this coming Friday, June 17th. For more information on the series, visit the project’s website.