Film/Video

Special Presentations: Seeing Sound: Mary Ellen Bute Retrospective


Appearance by scholar Dr. Kit Basquin

Post film Q&A moderated by film committee member, Margarita de la Vega-Hurtado

“A pioneer of visual music and electronic art, Houstonian Mary Ellen Bute (1906–1983) produced more than a dozen short abstract animations from the 1930s to 1950s. Set to classical music by the likes of Bach and Shostakovich, and filled with elegant colorful forms and sprightly dance-like rhythms, Bute’s filmmaking is at once formally rigorous and energetically high-spirited, like a marriage of High Modernism and Merrie Melodies. Bute herself wrote that she sought to ‘bring to the eyes a combination of visual forms unfolding along with the thematic development and rhythmic cadences of music.’ ” —film historian Ed Halter

Bute’s early abstract films (some of which were screened regularly at New York’s Radio City Music Hall in the 1930s), included a series of Visual Music films she called Seeing Sound, featuring some rarely seen films in 16mm prints, such as 1935’s Rhythm in Light, a modern artist’s interpretation of Grieg’s “Peer Gynt Suite”; and 1940’s Spook Sport, where ghosts, bats, and bells move to the music’s rhythm in a graveyard.

• Rhythm in Light, 1934, b/w, 5 min. Music: Grieg's "Anitra's Dance." Collaboration with Melville Webber and Ted Nemeth. Premiered at Radio City Music Hall, 1935. In the "Rhythm in Light," the artist uses visual materials as the musician uses sound. Mass and line an brilliant arabesques from the inexhaustible imagination of the artist perform a dance to the strains of Edward Grieg's music. The visual and aural materials are related both structurally and rhythmically - a mathematical system being used to combine the two means of expression. (promotional flyer, Ted Nemeth Studios)

• Dada, 1936, b/w, 3 min. For Universal Newsreel. "Animated with Dada humor to a waltz tune. Witty and delightful, it flashes off the screen too soon." —CUE magazine.

• Parabola, 1937, b/w. Music: Darius Milhaud's "La Creation du Monde." Based on Rutherford Boyd's extraordinary sculpture elaborating the parabolic curve.

• Escape, 1937, color, 5 min. Music: Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor." Escape was based on a simple plot set against a musical background, and employed geometric figures for the action. (Bute)

• Spook Sport (animated by Norman McLaren), 1939, color. Music: Saint-Saen's "Danse Macabre." A new abstract movie in the 'Seeing Sound' series by M.E. Bute. "Fun abstract movie that PEOPLE are TALKING ABOUT, filled with disembodied spooks, bats and bones." -Allene Talmey, Vogue.

• Tarantella, 1940, color, 5 min. Piano music by Edwin Gershefsky. "An exciting new technique...Unusual and amusing..." (Film Daily) Chosen for the 2010 National Film Registry, by The Library of Congress.

• Polka Graph (Fun with Music), 1947, color, 5 min. Began as an actual chart of Shostakovich's Polka from "The Age of Gold." Award winner at Venice Film Festival. Screens digitally.

• Color Rhapsodie, 1948, color, 6 min. Music: Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2." Premiered at Radio City Music Hall 1951. “[Bute] transcends her influences; her visual imagination triumphs. I like the romantic flair of Color Rhapsody, its visual density ... I think it is time to re-see and re-evaluate all of Bute's work in a new light.”—Jonas Mekas, Soho Weekly News (9/23/76)

•Imagination, 1948, color, 3 min. Produced for Steve Allen show. “... surrealist film ... unreal and delectable shapes floating about ... the work of Mary Ellen Bute—a pioneer in this sort of thing whose talents should be more often used.” —Gilbert Seldes, Saturday Review

• New Sensations in Sound, c. 1949, color. Advertisement produced for RCA sales meetings.

• Pastorale, 1950, color. Music: J.S. Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze.” A pictorial accompaniment in abstract forms.

• Abstronic, 1952, color, 7 min. Music: Aaron Copland's “Hoe Down” and Don Gillis’s “Ranch House Party.” These electronic pictures of the music are a natural phenomena which take place in the sub-atomic world; they are then captured on the Cathode Ray Oscilloscope and filmed with the motion picture camera. The colored backgrounds are hand done and superimposed on the electronic animation of the musical themes. In this movie, film artist Mary Ellen Bute combines Science an Art to create "Seeing Sound." (Press release from Ted Nemeth Studios). This title screens digitally.

• Mood Contrasts, color, 1953. Music: “Hymn to the Sun” from The Golden Cockerel and “Dance of the Tumblers” from The Snow Maiden by Rimsky-Korsakov. Premiered at Radio City Music Hall. “An abstract film made in this fashion provides, in the making as well as the seeing and listening, one of the most thrilling experiences the motion picture affords.” (Jesse Zunser, “Kinetic Space,” CUE Magazine)

Presented by the MFAH in association with Aurora Picture Show and the Center for Visual Music. 6mm prints from the Cecile Starr Collection at the Center for Visual Music.

About the Speaker
Dr. Basquin has owned, curated, and directed galleries and museums. Prior to retiring from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, she worked as an administrator for 13 years with prints and drawings. Basquin wrote an annotated bibliography of books and articles on Ethiopian art in 1968, and she has also written a biography about Mary Ellen Bute.

When:
Feb 3, 2018
Cost:
General Admission $9. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $7
Time:
7:00 pm
Saturday Time & Price:
7PM $9. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $7
General Categories: 

New Releases: My Art



When:
Feb 2, 2018 to Feb 4, 2018
Cost:
General Admission $9. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $7
Time:
7:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Friday Time & Price:
7PM $9. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $7
Sunday Time & Price:
5PM $9. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $7
General Categories: 

Bechdel Film Festival: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story


Skype interview with writer-director Alexandra Dean follows the screening

The MFAH hosts the opening night of the inaugural Bechdel Film Festival, organized by 14 Pews, with the premiere of an acclaimed documentary celebrating an extraordinary woman: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.

What does the most beautiful actress of the 1930s and 1940s have in common with the inventor whose concepts were the basis of cell phone and Bluetooth technology? They are both Hedy Lamarr (1914–2000), the glamorous Austrian movie star whose ravishing visage was the inspiration for Snow White and Catwoman. Less well-known are her accomplishments as a technological trailblazer who perfected a radio system to throw Nazi torpedoes off course during World War II. Fillmmaker Alexandra Dean weaves a riveting story of a woman who was a feminist before the term was coined.

Lamarr’s film career is traced in reflections from her children; close friends including late TCM host Robert Osborne; and the voice of Lamarr herself, thanks to an extended interview recorded late in her life. From a scandalous nude scene in the 1933 film Ecstasy, to a glittering Hollywood life, to groundbreaking but uncredited inventions, to the later years when she became a recluse, Bombshell pays tribute to Lamarr as the strong and inspiring person she was. Fun fact: her fifth marriage was to a Houston oilman!

Read about the film in Vanity Fair.

When:
Feb 15, 2018
Cost:
General Admission $10. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $8
Time:
7:00 pm
Thursday Time & Price:
7PM $10. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $8
General Categories: 

2018 Byrdcliffe Artist-in-Residence Opportunities for Visual Artists


2018 Byrdcliffe Artist-in-Residence Opportunities for Visual Artists



2018 4-week Residency Sessions



Session 1: Thursday, May 24th - Monday, June 18th, 2018

Session 2: Thursday, June 21st - Monday, July 16th, 2018

Session 3: Thursday, August 9 - Monday, September 3rd, 2018

Session 4: Thursday, September 6th - Monday, October 1st, 2018



Application Deadline: February 15th, 2018



Applications only accepted through Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild’s Submittable site: https://woodstockbyrdcliffeguild.submittable.com/submit



The Visual Arts AIR program at Byrdcliffe welcomes artists working in the areas of painting, sculpture, drawing/works on paper, ceramics, craft, design, weaving, installation, photography (please note: very minimal non-digital darkroom facility on site), and film/video. If you are interested in printmaking, please contact us to discuss access to equipment before you apply.



Artists participating in Byrdcliffe's Artist-in-Residence program are asked to pay a subsidized fee of $700/month to attend which covers studio access and accommodations within a 250-acre mountain campus. You may select your accommodation preferences on the application.



Byrdcliffe offers financial aid to participants based on a combination of need and merit. In 2016, this support was made possible through the generosity of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and Byrdcliffe restricted funds, including the Milton and Sally Avery Fund for Visual Art. To be considered for a fellowship, artists must submit the required financial information as listed in the application under question #8. You will also need to attach a PDF of your most recent tax return to the File Upload section.



Beyond the general need and merit based aid available through the fellowship application, Byrdcliffe is offering the following fellowships with the support of our granting partners for the 2018 AiR season:



  • The annual Mantooth/Morabito Fellowship for an artist of color.

  • The annual Monica Coleman/Kate Pierson Fellowship for a self-identified woman artist.

  • The Pollock Krasner fellowship for visual artists (painting, sculpture and photography only) living/working in North America who have been affected by a natural disaster including, but not limited to, the recent wildfires in California, earthquakes in Mexico and hurricanes in Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas.



More information about Byrdcliffe's artists-in-residence programs can be seen here:  http://www.woodstockguild.org/artist-residency-programs/

 

Questions about Byrdcliffe’s AIR program or required materials? Email info@woodstockguild.org



Since its founding in 1902, the Byrdcliffe Art Colony, located in the historic, unique community of Woodstock, NY, is one of the earliest utopian art colonies in America, located only 2.5 hours north of New York City. Byrdcliffe has welcomed artists like Bob Dylan, Philip Guston, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Eva Hesse, and hundreds more, to and live and work on a 250-acre property surrounded by the serene beauty of the Catskill Mountains.

 

Byrdcliffe is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons. Self-identified women, people of color, LGBTQIA and other underrepresented artists are encouraged to apply. Byrdcliffe also offers ADA compliant access to its main residency building and some studios.

 


Due Date: Feb 15, 2018
Contact Name: Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild
Phone: 8456792079
Fee: 45.00
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Period. New Paragraph: a storytelling practicum


Period. New Paragraph:
a storytelling practicum

Friday, Jan 19, 2018 | 7pm
Project Row Houses | 2505-2517 Holman Street

Join Round 47 artists Brian Ellison, Marc Furi, Marlon Hall and
Danielle Fanfair as they screen films featured in their installations.
End this year by learning new stories and embody a new story
through inquiry and conversation. Each artist’s story will be
explored as metaphor, inviting participants into their own stories
and ending with a cross-pollinating mixer.

We will end this year with new practices and affirmations through
this artist talk / dream practicum.

When:
Jan 19, 2018
Cost:
Free
Time:
7:00 pm
Kid Friendly:
Yes
Location:

New Releases: The Gospel According to André


Introduced by Yvonne Cormier, who is a close friend of André Leon Talley’s and appears in this documentary.

From the segregated American South to the fashion capitals of the world, the life and career of operatic fashion editor André Leon Talley are on full display in this poignant portrait. The Gospel According to André features appearances by Manolo Blahnik, Tom Ford, Diane von Furstenberg, Valentino Garavani, Marc Jacobs, and Anna Wintour, among others.

Weaving together a wealth of archival footage from glamorous moments in fashion history with Talley’s own reflections on his experiences, the documentary is a cinematic monument to a unique figure of contemporary American culture. Talley is also curator of the MFAH exhibition The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta, on view through January 28.

• Watch a discussion with André Leon Talley at the Toronto International Film Festival.

When:
Jan 21, 2018
Cost:
General Admission $9. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $7
Time:
4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Sunday Time & Price:
4 &7PM $9. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $7
General Categories: 

25th Houston Iranian Film Festival: Negar


Her father’s death is ruled a suicide, but Negar (Negar Javaherian) does not agree with the decision. Handsome Peyman, who worked for her father, tries to help her reach peace of mind. But when Negar investigates on her own, she begins to have visions of what really happened to her father. Father and daughter have discussions and relive family moments, and he provides her with clues in real time that steer her towards the truth. Negar discovers her father was in business with a ruthless criminal, and vows revenge, but her new insights cause her to cast suspicion on everyone around her. This absorbing drama is a mystery-thriller with a touch of the supernatural.

Read an interview with the actress who plays Negar.

When:
Jan 28, 2018
Cost:
General Admission $10. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $8
Time:
5:00 pm
Sunday Time & Price:
5PM $10. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $8
General Categories: 

25th Houston Iranian Film Festival: 24 Frames


24 Frames is a contemplative photo-film essay started by filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami and, after his death in 2016, completed by his son Ahmad. The film is comprised of short vignettes based on photographs Abbas took over 40 years.

Upon its premiere at Cannes, Barbara Scharres wrote on rogerebert.com, “These sequences are breathtaking in the beauty of the photography, and startling in the acuteness and vibrant curiosity of the vision. Each is a mini-drama evolving in its own time. Kiarostami’s love of snowy landscapes, the sea, the forces of nature, and his fascination with the unsentimental drama of the animal world bring home the intelligence and patient vision of the artist behind the camera.”

Houston’s Iranian Film Festival has shown many of Kiarostami’s films in its history, from the groundbreaking early feature Where Is the Friend’s Home? through his international successes including Through the Olive Trees, Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us, and Certified Copy.

24 Frames is an exquisite reverie on scenes from nature. Through still, but precise frames, and aided by subtle staging or effects, he captures the haunting, haiku-like poetry of nature, its beauty, amorousness and brutality. The play with the double meaning of ‘frame’ reflects his profound mediation on the cinematic form.” —Variety

Read an interview with Ahmad Kiarostami.

When:
Jan 27, 2018
Cost:
General Admission $10. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $8
Time:
7:00 pm
Saturday Time & Price:
7PM $10. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $8
General Categories: 

25th Houston Iranian Film Festival: Disappearance


Set over the course of one long night, teen couple Sara and Hamed visits a series of hospitals, terrified that their first romantic encounter may have dire consequences. However, none of the doctors will provide Sara with medical attention she needs without the presence of a parent. Their desperation increases as the couple must hide what is happening from their parents, resulting in an expanding web of lies that changes their lives forever.

Praising the strong performances by the young lead actors, the Toronto International Film Festival observed that the film “shows us the complex reality of Iran’s strict cultural mores while casting a compassionate gaze upon the resilience of youth.”

Director’s Statement
In this film I am going to show the picture of a young generation, in a semi-traditional society, struggling to discover its identity. I like the audience to think about the lack of communication and effects of family limitations. Nowadays, the majority of the older generation in Iran likes to respect the traditions, while at the same time the majority of the younger generation is trying to overcome these same traditions, and the differences between these two points of view create a lot of conflicts and stories. These stories have always been important for me, especially because I experienced this kind of situations myself. I have tried to narrate them in my previous short films and some of the characters I created are still alive, and their stories are not yet finished in my mind. I would like to explore them some more.

When:
Jan 26, 2018
Cost:
General Admission $10. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $8
Time:
7:00 pm
Friday Time & Price:
7PM $10. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $8
General Categories: 

25th Houston Iranian Film Festival: Tehran Taboo


Mature Audiences Only

An edgy animated film for adult audiences, Tehran Taboo follows three strong-willed women and one young man who cross paths in Tehran while each pursues morally questionable activities.

From a prostitute whose young son waits nearby during her transactions, to a musician whose one-night stand has disturbing consequences, it is clear that breaking taboos can be a means of personal emancipation. As first-time director Ali Soozandeh explains, “Everyone sees these taboos, but no one talks about them. There is a huge silence at the center of the society that no one breaks. That was the big question I wanted to ask: Why do we all play along?” Tehran Taboo was the first animated feature in the prestigious Critics’ Week at the Cannes International Film Festival.

• Read an interview with the filmmaker.

When:
Jan 20, 2018
Cost:
General Admission $10. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $8
Time:
9:00 pm
Saturday Time & Price:
9PM $10. MFAH members, senior adults & students with ID, $8
General Categories: 


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Houston, TX 77266-6494


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