Moving Pictures: American Art and Early Film, 1880-1910
(above image: Edward Hopper. Early Sunday Morning; (1930) Whitney Museum of American Art)
A current exhibition at Williams College Museum of Art attempts to show the influence and interchange between early film and American Art.
In “Moving Pictures,” paintings are placed alongside early films to show how artists and audiences of that period grappled with the new visual technology. The moving pictures on view are drawn primarily from the Edison, Lumière, and American Mutoscope and Biograph companies while the paintings are by such artists as Thomas Eakins, George Luks, John Sloan, and George Bellows. This important exhibition, which includes over 150 paintings, posters, and photographs and 50 films, follows the 1880 experiments of Eadward Muybridge and other motion photographers through the development of moving picture technology in the 1890s and the wave of creativity the new medium generated among American artists.
''Moving Pictures" consists of some 100 objects in various media -- mostly paintings, but also photographs, prints, posters, comic strips, and flip books. The objects are juxtaposed with short films from the period, which run continually on 46 flat-panel screens. In sheer visual terms, the effect is intoxicating. Imagine a fin de siecle salon that somehow includes video art. Considered simply as an installation, ''Moving Pictures" is bold and memorable."
The show comprises four sections. ''Early Film and American Artistic Traditions" examines how much early cameramen drew on preexisting artistic traditions for their subject matter. ''The Body in Motion" and ''The City in Motion" present the clearest impact film had on painting and related arts, through its unprecedented kineticism. (''Film" in this case includes the medium's slightly earlier precursor, the photographic motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey.) Finally, ''Art and Film: Interactions" shows the interest in early movies of specific artists, such as John Sloan, and how poster artists and others addressed the subject of film in their work. - Mark Feeney, Boston Globe
Edward Hopper. New York Movie; (1939) Museum of Modern Art: New York, NY
Myself, I can't help but look at an Edward Hopper painting without thinking about film.
Posted by on October 16, 2005 11:16 PM | Permalink