Category Archives: EDUCATION/ACTIVISM

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER

I live in a world now where everything is “delegated” to photography. Nothing is left to memory, your own memory. What I’m interested in, instead, are things that can’t be seen, not those that can be… I have always labored under the illusion—but I also think it was true—that nobody ever photographed me. Because my face is not for sale. The real me is not photographable.Benedetta Barzini, to Beniamino Barrese

Beniamino Barrese is the son of Benedetta Barzini—the first Italian model to appear on the cover of American Vogue—and his mother’s obsessive interlocutor throughout his documentary THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER, one of the year’s best.

Summoned by Diana Vreeland in the mid-1960s to come to New York for a few weeks, Barzini stayed for a few years, a sought-after subject of Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, and Andy Warhol, a confident of Gerard Malanga and Salvador Dalí, and an acquaintance of Marcel Duchamp.

Barzini was a double-rebel. Modeling in Manhattan put a necessary distance between Barzini and her parents—heiress Giannalisa Feltrinelli and writer Luigi Barzini, Jr., author of The Italians. But the trajectory of second-wave feminism in the 1970s opened Barzini’s eyes to the ornamental condition of women, and she returned to Italy and became an activist and left-wing academic.

I asked myself this question: Why do we have prototypes of beauty? Why are models at the bow of the ship and the other women are squashed together into the stern? Why? Because men invent women… Maybe it would be better if female bodies disappeared from men’s imaginations.Benedetta Barzini

Barzani explains to her son that the camera is a dangerous liar because within its capture of arbitrary moments, it “freezes” life “within a limited boundary,” contaminating thought and inscribing conformity. “I don’t like frozen things… I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are a hundred million photos of sunsets. Frankly, they’re all the same. But they weren’t the same when you saw them.”

Barzini is by turns loving and exasperated with her son and his never-ending investment in images and their documentation. Yet Barzini still models herself—recently appearing in Simone Rocha‘s Fall-Winter 2017 show in London. Nothing if not contradictory, Barzini wants to remove herself from a world she finds deplorable, railing against ambiguity yet unsure which entrance to the void she should walk through. She explains to Barrese that their work together on this film is an act of “separation.” The filmmaker sees it differently, and together they find a sense of an ending.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER

Now playing.

Laemmle Monica Film Center

1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica.

Quad Cinema

I live in a world

34 West 13th Street, New York City.

Beniamino Barrese, The Disappearance of My Mother (2019), from top: Benedetta Barzini (3); Barrese and Barzini (2); Richard Avedon spread of Barzini in American Vogue; Barzini on the cover of Vogue Italia, September 1967; Simone Rocha Fall-Winter 2017 show, London; Andy Warhol, Benedetta Barzini Screen Test, 1966; Barzini and Marcel Duchamp, filmed at the artist’s Cordier and Ekstrom Gallery opening by Warhol, 1966 (2); The Disappearance of My Mother U.S. poster; Barzini (5). Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the photographers, Benedetta Barzini, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Condé Nast, and Kino Lorber.

MELINA MATSOUKAS AND LENA WAITHE — QUEEN & SLIM

I don’t want this movie to be as relevant as it is. But the scary thing is the movie becomes more and more relevant with every passing day. The script is almost a result of my trauma. I’m a black person in the world watching TV like everybody else. The work that artists are doing right now, this is us trying to put a time stamp on the society in which we live. It is a violent one. It is a cold one, and yet we still are stylish and we still are funny and we still love and we still smoke weed and we still do crab boils. Even in the midst of this trauma, we survive, we live, and that, to me, is what the real meditation of this movie became.Lena Waithe

Written by Waithe—from an idea by James Frey—and directed by Melina Matsoukas, QUEEN & SLIM opened this year’s AFI FEST and has gone on to ignite audiences across the country. Compared by critics to Bonnie and Clyde and Thelma and Louise—and by its writer to Set It Off—the film stars Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya in the title roles, with backup by Bokeem Woodbine, Sturgill Simpson, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, and Indya Moore.

QUEEN & SLIM

Now playing.

Alamo Drafthouse

700 West 7th Street, downtown Los Angeles.

L.A. Live

1000 West Olympic Boulevard, downtown Los Angeles.

Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Laemmle Noho

5240 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood.

Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim (2019), from top: Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya; Turner-Smith; Kaluuya; Bokeem Woodbine and Indya Moore; Kaluuya and Turner Smith (2); Moore, Woodbine, Turner-Smith, and Kaluuya; Turner-Smith, and Kaluuya; Turner-Smith. Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the actors, and Universal Pictures.

SECRET CEREMONY

Join artist and curator Telémachos Alexiou at Human Resources for SECRET CEREMONY—QUEERNESS AND SPIRITUALITY AT THE DAWN OF THE NEW DECADE.

Alexiou has brought together a group—including Christopher Argodale, Camila Maria Concepción, Emi Fontana, Kathryn Garcia, Carlos Medina-Diaz, Eva Mitala, Tyler Matthew Oyer, Deborah Smaragdi Isous, Mohammad Tayyeb, and Ares Zolo—who will conduct a “selection of ritualistic performances by queer artists who use spirituality, shamanism, and witchcraft as part of their work. The event follows a storyline of death and rebirth including stillness, vocalization, ecstatic dance, exorcism, healing, matrimony, and Tarot reading, among other practices.”*

See link below for program schedule.

SECRET CEREMONY*

Friday, December 6, from 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm.

Human Resources

410 Cottage Home Street, Chinatown, Los Angeles.

From top: Ares Zolo, Control of the Astral Body; Camila Maria Concepción, Diary of a Sad Trans Woman; Kathryn Garcia, Goddess Healing with Pyramids and Gong; Christopher Argodale, Excerpt Channel; Mohammad Tayyeb, My Speech Tinged His Cheeks with Pink Blush As If My Words Were Splashes of Dye; Emi Fontana and Telémachos Alexiou, Corpse Pose; Tyler Matthew Oyer, Brutal Language; Eva Mitala, High Priestess. Images courtesy and © the artists and the photographers.

WU TSANG AT ICA

Wu Tsang—the spring 2019 Art Council Chair at the UCLA Department of Art—will give a visiting artist lecture at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

WU TSANG—ARTIST TALK

Wednesday, December 4, at 7 pm.

Institute of Contemporary Art

1717 East 7th Street, downtown Los Angeles.

From top: Wu Tsang, photograph by Maciek Jasik; Wu Tsang, Into a Space of Love, 2018, stills (2), courtesy and © Frieze and Gucci; Fred Moten and Wu Tsang, Who Touched Me? (2018), cover image courtesy and © If I Can’t Dance; Wu Tsang, The Looks, 2015, featuring boychild, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, photograph by Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf; Wu Tsang, Damelo Todo / Odot Olemad, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, photograph by Stefan Alteburger. Images courtesy and © the artist, the photographers, the publishers, Clifton Benevento, Michael Benevento, and Isabella Bortolozzi.

THE REPORT — SCOTT Z. BURNS IN CONVERSATION

THE REPORT—written and directed by Scott Z. Burns—will screen during the first week of the MoMA Contenders 2019 series at the Hammer Museum. Burns will be on hand for a Q & A following the screening.

Featuring Adam Driver as a Senate committee investigator and Annette Bening as his boss—senior California Senator Dianne FeinsteinTHE REPORT is essential viewing for anyone even remotely curious about how government agencies tasked to protect the country often bungle the job in a morass of startling incompetence, territorial pride, political self-dealing, and ideological zealotry.

Burns’ lucid script and mise-en-scène tell the story of the Bush-Cheney Administration’s illegal, inept torture program following 9/11 and its aftermath—a decade and a half of discovery, investigation, destroyed documents, and thwarted oversight.

Tickets for the MoMA Contenders series are $20 general and $10 for Hammer Museum members.

THE REPORT with Scott Z. Burns

Tuesday, December 3, at 7:30 pm.

Billy Wilder Theater—Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Scott Z. Burns, The Report (2019), from top: Adam Driver and Linda Powell; Annette Bening, photograph by Atsushi Nishijima, courtesy of the Sundance Institute; American poster; Jon Hamm; Bening and Driver. Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the actors, the photographers, and Amazon Studios.