Tag Archives: Hammer Museum

FORBIDDEN HOLLYWOOD

“My head is splitting! The wine last night, the music, the delicious debauchery!” — Charles Laughton, as Emperor Nero, in The Sign of the Cross

The sensual freedom that constituted much of the imagery of Hollywood’s silent period persisted into the sound era for four more years until a nationwide morals crusade reached critical mass in 1934, and strict enforcement of the Hays Code began.

Small-town church-goers were pushed to the brink by The Sign of the Cross (1932)—Cecil B. DeMille‘s notorious epic—which purloined a “Christian” story and served up nudity, violence, a lesbian dance sequence, and Emperor Nero as a raging queen. Needless to say, big city audiences responded to DeMille’s decadence with curiosity and enthusiasm, flocking to cinemas wherever it was playing.

In its Forbidden Hollywood—When Sin Ruled the Movies program, the UCLA Film and Television Archive is screening The Sign of the Cross in a 35mm print restored from DeMille’s personal nitrate copy.

Also on the bill: John M. Stahl‘s Only Yesterday (1933)—Margaret Sullavan‘s film debut—depicting out-of-wedlock childbirth, feminist and socialist advocacy, and an openly gay couple (Franklin Pangborn and Barry Norton)—scenarios that would disappear from Hollywood scripts for the next thirty years.

Mark A. Vieira will sign copies of his book Forbidden Hollywood: The Pre-Code Era before the screening.

SIGN OF THE CROSS and ONLY YESTERDAY

Friday, April 26, at 7:30.

Billy Wilder Theater, Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

From top: Claudette Colbert in The Sign of the Cross (1932); Charles Laughton (left), Colbert, and Fredric March in The Sign of the Cross; Laughton (right) with George Bruggeman in The Sign of the Cross; Margaret Sullavan and John Boles in Only Yesterday (1933); Sullavan (left) and Billie Burke in Only Yesterday; Burke (left) and Sullavan (right) in Only Yesterday. Colbert, Laughton, and March photographs © Paramount Pictures, courtesy of the studio and Photofest. Sullavan, Boles, and Burke photographs © Universal Pictures, courtesy of the studio and Photofest.

STAN DOUGLAS AT THE HAMMER

“Jacques Derrida loved the word observe. He paid special attention to its root word, serve, which tied observation to respect, service, and deference. To observe something, he thought, was an act of humility. You gave yourself over to the details, gathering data and storing it in reserve for the future… *

Stan Douglas uses lens-based media to facilitate this kind of servitude to details. I mention Derrida not to overemphasize the theoretical structures at work in Douglas’ output (and there are many), but rather to point out that the production details Douglas wants viewers to notice in his work are many and fine, and require sustained concentration…. [His work] is an invitation to become curious: about the narratives that have brought Douglas’ subjects to his camera and to the viewer’s gaze; about the processes Douglas uses to make an image look the way it does; and about how his subjects have emerged from seemingly long-lost historical moments and ended up in his pictures.” — Katie Anania

This week, Stan Douglas will give the UCLA Department of Art Lecture at the Hammer.

STAN DOUGLAS talk

Thursday, April 25, at 7:30 pm.

Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

*See Jacques DerridaMemoirs of the Blind: The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins, translated by Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 23.

Stan Douglas, from top: Exodus, 1975, 2012, digital C-print mounted on aluminum; Malabar People series, Dancer, 1951, 2011, digital fiber print; The Secret Agent installation view, David Zwirner, New York, 2016, six-channel video installation, eight audio channels with six musical variations, color, sound, 53:35 minutes; Luanda-Kinshasa (2013, still, Jason Moran at left), single-channel video projection, color, sound, 6 hours, 1 minute; Abbott and Cordova, 7 August 1971, 2008, chromogenic print mounted on aluminum; Inconsolable Memories (2005, still), two synchronized asymmetrical film loop projections, 16 mm black-and-white film, sound, fifteen permutations with a common period of 5:39 minutes. Images © Stan Douglas and courtesy the artist, David Zwirner, and Victoria Miro.

HAL FOSTER IN CONVERSATION

“I’m a writer first, a critic-historian-theorist second. That said, I’ve never wanted the writing to be self-involved or involuted; I’ve always wanted to be as lucid as possible—difficult but lucid… I don’t like it when criticism becomes subjectivist; that’s not much more than sensibility criticism come again…

“Most people think we are in a ‘post-critical age’; they even hope we are. I understand the fatigue with the negativity of criticism, but mostly that fatigue is laziness—and an anti-intellectualism that is far more American than apple pie ever was. It’s obvious that we need criticism now more than ever.” — Hal Foster*

Hal Foster—who is a visiting Getty scholar this semester and whose new book collects fifteen years of conversations with Richard Serra—recently spoke at LACMA, and will give two more public conversations over the next week or so.

JASON E. SMITH PRESENTS HAL FOSTER

Tuesday, February 26, at 7:30 pm

ArtCenter College of Design

Hillside Campus

1700 Lida Street, Pasadena.

HAL FOSTER AND CHARLES RAY

Wednesday, March 6, at 7:30 pm.

Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood, Los Angeles.

*Jarrett Earnest, “Hal Foster,” in What it Means to Write About Art: Interviews with Art Critics (New York: David Zwirner Books, 2018), 154.

From top: Hal Foster, courtesy Hammer Museum; book cover credits: Yale University Press; Verso Books (cover illustration, Isa Genzken, X-Ray, 1991, black-and-white photograph, Galerie Buchholz, Berlin and Cologne); The New Press.

THE HOURS AND TIMES

In the early 1990s, Ian Hart played John Lennon in two movies.* The first—THE HOURS AND TIMES (1991)—imagines Lennon and Beatles manager Brian Epstein engaging in a nascent sexual relationship during a long weekend in Barcelona.

The film—written and directed by Christopher Munch, and co-starring David Angus as Epstein—has been restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, and will screen on the closing day of their 2019 Festival of Preservation.

THE HOURS AND TIMES

Sunday, February 17, at 8:59 pm.

Billy Wilder Theater, Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood, Los Angeles.

*Hart’s second Lennon portrayal was in Backbeat (1994), directed by Iain Softley.

From top: Ian Hart (foreground) as John Lennon and David Angus as Brian Epstein in The Hours and Times; Angus (left) and Hart (2). Images courtesy the filmmaker, Antarctic Pictures, and Good Machine.

TONI MORRISON — THE FOREIGNER’S HOME

THE FOREIGNER’S HOME mixes footage from the events and exhibitions that took place at the Louvre during Toni Morrison’s guest curatorship in 2006 with present-day clips and interviews.

The documentary’s directors—Rian Brown and Geoff Pingree—will take part in a post-screening Q & A with Caroline Streeter.

THE FOREIGNER’S HOME

Wednesday, January 16, at 7:30 pm.

Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

From top: Toni Morrison at the Louvre in 2006, image courtesy Rian Brown and Geoff Pingree; poetry slam at the Louvre, 2006.