Tag Archives: Susan Sontag

SUSAN SONTAG — DUET FOR CANNIBALS

I don’t feel this film is necessary. This film exists because I always wanted to make films.Susan Sontag, to Jonas Mekas

In 1968—after her trip to Hanoi and a year before the publication of her second essay collection, Styles of Radical Will—Sontag went to Sweden to make her first film. DUET FOR CANNIBALS, which premiered at the 1969 New York Film Festival, has been restored by Metrograph Pictures and is playing at its Manhattan cinema.

The film is in Swedish—with subtitles by its director—and stars Adriana Asti, Lars Ekborg, Gösta Ekman, and Agneta Ekmanner.

DUET FOR CANNIBALS

Through November 28.

Metrograph

7 Ludlow Street, New York City.

From top: Susan Sontag on the set of her film Duett för kannibaler (Duet for Cannibals, 1969), courtesy and © Grove Press / Photofest; Gost Ekman (left) and Agneta Ekmanner; cover of the Noonday publication of the screenplay, courtesy and © the publisher; Swedish film poster; Adriana Asti and Ekman (2). Images courtesy and © the artists, their estates, Evergreen Film, and Metrograph Pictures.

THE DAY AT ROYCE HALL

THE DAY—a performative investigation of the diurnal rhythms of life and what comes after—is a superlative collaboration between avant-garde cellist Maya Beiser (who conceived the work), dancer Wendy Whelan, composer David Lang, and legendary choreographer Lucinda Childs.

When [Childs started] choreographing dances, in 1968, it was with the predilection for keeping the movement vocabulary relatively simple, seeking complexity elsewhere—in the intricate design of spatial forms and in timing. But in the music-based works choreographed since 1979, which propose a much more complex movement vocabulary, Childs has broken radically with the anti-ballet aesthetic of the other ex- or neo-Duchampian choreographers with whom she has been grouped.

Of all the adepts of the rigorously modern among contemporary choreographers, she has the subtlest and most fastidious relation to classical dance… Childs does not feed balletic movements and positions into an eclectic mix but wholly transforms and reinterprets them. In this, as in other matters, she is adamantly anti-collage.Susan Sontag*

THE DAY was commissioned by Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina, Jacob’s Pillow, the Joyce Theater, and CAP UCLA, and will be performed by Beiser and Whelan twice this weekend at Royce Hall.

THE DAY

Friday and Saturday, October 18 and 19, at 8 pm.

Royce Hall, UCLA

10745 Dickson Court, Los Angeles.

*Susan Sontag, “A Lexicon for Available Light,” Art in America, December 1983. Collected in Where the Stress Falls (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001). Reprinted in Susan Sontag: Later Essays (New York: Library of America, 2017), 364–379.

The Day, Maya Beiser, Wendy Whelan, David Lang, Lucinda Childs: Beiser and Whelan in performance, photographs by Nils Schlebusch. Images courtesy and © the artists, the photographer, and CAP UCLA.

JAMES BIDGOOD — REVERIES

REVERIES—an exhibition of work by the highly influential photographer and filmmaker James Bidgood (try imagining Pierre et Gilles or David LaChapelle without him)—will be up for two more weeks at the Museum of Sex in Manhattan. The show was curated by Lissa Rivera and the artistic director was Serge Becker.

Bidgood’s work is so self-contained that it appears to exist outside of time. Historical referents and views of exteriors hardly impinge at all on his visual world; and yet Bidgood was very much a man of his era. He contributed lush color photographs to magazines such as Muscleboy and The Young Physique during their vogue in the early 1960s. He began work on PINK NARCISSUS in 1963. That year, Jack Smith finished Flaming Creatures and shot Normal Love, Andy Warhol began making films, and Kenneth Anger directed Scorpio Rising; the following year Susan Sontag would publish “Notes on ‘Camp.’ ” 

As the ’60s were happening outside his door, Bidgood was shooting mainly inside, in his cramped Hell’s Kitchen apartment, constantly augmenting and revising his elaborate sets and compositions to approximate the baroque ideal he envisioned. — William E. Jones

JAMES BIDGOOD—REVERIES

Through September 8.

Museum of Sex

233 Fifth Avenue (at 27th Street), New York City.

James Bidgood, from top: Lobster (Jay Garvin), from the series Water Colors, circa early 1960s, digital C-print; Pan (Bobby Kendall), circa late 1960s, digital C-print; Double Image (Kendall), from the series Test Shots, circa early 1960s, digital C-print; Willow Tree (Bruce Kirkman, detail), circa 1965, digital C-print; Street Scene from Pink Narcissus (1971), circa late-1960s; backstage during the filming of Pink Narcissus, contact sheet, circa 1960s; ; Cyclist Sprawled on Tiles in Front of Urinals from Pink Narcissus (Trate Farell), circa mid-1960s; Smoking, Sandcastles (Kendall and Garvin), circa 1960s, digital C-print; Bobby Kendall Seated in Chair Holding Phone, circa mid-1960s; Pearl, Water Colors (Garvin), circa early 1960s; Mythical Woodland, Snake Silhouetted by Moon (Blue Moon), circa late-1960s. Images courtesy and © the artist, ClampArt, New York, and Kelly McKaig.

WARHOL WOMEN AT LÉVY GORVY

Forty-two paintings of women by Andy Warhol—including portraits of Gertrude Stein, Ethel Scull, Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton, Golda Meir, Debbie Harry, Marilyn Monroe, and the artist’s mother Julia Warhola—are now on view at Lévy Gorvy in Manhattan.

In a silver-tin-foil-covered room in the gallery, a selection of Warhol’s 1964–1966 Screen Test shorts will play on a loop. Among the artist’s subjects for these 3-minute films were Yoko Ono, Edie Sedgwick, Marisa Berenson, Barbara Rubin, Amy Taubin, Susan Sontag, Niki de Saint Phalle, Cass Elliott, Donyale Luna, Holly Solomon, Maureen Tucker, and Nico.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met a collector today who is in between, let’s say, 25 to 65 [years old] who will tell me, ‘I won’t collect Warhol,’ and I don’t know that about any other artist… Our great-grandchildren will still be collecting Warhol more than many of the artists that are more pricey today.” — Dominique Lévy

WARHOL WOMEN

Through June 15.

Lévy Gorvy

909 Madison Avenue (at 73rd Street), New York City.

Andy Warhol, from top: Judy Garland (Multicolor), 1978, acrylic and silkscreen on canvas; Wilhelmina Ross, from the series Ladies and Gentlemen, circa 1974–1975; Triple Mona Lisa, 1964, acrylic and silkscreen on canvas; Kimiko Powers, 1972, acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas; Aretha Franklin, 1986, synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas; Red Jackie, 1964, acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, photograph courtesy Froehlich Collection, Stuttgart. Images © 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Paintings photographed by Tim Nighswander, courtesy Lévy Gorvy.

BRIAN DILLON’S ESSAYISM

Considering the work of Virginia WoolfMichel de Montaigne, Roland Barthes, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Georges Perec, Elizabeth Hardwick, Susan Sontag, E.M. Cioran, William Carlos Williams, and Maurice Blanchot, among others, Brian Dillon’s ESSAYISM—“a love letter to belle-lettrists, an account of the indispensable lifelines of reading and writing”—is out now.*

 

Brian Dillon, Essayism: On Form, Feeling, and Non-Fiction (New York: New York Review Books, 2018).*

Elizabeth Hardwick.