Tonight will be the 90th edition of the Academy Awards-- an event that was originally created by the Hollywood film moguls to honour each other and create legitimacy for a medium and an industry that was still very new and even suspect at the turn on the twentieth century. Indeed, one of the important themes that I explore with students in my film courses is the critical role that public relations and the vertical integration of the film industry played in reinforcing the perception of film as a kind of modern religion, complete with its screen Gods, ritualized ceremonies like the Oscars, and unquestioned practices related to film production, exhibition, and distribution.
My chosen artist this week, Sarah Morris, is a NY-based artist and filmmaker, and has made it part of her practice to examine the interrelated connections between the world of painting and the world of cinema. Her large scale abstract paintings reflect the networks of power in large-scale bureaucratic institutions, mirroring related structures in both the art world and the film industry. Her work Creative Artists Agency (Los Angeles) (2005) is described by MoMA in the following terms:
"Glossy, bright, and geometric, this painting is part of a series by Morris that is inspired by the city of Los Angeles. Its title refers to the powerful Creative Artists Agency, a talent agency that is a key player in the invisible Hollywood network of actors, directors, and producers who are also the subjects of the artist's video Los Angeles (2004). The hexagonal structures are a visually complex interpretation of the web-like, convoluted power relationships that dominate the entertainment industry. Morris charts these connections to create a flashy, hard surface that reflects a culture of superficiality."
In recent years, pressures have grown once again within Hollywood, as in many other powerful institutions (including the art world), to examine and openly question the most damaging and exclusionary practices of the film industry. This process, which in earlier episodes of Hollywood history brought about the dismantling of the big studio monopolies, the freeing up of actors from stringent contracts, and the recognition and promotion of women and minorities to the upper ranks of the industry, is mirrored in the choices played out at the Oscars-- wins, losses, and yes, snubs. It is a fascinating event and one that I watch almost exclusively for the unstated tensions, and I know I will be rooting for many important and path-breaking films, actors, and creatives to be honoured tonight. Enjoy the links, and enjoy the Oscars if you will be tuning in.
- How Artwork Gets into Movies
- Art that Embraces the Incoherence of the Internet
- Damien Hirst’s Latest Conceptual Feat? Painting the Canvases Himself
- So What If Art Selfies Are Narcissistic?
- Facebook censors 30,000 year-old Venus of Willendorf as 'pornographic'
- These Trump Paintings Are a Highlight of the ADAA Fair
- They Died Near the Border. Art Students Hope to Bring Them Back.
- Mindfulness exercises ‘help students stay focused in class’
- In Five Words, Designer Sums Up Evolution of Leading Tech Logos
- Conserving Whaam! (VIDEO)