Monday, July 17, 2006

Zeke's Movie Review - Who Gets to Call it Art?


I first came accross Who Gets to Call it Art? at iFilm, because (I think) Zeke's Gallery has some vids being hosted at iFilm, too. Then 'cuz the fine folk at Cinema Abattoir left their equipment here over the weekend, I was forced, forced I tell you, to go to Boite Noire and rent everything I could carry.

Who Gets to Call it Art? was top of the pile. I watched it twice this weekend. That should tell you a bunch. In a nutshell, my only beef is with the title. It really should have been called something along the lines, of "Everybody Loves Henry." Or "Henry's a Great Guy." Or, or, or. Who gets to Call it Art? implies, to me, that there is some sort of critical eye being used. There is none.

Despite that, it is fun romp through a much discussed and relatively influential period in Art History. I particularly enjoyed getting to see who was still alive, and hear who had the silly voices.

John Chamberlain, James Rosenquist, Larry Poons, Mark di Suvero, Francesco Clemente, Ellsworth Kelly, David Hockney, and Frank Stella are all interviewed for the film, and all have only wonderful, amazing, fond, beautiful and extremely happy memories of this guy I had never heard of before, Henry Geldzahler. There are also some pretty darn cool archival things that they got access to as well, including some informal talk that Mr. Geldzahler gave in 1980 that furnishes lots of yucks.

I almost immediately wanted to go out and find someone or something with an opposing viewpoint. This should be fairly easy, as it seems that just about everything Mr. Geldzahler did was either filmed, painted or drawn. However, it is likely to be rather long and tedious. Over the past 25 years, the New York Times has published his name on average, once every other month. Not bad for a guy who has been dead for half of that time. Over an even longer period of time the New Yorker has published his name only 12 times (color me surprised!) and to put everything in perspective, the Metropolitan Museum only has his name on their website twice.

I think the best part for me, was how I was able to draw some parallels about the Quebecois Art scene now, and New York/American art scene in the 1940's. And I'm already writing my notes about what would be a comparable thing to Henry's Show, using only Quebecois artists. Unfortunately, I think we're going to have to wait until 2020, if the length of time really needs to be 30 years. And just in case you think I'm joking, the film was released in February, 2006. Here we have a thing called the International Festival of Films on Art, the people who run the festival tout it as being the most important festival of its kind, right. Who Gets to Call it Art? was nowhere to be seen this past March.

Then, I'm going to have to keep an eye out for Ivan Karp, he seems like a really nice guy (more here, and here).

Finally, according to iFilm, the trailer for Who Gets to Call it Art? has been viewed 536 times as of 11:16 am today. According to Google, The Missive has been viewed 192 times, I kinda like that comparison.

For anybody in town, I will be returning it to Boite Noire tomorrow, becasue I need to see it one more time.

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