Pop Cinema: Art and Film in the UK and US

28 - 30 Apr 2011
19:00:00 - 21:00:00
The Ibrahim Theater, International House, 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

Pop Cinema is a three-night program of films made in the context of Pop Art in England and the US, from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. While the influence of cinema is well known in the history of Pop Art, the production of cinema itself has been almost completely neglected. Many of the artists associated with Pop Art in the UK and the US made films, but only Andy Warhol’s films are well-known. Along with artist-produced films, a significant group of documentary films were also made about these artists, narrating the history of Pop as it was unfolding. Neither the artist-made films nor the documentaries have been properly acknowledged for their crucial contribution to the history of Pop Art. This will be the first program in the US to bring together a significant number of films made in the context of Pop Art.

In films whose editing was often hyperkinetic, featuring images of consumer goods and consumer life, appropriated directly from the mass-media, Pop Cinema brought the distractions of low culture into the realm of the avant-garde, demonstrating that critical purchase could be gained from re-shuffling the codes of consumption that had come to dominate everyday life. Long before MTV, live-mix video, or YouTube remixing, Pop Cinema offered an important early moment of recognition that there are pleasures to be found in the cinematic scrambling of high and low culture.

The Pop Cinema program gives attention, for the first time, to Pop Film as a genre. It features over five-hours of rarely-screened British and American films that operate at the intersection of popular culture, popular art and the cinematic avant-garde. Part One focuses on “UK Pop,” and includes films by and about members of the Independent Group, films by Jeff Keen and Derek Boshier, as well as Ken Russell’s documentary Pop Goes The Easel. Part Two focuses on “US Pop,” and includes works by Stan VanDerBeek, Kenneth Anger, Marie Menken, and many more. Part Three offers a panel on the topic of Pop and Cinema, with leading scholars in cinema studies and art history. The panel is followed by the screening of the feature-length film Daddy made by Peter Whitehead and Niki de Saint Phalle.

Curated by William Kaizen.