“Influenced by avantgarde artist-refugees from Europe, non-representational art dominated the art market after WW2 and pictorial comment on social conditions, popular before the war and still vital in some of Picasso’s work, went out of fashion. For the owners threatened by the appeal of socialism, it had become time to change the subject to pure aesthetics: ‘Rockefeller’s Paintings’ one MoMA show advertised. In a society that allows both non-religious and multi-religious thinking and where opposing beliefs can neutralize each other, an openness to new thinking is possible and a great development in the art did take place. Read More »
The film could have well been called KICKING AND SCREAMING but that only describes me in the process of making it, questioning its taste. Once the message kicked in it overrode all objection. The piece demanded J.G. Thirlwell’s music, normally way too overtly expressive for me as most of my stuff comes out of painting and is also to be absorbed in silence. Who will even notice visual innovation now, or what’s happening with time? Determining a place between two and three dimensions, pushing time to take on substance, is what I do. SEEKING THE MONKEY KING is a reversion to my mid-twenties and that sense of horror that drove the making of STAR SPANGLED TO DEATH. –Ken Jacobs Read More »
Mountain ranges lighter than air. Read More »
WARNING: This work contains throbbing light. Should not be viewed by individuals with epilepsy or seizure disorders.
Synopsis (by Mark McElhatten)
The cast is in flux — the animate and the inanimate get double billed with that dynamic duo — Push and Pull. If matter has consciousness and has renounced movement as Henri Bergson suggests, in order to conserve energy, then here we have a dramatic apostasy. A broken vow of stasis, a flood of energy. What beautiful instability and pulsation in this floating world off a hinge, drawn through invisible bellows, exhaled, exultant. Read More »
Images gathered by Bob Fleischner, sound-film composed by Ken Jacobs. “Jack says I made the film too heavy. It was his and Bob’s intention to create light monster-movie comedy. Two comedies, actually, two separate stories that were being shot simultaneously until they had a falling-out over who should pay for the raw stock destroyed in a fire started when Jack’s cat knocked over a candle; Jack claimed it was an act of God. In the winter of ’59 Bob showed me the footage. Having no idea of the original story plans I was able to view the material not as the fragments of a failure, of two failures, but as the makings of a new entirety. Bob gave over the footage to me and with it the freedom to develop it as I saw fit. Read More »
STAR SPANGLED TO DEATH is an epic film shot for hundreds of dollars! combining found-films with my own more-or-less staged filming, it pictures a stolen and dangerously sold-out America, allowing examples of popular culture to self-indict. Racial and religious insanity, monopolization of wealth and the purposeful dumbing down of citizens and addiction to war oppose a Beat playfulness.
A handful of artists costumed and performing unconvincingly appeal to audience imagination and understanding to complete the picture. Jack Smith’s pre-FLAMING CREATURES performance as The Spirit Not Of Life But Of Living (the movie has raggedly cosmic pretensions), celebrating Suffering (rattled impoverished artist Jerry Sims) at the crux of sentient existence, is a visitation of the divine. Read More »
Ken Jacobs’ most recent stroboscopic work transforms a typical New York street scaffolding scene into a mesmeric, Christo-esque merry-go-round.
In his most recent stroboscopic work, Canopy, Ken Jacobs sets a typical New York street scaffolding scene into mesmeric, gravity-defying motion. An elegant, immersive miniature with a strange faux stereoscopic effect, it takes off like a Christo-wrapped gravitron. Read More »