December 19, 1997
Brooklyn, New York - Influential architects and major building projects of the 20th century are the focus of Architecture on Screen '98, a two-day international festival of film and video, presented by the Program for Art on Film, Inc. in collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Pratt Institute. The only festival of its kind in the United States, the biennial event debuts Friday and Saturday, January 30-31, at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Highlighting the schedule is a screening of the just-completed Concert of Wills: Making the Getty Center, produced by Maysles Films. Shot over a twelve-year period, this feature-length documentary traces the conception, design, and construction of one of the major building projects of our century: the new billion-dollar Getty Center in Los Angeles. Directed by Susan Froemke and Bob Eisenhardt, with eminent documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, Concert of Wills captures the complex interactions among architect Richard Meier, Getty Museum director John Walsh, artist/garden designer Robert Irwin, and other Getty principals-the architectural and artistic debates, the intense and lengthy process of design and construction, and the unique challenges involved in such a formidable architectural project. The filmmakers will be present for the screening and discussion on Friday evening, January 30.
Two other feature-length documentaries will be presented. Mary Jane Colter: House Made of Dawn-an absorbing study of the work and influence of this pioneering woman architect-directed by Karen A. Bartlett, will have its world premiere on Friday afternoon at 4:30p.m. Colter (1869-1958) was chief architect and designer for the Fred Harvey Company and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad. Eleven of her buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places and five have been designated National Historic Landmarks. The filmmaker will be present.
The festival closes on Saturday evening with the U. S. premiere of Robinson in Space, by British director Patrick Keiller. Keiller's fictional character, Robinson-an aesthete with an interest in economic geography-was introduced in a previous feature, London. The "space" alluded to is the increasingly unknown space of present-day England, as the unseen Robinson-accompanied by his sardonic traveling companion (the voice of actor Paul Scofield)-here embarks on an exploratory journey suggested by Daniel Defoe's 18th-century travel diary, "Tour through Great Britain."
Other festival selections focus on significant building projects, including two French productions: Charlety, a Stadium in the City, about the Paris sports complex designed by Henri and Bruno Gaudin that opened in 1994, and Nemausus 1, about a public housing project in Nîmes, designed by Jean Nouvel. Jørn Utzon: Clouds introduces the visionary Danish architect who designed the celebrated Sydney Opera House-and the conflicts that resulted in his resignation before the project was completed. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a brief introduction to Frank Gehry's highly acclaimed new museum building in Bilbao, Spain.
U.S.-based Michael Blackwood and U.K.-based Murray Grigor, two of the most prolific directors of architecture films, are represented by two selections each: Blackwood with profiles of architects Peter Eisenman and Louis Kahn, Grigor with a profile of the team of Charles Gwathmey and Robert Siegel, and a new release about Italian architect Carlo Scarpa. Both filmmakers will be present.
Other selections include: A Vision Built: Zaha Hadid, a German production about the cutting-edge Iranian-born architect, and The Walls of Mexico, a Belgian production that focuses on the colorful architecture of Luis Barragán and its relation to the work of the Mexican muralists. Also of interest: Bitings and Other Effects, which takes viewers on a mad tarantella through the landscape and buildings of Palermo, Sicily; Two Impossible Films, a witty meditation on Vancouver as Hollywood's most popular "stand-in" city; and Il Girasole, a poetic essay about the 1930s-built "sunflower" house near Verona, Italy, which rotates to follow the sun.
As a special Saturday afternoon event, the festival will present a round-table discussion with architects Peter Eisenman, Charles Gwathmey and Robert Siegel, film directors Michael Blackwood and Murray Grigor, and other participants.
Immediately following the panel, noted architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable will present a talk based on her latest book, The Unreal America: Architecture and Illusion (New York: The New Press, 1997). Throughout the two-day festival, architects, scholars, and critics will be on hand to introduce the film programs.
Following the festival's Brooklyn Museum of Art debut, a package of videos is expected to tour four to five additional cities around the country, beginning in Boston, at the Museum of Fine Arts, February 19-March 6, and Washington, DC, in April, at the National Gallery of Art and the National Building Museum.
Architecture on Screen was developed with a planning grant from the Graham Foundation, with support from Pratt Institute and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and with the cooperation of the French Embassy Cultural Services, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Montreal International Festival of Films on Art, and the International Biennial film+arc.graz (Austria).
Architecture on Screen '98
will take place in the Brooklyn Museum of Art's Iris and B. Gerald
Cantor Auditorium, a notable architectural space designed by the
world-renowned architect Arata Isozaki. Admission is $6 per day
($4 for BMA Members, seniors and students with valid I.D.). This
includes a pass to all festival screenings as well as Museum admission.
Passes can be purchased each day at the Information Desk in the
Grand Lobby of the Museum. For public information, contact the
Brooklyn Museum at 718-638-5000 x230.
November 17, 1997
Brooklyn, New York - Ada Louise Huxtable, the dean of American architecture critics, will head a distinguished roster of architects, filmmakers, and critics participating in Architecture on Screen '98, a two-day international festival of films and videos focusing on architecture and urban design. The only festival of its kind in the United States, the biennial event debuts Friday and Saturday, January 30-31, 1998, at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, with screenings scheduled from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. each day and at 7:00 p.m. each evening.
Presented by the Program for Art on Film in collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Pratt Institute, Architecture on Screen '98 is a showcase for new and innovative works, including international productions that seldom find their way onto American screens. The festival's two full days of screenings include half a dozen U.S. premieres, and will feature works by such award-winning international filmmakers as Murray Grigor (U.K.), Stan Neumann (France), and Pi Michael (Denmark).
In addition to profiles of noted architects Louis Kahn, Charles Gwathmey and Robert Siegel, the festival program introduces audiences to Jørn Utzon, the Danish designer of the Sydney Opera House, and Luis Barragan, whose work fused International Style modern architecture with the traditional building styles of his native Mexico. Other films explore architecture and the filmmaking process, including Bitings and Other Effects, which takes viewers on a mad tarantella through Palermo, Sicily; and Two Impossible Films, a witty commentary on Vancouver as Hollywood's most popular "stand-in" city.
Following the Brooklyn Museum of Art debut, a package of festival videos is expected to tour four to five additional sites around the country, starting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in February, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC in April.
Nadine Covert, Executive Director of the Program for Art on Film and Director of Architecture on Screen '98, notes that "Although art and architecture film festivals are held regularly in Europe and Canada, there have been none in this country for many years-leaving most Americans with few opportunities to see new international work." The festival is planned as a biennial event, to alternate each year with Art on Screen, a film festival on the arts that will premiere in 1999.
Thomas Hanrahan, Dean of the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, notes that "Architecture on Screen presents an exciting opportunity to bring together architects, filmmakers, historians, critics, and others to explore how moving-image media can contribute to the study and appreciation of architecture."
Adds Arnold Lehman, Director of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, "The Museum is proud be the premiere venue for Architecture on Screen '98. The Program for Art on Film has created an outstanding program, and we are pleased to present it in an equally outstanding setting: the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, designed by world-renowned architect Arata Isozaki."