Making Movies: Filming Artists at Work

Here’s a call for papers for the session I’m co-chairing at SECAC 2013 (Greensboro, North Carolina). If we have a good response, we’ll propose an edited volume on the subject, so even if you can’t make the conference, please consider submitting a proposal. And spread the word! [Deadline: April 20, 2013. For full details, click here.]

We solicit proposals for papers addressing any aspect of documentary films showing artists at work.

These films are nearly as old as the film medium itself. They can seem artless and straightforward, like the early footage of Renoir painting, or they can appear highly complicated and elaborately staged, like Clouzot’s Mystery of Picasso (1956). The popularity of these films shows no sign of abating: consider the recent ones about Andy Goldsworthy, Gerhard Richter, and street art (Exit Through the Gift Shop), or consider PBS’s Art21 series.

As Namuth’s 1950 film of Pollock reminds us, these films have sometimes provided audiences with indelible, if potentially misleading, images and ideas about artists’ working processes. They can also be contested cultural products. What film-makers want from a film or video may, or may not, align with the desires of the artist, and vice versa.

To follow this line of inquiry, our panel is also interested in how artists use film to deal with concerns arising out of their other work. Since mid-century across the globe, many practitioners have found film and video expedient for investigating time and perception, demonstrating specific visual concepts or documenting performance.

Paper proposals will be considered for inclusion in the conference and/or for consideration in a possible edited volume on the subject.