Short Films by Robert Frank
- Tuesday June 02, 2015 9:00 PM
June 2 — Short Films by Robert Frank
Tuesday Evenings at the Modern: Films opens with seminal works by the American photographer and documentary filmmaker Robert Frank. Frank is best known for his photography book The Americans, 1958, which offered a new approach to photography and had a significant influence on many of the artists represented in the Museum’s current exhibition Framing Desire: Photography and Video. Here, we focus on Frank’s films, which share his keen sense and authentic presentation. The following Robert Frank films are from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s film collection:
Pull My Daisy, 1959
Pull My Daisy is a classic look at the soul of the beat generation, made with writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and painters Alfred Leslie, Larry Rivers, and Alice Neel. It was written and narrated by Kerouac, based on his unproduced play The Beat Generation. It tells the story of a bishop (Richard Bellamy) and his mother (Alice Neel) who pay a visit to Milo, a railroad worker. At the same time, his poet friends, Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, and Gregory Corso, hang around quizzing the bishop about the meaning of life and its everyday relationship to art and poetry. Pull My Daisy is recognized as one of the most important works of avant-garde cinema.
The Present, 1996
Simple objects, photographs, and events prompt Frank to self-conscious rumination. From his homes in New York and Nova Scotia and on visits to friends, the artist contemplates his relationships, the anniversary of his daughter’s death, his son’s mental illness, and his work.
True Story, 2004/2008
Speaking in voiceover, the artist narrates scenes shot in his homes in New York and Nova Scotia. His rambling commentary returns to familiar themes of memory and the loss of friends and family members. Brief excerpts from earlier films are shown, along with Frank’s photographs, the art of his wife, June Leaf, and extraordinarily detailed letters written by his son, Pablo (1951–1994). Alternately poignant, reflective, self-mocking, and angry, this candid autobiography reveals Frank’s late career preoccupations. True Story received the Principal Prize at the 2009 Oberhausen Short Film Festival.k
Image credit: Alfred Leslie and Robert Frank, Pull My Daisy, New York, 1959
Tuesday Evenings at the Modern: Films is a new summer program. As an extension of the very popular lecture series Tuesday Evenings at the Modern, which is offered 10 weeks in the spring and fall of each year, this film-based weekly program runs through the summer months and strives to continue the consideration of ideas and issues pertaining to the art and architecture of the Modern and to contemporary art in general.
Selections for screenings are related to or recommended by artists and speakers who have participated in the lecture series or are otherwise affiliated with the museum. There is nothing particularly prescriptive about the line-up, but as with the lecture series, themes can be found and connections made. To create a full experience, these presentations include a brief introduction and opportunity for discussion following the films.
Seating is available in the Modern’s auditorium at 6:30 pm, and the program runs from 7 pm to no later than 9 pm. The museum’s galleries and Café Modern are open until 7 pm on Tuesdays during the run of Tuesday Evenings at the Modern: Films.
This program is free and open to the public. Up to two free tickets can be obtained at the admission desk beginning at 5 pm the day of the screening.