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.
June 2 - Short Films of 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.
June 9 - KIDS, 1995
"I don't try to be controversial, I just try to be honest and tell the truth about life. Coming from the art world, I never think there are things you can't do or show. I think that Hollywood films are really underestimating their audience. I've been an artist for many, many years. I'm not interested in making films to make money. I'm interested in making work that I'm satisfied with, showing people's lives that aren't shown. If I could see this anywhere else, I wouldn't have to make these films." Larry Clark
The Modern recently acquired photographs from artist Larry Clark's Tulsa Portfolio
, 1971, that launched a new and highly influential style in photography - decidedly subjective, offering a lived experience rather than one merely observed.
Clark's directorial debut, KIDS, 1995, established his reputation as one of the most controversial and influential filmmakers of our time. Seen as an "instant classic" and a "wake-up call" upon its release, KIDS is centered on a day in the life of a group of sexually active teenagers in New York City and their unrestrained behavior toward sex and substance abuse (alcohol and other drugs) during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the mid-1990s. The screenplay is by Larry Clark and Harmony Korine, based on the story written by Clark and Jim Lewis. The film, starring Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, and Chloë Sevigny, was initially given a NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Association but was later released without a rating.
June 16 - Mistaken for Strangers, 2013
Hailed by Michael Moore as "one of the best documentaries about a band that I've ever seen" and by Pitchfork as "the funniest, most meta music movie since Spinal Tap," Mistaken for Strangers is a truly hilarious, unusual, and moving film about two brothers, Matt and Tom Berninger. Matt, the lead singer of the critically acclaimed rock band The National, invites his brother Tom, a loveable slacker, filmmaker, and metal-head still living with his parents, to join the band as a roadie as The National embarks on their biggest tour to date. Unbeknownst to Matt, Tom decides to film the entire adventure, and what begins as a rock documentary becomes an honest portrait of a charged relationship between two brothers and the frustration of unfulfilled creative ambition.
Mistaken for Strangers relates to the Modern's recent acquisition of A Lot of Sorrow, 2013-2014, by Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson, for which Kjartansson enlisted The National to perform the song "Sorrow" repeatedly, for more than six hours. In this minimalist yet expansive video of the performance, the band commences with "Sorrow found me when I was young, sorrow waited, sorrow won," conjuring notions of romantic suffering and serving as a melodic and melancholic soundtrack for the Modern's current exhibition Framing Desire: Photography and Video.
June 23 - Exhibition, 2013
The film Exhibition, 2013, was enthusiastically recommended by artist Janet Zweig, who delivered a Tuesday Evenings at the Modern lecture in spring 2015.
Exhibition depicts married, middle-aged artists who live in a beautiful modernist house in London's Chelsea. Also designed and built by an artist, the house is at once a labyrinth, a refuge, a prison, and a psychological battleground. As the couple slowly arrive at the painful decision to sell the place, they begin a process of saying goodbye to their shared history under the same roof. Written and directed by artist and filmmaker Joanna Hogg, Exhibition stars former lead singer for The Slits Viv Albertine and Turner-nominated artist Liam Gillick.
"Exhibition is a superbly glacial and composed experiment in fictional cine-portraiture; a refrigerated study in domesticity and sophistication, mysterious and preposterous - a movie that might claim its lineage from Rachel Whiteread's cast sculpture House, or David Hockney's painting Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy." Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
June 30 - The Dance of Reality, 2013
Alejandro Jodorowsky's film The Dance of Reality, 2013, was recommended by recent Tuesday Evenings lecturer Sina Najafi, editor-in-chief of Cabinet magazine and the editorial director of Cabinet Books, who presented a special project based on the work of Gordon Matta-Clark.
After a 23-year hiatus, The Dance of Reality marks the triumphant return of Jodorowsky, the visionary Chilean filmmaker behind the cult classics El Topo and The Holy Mountain. In this radiantly visceral autobiographical film, a young Jodorowsky is confronted by a collection of compelling characters that contribute to his burgeoning surreal consciousness. The legendary filmmaker was born in 1929 in Tocopilla, a coastal town on the edge of the Chilean desert, where the film was shot. Blending his personal history with metaphor, mythology, and poetry, The Dance of Reality reflects Jodorowsky's philosophy that reality is not objective, but rather a "dance" created by our own imaginations.
July 7 - Tom Sachs Movies
"Any time you teach something it's an opportunity to define it in greater depth and seriousness for yourself. So the movies are and continue to be a way for me to understand my practice in depth." Tom Sachs
Tom Sachs, described in the New Yorker as "a mix of mad scientist, obsessive tinkerer, cult guru, task master general, starry-eyed theoretician and workout champion," created "the studio" as a means to accomplish the incredibly ambitious work that has made him one of today's most inspiring and influential sculptors. Referring to "the studio" as a teaching hospital, Sachs produced rules-of-operation, postindustrial films that are required viewing for all studio applicants. These films can be found at tomsachs.org and are available to anyone. This access has given Sachs's "movies" a cult-like following thanks to their practical wit and philosophical insight. In each of these brief instructional films there is as much poetry as instruction at play, and in the end, their straightforward, unforgiving demands seem like words to live by for all.
After Sachs's spring 2015 Tuesday Evenings lecture was received with great enthusiasm, it was clear that these short films should be screened as part of the Modern's new Tuesday Evenings at the Modern: Films program. Sachs generously agreed to our holding a one-night festival to offer fans and newcomers an opportunity to gather together to watch, consider, and discuss favorites such as Love Letter to Plywood, How to Sweep, Color, Space Camp, and Ten Bullets.
July 14 - Short Films by Laurie Simmons
Laurie Simmons's imaginative, playful, and psychologically charged photographs garnered her an international reputation as one of the leading artists to emerge from the New York Pictures Generation of the 1970s and 1980s. Her photograph Walking House, 1989, was recently acquired by the Modern and can now be seen in the exhibition Framing Desire: Photography and Video. After a well-received Tuesday Evenings lecture by the artist this spring, we now present her humorous, touching, highly imaginative, and exquisitely crafted films.
The Music of Regret, 2006, is a three-act mini-musical for which Simmons enlists musicians, puppeteers, Alvin Ailey dancers, cinematographer Ed Lachman, and actress Meryl Streep to create a narrative in which objects that had populated Simmons's earlier photographs are set in motion. Vintage child-craft puppets enact the pain and regret that erupt between two feuding families. The protagonist, a female ventriloquist dummy sings to her "dummy" suitors, while objects (including a gun, house, cake, and pocket watch) dance on human legs for the privilege of being noticed.
In addition to The Music of Regret, some of Simmons's intriguing and beautiful shorter films will be screened including Slow Dance, 2007; Geisha Song, 2011; and Ringtone, a looped, still-frame animation with sound from 2014.
July 21 - Tiny Furniture, 2010
"Why do I feel such affection for Tiny Furniture? It's a well-crafted film, for one thing. . . . It shows a command of style and purpose; Dunham knows what she wants and how she needs to get it, and succeeds. Her character Aura is not charismatic or glowing or mercurial or seductive or any of those advertising adjectives, but she believes she deserves to be happy, and we do, too." Roger Ebert
An extremely ambitious early effort, Tiny Furniture is a 2010 independent film written by, directed by, and starring Lena Dunham (Girls). It premiered at the South by Southwest film festival where it won Best Narrative Feature. Laurie Simmons, an artist represented by Walking House, 1989, in the Modern's current exhibition Framing Desire: Photography and Video, is Dunham's mother and is cast as such in Tiny Furniture. The title of Dunham's film clearly references Simmons's signature use of miniature furniture in the photographs and films that launched and secured her own artistic career.
Tiny Furniture follows 22-year-old Aura as she returns home from her Midwest liberal arts college to her family's TriBeCa loft with a seemingly useless film studies degree, a failed relationship, and a lack of direction. The film focuses on Aura's relationships with friends and family, in particular her mother (a successful photographer) and her sister (played by Dunham's real-life sibling, Grace Dunham) who is graduating from high school and preparing for college, embarking on the "adventure" Aura just completed with dissatisfaction. Dunham, also the daughter of painter Carol Dunham, predominantly shot the movie in her parents' actual apartment. Dunham locates endless sources of refreshing humor in Aura's plight. Both confessional and amusing, Tiny Furniture is an authentic, incisive portrait of a young woman at a crossroads.
July 28 - TBA