Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The latest Watch This!

Where:  American Art Museum

When: through March 6, 2017

The SAAM has, quite laudably in my view, decided to include videos in its collection.  Movies are, after all, an art form, and Americans are among the best filmmakers in the world.  Bravo to the Smithsonian for including this genre.

My favorite of the current offerings is "Caught in the Act," by Eleanor Antin.  It's a video of the artist dancing, along with still photographs from the film.  If you looked only at the photos, you might think she was a fine ballerina.  The video, however, tells a different story.  So the question becomes: which is more true?  You might think the answer is obviously video, but is that always the case?  In today's climate of lies masquerading as "alternate facts," what can you believe?

"Face in the Crowd," by Alex Prager is another pick of this litter.  I saw it in an almost empty room, but with the screens full of people in front and on the sides of me, I felt crowded.  There's something hypnotic about this - I felt as if I were making my way through the throngs, along with the people in the film.

My only complaint is the noise bleed.  They really need either a larger space for this, or to show fewer videos at one time.

Verdict: Nice to see a Smithsonian museum other than the Hirshhorn showing films.

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