This program focuses on the films and interdisciplinary works of Jon Beacham who is working in the mediums of film, letterpress printing, collage and photography. The program will include a screening outside in back of Union Docs, and an indoor gallery installation of work. The focus of the film program is on landscape and the idea of portraiture while thinking on landscapes. Three short films; Return, The Last Roll of Kodachrome and What I Saw on the Periphery: A Film in VIII Parts will be screened by Beacham, along with New York Portrait No. 1 by Peter Hutton, and Triptych in Four Parts by Larry Jordan. These two films chosen for the screening by Beacham are influential works that explore ideas of recording place, and what is possible as a “portrait” compared to our usual sense of the word.
A gathering of other media including collage, photography and letterpress will also be on view. Over this past winter while Beacham was editing the film What I Saw on the Periphery, a number of other works took place including a body of photographs, collages, and an artist publication titled Photographing Buildings. The sense of editing a film, and gathering materials to create other works were deeply intertwined. Photographic film stills were taken alongside shooting on 16mm, and that work finds itself in the collages and publication. The use of multiple mediums and the “editing” of a body of work, is what this program focuses on. The screening will take place outside, and the indoor space at Union Docs will be used as a gallery space to display a series of works on paper, photographs, and mixed media works.
NY Portrait 1 by Peter Hutton
USA, 1978–79, 15 minutes, 16 mm
“Hutton’s sketchbook of mid-1970s New York, edited in three parts over twelve years, is a chronicle of indelible impressions and an act of urban archeology. The artist evokes the city’s delicate rhythms, tonal contrasts, and shifts of scale—scrims of white mist and black smoke, of gauze, cloud, and fluttering pennant; the shadowy geometries of tenements and water towers; palimpsests of graffiti, skywriting, and painted signs; ecstatic sunlight glinting off the wings of homing pigeons as they traverse a pillowy sky; the slight rustle of a homeless man’s shirt; the flowery patterns of rainwater draining from a flooded street; a blimp’s lazy progress between two buildings whose balconies resemble film sprockets; and a winter fog rolling over the sandy rivulets of Coney Island, making of it a lunar park, removed from time.” – Josh Siegel, Associate Film Curator, MoMA
Return by Jon Beacham
USA, 2006, 10 Minutes, 16 mm, color, silent
A film gathered from footage taken over the course of exactly one year in which the filmmaker moved between coasts, and traveled a fair share in between. Locations of focus in the film include Bolinas CA, San Francisco CA, NYC, and Cleveland Ohio. Shot on Kodachrome Reversal Film.
The Last Roll of Kodachrome by Jon Beacham
USA, 2007, 3 minutes, 16mm, color, silent
This short film is one camera roll unedited. It was shot with the intention of being rewound in the camera to be run through once more for a complete roll of double exposure. It was shot in the summer of 2007 while living in Catskill NY and then stored for a moment. Upon finding out that Kodak had finally discontinued the Kodachrome film stock, something they had been threatening for years, this roll was sent to the lab to be processed as it was, shot only once. The outcome was a testament to the process of shooting film. What the filmmaker found was that this roll in itself was a film, and a testament to Kodachrome as a medium unto itself. Haunting shots of negative space and subtle detail originally intended to be layered are found throughout this roll resting on their own, and bringing attention to detail of what one can find in the summer landscape of the Catskills.
What I Saw on the Periphery: A Film in VIII Parts by Jon Beacham
USA, 2010, 16 mm, 9 minutes, silent
A film that focuses on urban and rural areas in the American Landscape. The filming took place through an 8000 mile road trip across America, and from revisiting places of familiarity and interest to make a statement on what this country looks like now. Industrial areas and buildings, wide closed landscapes, the specifics of houses and homes, and written text are edited together to give this filmmakers’ perspective on place in America.
Triptych in Four Parts by Larry Jordan
USA, 1958, 12 minutes, 16mm, color, sound
One of the few remaining authentically “Beat” films, made from the inside of that particular North Beach movement. Features artists Wallace Berman and family, poets Michael McClure and Phillip Lamantia, and artist John Reed, plus the growers of peyote in southern Texas. The film begins with a North Beach portrait of John Reed, proceeds to a grail-like search (and discovery) of the sacred peyote grounds, then returns to the Berman’s home in SF. A spiritual drug odyssey seeking religious epiphany.
Jon Beacham was born in Cleveland Ohio in 1979. He moved to NYC at the age of 20, and has since lived his time between there, San Francisco, and smaller towns within reach. Between 2007-2009 he ran the space Hermitage in Beacon, New York. Hermitage operated as an alternative space focusing on specific gallery exhibitions of art and publishing history, a well curated bookstore dealing mostly with post war American small press poetry, and as a letterpress print studio. Beacham’s art work encompasses letterpress printing, collage, 16mm film, and his publishing imprint The Brother In Elysium. He currently resides in Brooklyn. More information on his work and projects can be found at www.thebrotherinelysium.com