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Jan 30, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Shirley Clarke Tribute

With Donna Cameron, Jonas Mekas and Cullen Gallagher

This event is part of a monthly screening series with The Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and focuses on the legacy of American filmmaker Shirley Clarke, thirteen years after her death.

BRIDGES-GO-ROUND by Shirley Clarke (USA, 1958, 7 minutes, 16mm. Color, Music by Louis & Bebe Barron; Teo Macero)

American filmmaker Shirley Clarke, with whom Cameron worked one-on one from 1987-1990 on their collage portrait work Shirley Clarke in Our Time, created this masterpiece of experimental dance film using Manhattan’s Bridges. In this film Manhattan Island becomes a maypole around which its bridges, detached from moorings, execute a bewitched and beguiling dance. The filmmaker has magically set them dancing to two different music tracks- an electronic score by the Barrons and a jazz score by Teo Macero. Each track affects the viewer’s response to the imagery of the film differently.

SHIRLEY CLARKE IN OUR TIME by Donna Cameron (USA, 1987-1993,63 minutes, 16mm to Amiga Toaster technology to 1″ and betaSP video tape, Color, Sound, New DVD release: 2010)

This work is relentlessly avante-garde in its concept and delivery. Thematically and structurally, this work is Shirley. Shirley born with Felix the Cat, Shirley, a native New Yorker, cutting edge technologist, dancer- Shirley the revolutionary experimental filmmaker who dared. Shirley Clarke was an early major voice in the New American Cinema and, with Jonas Mekas, a founding member of the New York Filmmakers Co Op. Shirley Clarke appeared at my first solo film show at the Collective for Living Cinema on White Street in Manhattan in 1987. She gave me her contact info and said that she had a project in mind, and would I like to work on it. She described black and white home movies shot by her mother, of her childhood. This concept intrigued me. I worked with Shirley for several years on this film collage portrait of her- an exquisite corpse type production of recycled images (“Our Time”) and her mother’s home movies (Shirley Clarke). Thus, the portrait collage, “Shirley Clarke in Our Time”. Wendy Clarke, her daughter, contributed family photos and her support. I completed the one-inch release in 1992, the betaSP release in 1996, and now the DVD release in 2010. Like other Shirley Clarke projects, this one evolved through the various forms of the changing film/video technology of the 1990s and 2000s. Shirley Clarke in Our Time is represented by the Museum of Modern Art Circulating Film Library, It was included in the MoMA’s Millennium retrospective, “MoMA 2000?. An essay, “Shirley Clarke in Our Time” by MoMA film curator Jytte Jensen is on line at www.donnacameron.info on the bibliography link. “The very real history analyzed/represented in this film is the world of two women artists….The home movies of Clarke’s childhood are the idyllic center and organizing principal of this piece, whereas the world Cameron constructs from found footage and literally wraps around this material is a disruptive, frightening one.” – Jytte Jensen, Associate Curator of Film, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Donna Cameron holds an MPS in Inter Telecommunications (computer art and programming) from NYU, TSOA, ITP and a BFA in film/video from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her painting and drawing, photography, web, film and video works have been internationally exhibited and collected. Cameron is included in the 2009 edition of the Cynthia Dantzig book, 100 New York Photographers. She is featured in Maureen Furness’ book, “The Animation Bible”, and William Wees’ volume, “Recycled Images”. Her films, many featuring a unique imaging paper emulsion process for which she received a U.S. Patent in 2001 are represented by the Museum of Modern Art Circulating Film library and are in the collection of the MoMA, NYU, Fordham University, Canyon Cinema, and many others. She was included in the MoMA’s 20th century retrospective, MoMA 2000, and in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s millennium show, both in 2000. Her experimental films have been broadcast on the Sundance Channel and WNET. Cameron was been exhibited in the 2005 and the 2007 Venice Biennale of Art. www.donnacameron.info

A Brief History of the New American Cinema Group

History and Mission

A group of twenty-three artists in New York City founded the New American Cinema Group in the autumn of 1960. It included filmmaking luminaries such as Jonas Mekas, Shirley Clarke, Andy Warhol, Alfred Leslie, Robert Frank, Gregory Markopoulos, Peter Bogdanovich, and Jack Smith. The group collectively believed that they were part of a new generation of filmmakers. The purpose of the New American Cinema Group was to promote experimental, avant-garde, and personal filmmaking in light of the mainstream film industry that ignored such work.

A division of the New American Cinema Group, the Film-Makers’ Cooperative (FMC), was founded as an artist owned and artist run non-profit distribution organization for the works of independent and avant-garde filmmakers. The FMC functioned as a non-exclusive distributor of their work accepting all films without curatorial censorship and giving the filmmaker a specified percentage of all rental income – currently 60%.

In 2009

the FMC entered its forty-eighth year of continuous operation and moved into a new location at 475 Park Avenue South. Since 1991, M.M. Serra has served as the Executive Director running the daily operations of the FMC with the assistance of Ryan Marino and Joshua Solondz. Since its conception the FMC actively participates in the artistic community of New York. We are engaged in various exhibition venues throughout the city, including Whitney Museum, Anthology Film Archives, Millennium Film Workshop, P.S.1 and the Living Theatre as well as other venues. Our staff comes from various educational institutions, offering internships to students of New York University, the New School, School of Visual Arts, Fordham and Cooper Union.


Jan 30, 2010
10:30 pm – 12:00 am


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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