It’s an old cliché that many famous actors claim: “But all I want to do is direct.” The same may be said of some artists-turned-directors who have treated film as just another medium for their art.
A handful of museums, galleries and theaters showcase these multi-talented types this fall.
Bruce Conner: The Art of Montage
Nov. 10 – Nov. 23
The two-week showcase of the late artist Bruce Conner’s films at Film Forum starts off with a bang. The first one being screened is A Movie, a mixed-footage picture featuring shots of atomic bombs, earthquakes, and car chases. In addition to Conner’s near-complete body of work, the retrospective will include the theatrical premiere of his final film, Easter Morning.
Conner, born in 1933, was a well-known figure in the mid-century San Francisco Beat scene. His sculptures of found objects won him recognition long before he began making films in the 1950s. In the films, Conner mixed music with his montage style, scoring his collage footage to performances by Ray Charles, Brian Eno and Marilyn Monroe.
The Museum of Modern Art
To Save and Project: International Festival of Film Preservation
Through Nov. 14
Lost and found is the theme of MoMA’s eighth international film preservation festival, which features restored films from 35 filmmakers, including pioneer of the medium Thomas Edison. Sofia Coppola, among others, will serve as guest presenters. On Oct. 24, MoMA will screen two restored films by Andy Warhol, Face and The Velvet Underground in Boston, that haven’t been shown in New York in decades.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Alfred Stieglitz, Photographer
Directed by Hans Namuth
Nov. 16 at 2 p.m.
Work by a trio of master photographers will grace the walls of the Metropolitan Museum in a seven-month exhibit, “Stieglitz, Steichen and Strand,” opening Nov. 10. The men will also be showcased in short films. Alfred Stieglitz, Photographer, co-directed by noted German portrait photographer Hans Namuth (best known for portraits of his friend, Jackson Pollock), is a 26-minute short. It explores the turn-of-the-20th-century photographer’s work and discusses his persistent influence on other artists.
Directed by Robert Wilson
Through Nov. 6
Performer and video artist Robert Wilson premiered his silent surrealist opera Deafman Glance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1970; it went on to international acclaim. This gallery exhibition screens a 27-minute excerpt from the film later made of the work. Shown in an installation in which the images rotate around the room on monitors, the video tells the chilling story of a mother who kills her children.
Directed by Julian Schnabel
In theaters Dec. 3
Perhaps no artist has had the success in film that Brooklyn-born painter Julian Schnabel has had. Known in the art world for his large canvases, bold strokes and cracked-plate paintings, as a filmmaker, he’s also prospered: His last two movies The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Before Night Falls, have won multiple Oscar awards and nominations. His latest drama, which opens in December in New York in time for an Oscar bid, focuses on a Palestinian girl and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Miral is an adaptation of the 2004 novel by Rula Jebreal, Mr. Schnabel’s girlfriend, and was screened at the Venice Film Festival. Miral is played by Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto, The film has been under media scrutiny ever since the painter left his wife, Olatz, for Ms. Jebreal a few years ago.
Film Forum and AMC Loews Lincoln Square
Directed by Sam Taylor-Wood
Video artist Sam Taylor-Wood’s John Lennon biopic has finally hit theatres in New York City after a U.K. run. Nowhere Boy depicts the adolescent years of Lennon, including the struggle between his aunt and mother and the beginning of his friendship with Paul McCartney.
Aaron Johnson, who was recently seen in Kick-Ass, portrays Lennon. The film travels through his early years and dives into the Yoko Ono era of Lennon’s life.
Ms. Taylor-Wood is a British video artist nominated for the Turner Prize in 1997. She’s known for her series “Crying Men,” that depicts the tears of actors such as Daniel Craig, Jude Law and Ed Harris. Her 2004 video portrait of David Beckham sleeping also won her art-world recognition.