Press Release

A Tribute Exhibition to Anthology Film Archives and Jerome Hill

Stendhal Gallery

March 11, 2009 – April 18, 2009

Stendhal Gallery is honored to present Anthology Film Archives: Looking Forward, which will be on view from March 11 through April 18, 2009. This presentation will offer the first comprehensive retrospective on Anthology Film Archives, chronicling the organization’s unparalleled work in the preservation, exhibition, and study of film as art over the last four decades. The exhibition will also highlight visions for the future of the organization, seeking to ensure that this exciting journey exploring the frontiers of cinema continues well into the twenty-first century.

The formation of Anthology Film Archives began in the mid-1960s when filmmaker and programmer Jonas Mekas envisioned a permanent home where the increasing number of new independent and avant-garde films could be viewed regularly. In 1968 Mekas aligned with filmmakers Jerome Hill, Peter Kubelka, and Stan Brakhage, and with film scholar P. Adams Sitney, to formulate plans to create the first museum wholly devoted to film as art. Since Anthology’s establishment in 1970, a dynamic community of filmmakers, artists, scholars, historians, and film enthusiasts have helped to carry out this mission through their generous contributions and support, enriching the landscape of independent and artist-made film. At present, Anthology faces financial and physical challenges to its continued growth and vitality. As one of the world’s most important repositories of avant-garde film, Anthology’s permanent collection and library are enhanced each year by donations and acquisitions. The Jerome Hill Research Library already contains many thousands of books, periodicals, and files on filmmakers, critics, historians, festivals, and venues, and an extensive collection of film stills and frame enlargements. But lack of adequate space for on-site storage and exhibition means that many film elements and scholarly materials are inaccessible to the public, some moved by necessity to off-site storage locations.

Anthology Film Archives: Looking Forward offers the exciting chance to become part of film heritage and join the efforts toward the renaissance of one of New York City’s most beloved and unique institutions. Through increased support and funding, Anthology Film Archives will realize its full potential as a cultural and educational center devoted to advancing the art of film. Larger and better-equipped spaces will facilitate the needed expansion of our film vault and library; while on-site study areas will provide visitors the thrilling opportunity to experience more resources first-hand. Students and educators alike will be able to access visual and written materials concentrating on many diverse aspects of film history, theory, and technique. Membership is one way to show support for Anthology Film Archives. There are a variety of ways to participate and all are invited to join. Membership contributions grant participants special access to a critical history of the moving picture, which includes free admission to all Essential Cinema programs; rare members-only screenings; and discounted tickets to the most anticipated shows. Your support is needed today.

Screening throughout the gallery will be a special selection from Anthology Film Archives’ permanent collection of works by Jonas Mekas, Marie Menken, Hilary Harris, Maya Deren, and others. Photographs will document landmark events and key figures, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the legendary Invisible Cinema; Jonas Mekas with Andy Warhol and Michel Auder at Anthology’s 1970 opening party; the Second Avenue Courthouse’s architectural restoration; as well as filmmakers Stan Brakhage, Peter Kubelka, and Arthur Penn, among others. Original posters, programs, catalogues, publications, newsletters, and notes will illustrate Anthology’s mission and the monumental scope of its activities over the last 40 years. Also on view will be tickets and brochures designed by Fluxus founder George Maciunas, and vintage film equipment from the early cinema era.

A member of the Association of Moving Image Archivists and the International Federation of Film Archives, Anthology’s committed work has resulted in the restoration and preservation of over 800 films. Its collections overall hold an impressive 20,000 films and 5,000 videotapes, focusing on the history and aesthetic achievements of experimental, avant-garde, and artist-made film. Central to the promotion and appreciation of film as art, Anthology presents over 900 film and video programs to the public each year; loans copies of select preserved films to museums, festivals, universities, and cinematheques around the world; and maintains a publications program issuing books, catalogs, DVDs, and a quarterly film schedule available to audiences on an international level. In all of these areas of activity Anthology Film Archives has collaborated with the world’s most prominent film archives and institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Library of Congress, The British Film Institute, and George Eastman House.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with essays by film scholars P. Adams Sitney, Amy Taubin, and Robert Haller. Special thanks to sponsors Cineric, Kodak, Showtime, and Arturas Zuokas.

Anthology Film Archives: Looking Forward has been produced and organized by Harry Stendhal.

Harry Stendhal

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