Artist Portraits

On Art and Artists: Artist Portraits

This section of the On Art and Artists collection highlights a number of experimental portraits of artists, and documentaries about the artistic process, from intimate one-on-one close-ups and dialogues, to full studio production studies. These works do not follow a traditional interview format, but are often intended as artworks in their own right. The artists and makers of these Artist Portraits draw artistic inspiration and stylistic license from the collaborators and interlocutors they depict.

 

2010
Louis Henderson, A Walk With Nigel

A Walk with Nigel is a video essay that constructs a dialogue between two artists from two different times, between movement and stillness, between speech and silence. An archaeological study of a community, reawakening the archive in the present. A materialist study of streets and social relations.

1986
Whisper, The Waves, The Wind

In today’s youth-oriented society, the experience and knowledge of older women is typically unheralded and neglected. Countering these ideas is Suzanne Lacy’s Whisper, The Waves, The Wind—a performance evoking and reinforcing the strong spiritual and physical beauty of older women. Lacy says, “They reminded me of the place where the ocean meets shoreline. Their bodies were growing older, wrinkled. But what I saw was the rock in them; solid, with the presence of the years washing over them.” This tape is a document of that performance.

1988
The Will to Provoke

Director Jonathan Reiss and cinematographer/editor Leslie Asako Gladsjo traveled to Europe with Survival Research Laboratories to produce this entertaining and challenging portrait of the innovative group of artist technicians. The tape shows their machines in action and provides insight to their inspirations, political objectives, and budgetary constraints. The tape also reveals SRL’s efforts to confound and confront their foreign audiences with an artform that is, perhaps, uniquely American.

1978
Jackie Winsor: Work in Progress: Parts I, II and III

This is a three-part tape shot in 1975, ’76, and ’78 as Winsor was working on three pieces: 50/50, Copper Piece, and Burnt Piece. The rhythms and rituals of her working process as well as her comments on the work are documented. Part III is the only filmic record of the final stage of construction of Burnt Piece.

1993
Woman as Protaganist: The Art of Nancy Spero

Woman as Protagonist: The Art of Nancy Spero is an invigorating look at the 40-year career of acclaimed feminist artist Nancy Spero, who, in her own works, is concerned with “rewriting the imaging of women through historical time.” With Spero’s own voice as narration, this documentary tracks her development as she matured against the grain of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, and Pop Art when “there wasn’t room in the art world to make way for political or activist art.” This tape includes footage of the artist at work on installations in the United States, Northern Ireland, and

2012
Cecilia Dougherty, The Writers Series

The Writers Series is a series of video portraits of writers whose work I love.

-- Cecilia Dougherty

1991

In this tape made shortly after fiber and sculpture artist Claire Zeisler’s death, art critic Dennis Adrian discusses her influence and aesthetic strategies. Adrian’s commentary is intercut with images of her work and archival footage of an interview with the artist.