Portrait

2012
Tom Palazzolo, Vivian Maier Photographer

This 12-minute video by Tom Palazzolo and Chicago writer Jack Helbig tells the story of the recently discovered Chicago street photographer Vivian Maier. Though she was unknown in her lifetime, her extensive body of work is rewriting the history of post-World War II American street photography. The video, told from the point of view of Maier herself, recounts her life and work, from her childhood in France to her move to NYC in 1951 and subsequent relocation to Chicago, where the majority of her work was done.

1978
Merce by Merce by Paik

Merce by Merce by Paik is a two-part tribute to choreographer Merce Cunningham and artist Marcel Duchamp. The first section, “Blue Studio: Five Segments,” is an innovative work of video-dance produced by Merce Cunningham and videomaker Charles Atlas. Cunningham choreographed the dance specifically for the two-dimensional video monitor screen. Atlas uses a variety of video imaging effects, including chromakey, to electronically transport Cunningham’s studio performance into a series of outdoor landscapes. The audio track includes the voices of John Cage and Jasper Johns.

2006
Mohamed Yousry: A Life Stands Still

Mohamed Yousry: A Life Stands Still (also known as Good Translator) is a short documentary about Mohamed Yousry, a naturalized American citizen who's life changed radically after September 11, 2001. Mohamed immigrated to the United States in 1980. For the next twenty years, he developed a full and happy life, as a husband, father, and academic. On September 13, 2001 Mohamed was approached by the FBI on his doorstep in Queens, NY. After appeal processes and an attempt to extradite him, Mohamed was sentenced to four years in a federal penitentiary in Fort Worth, TX.

1999
Monitor

Cyclops / "monitor" / minotaur.

Note: A 20-second video loop self-portrait.

2014
More Real Than Reality Itself, A.L. Steiner

A.L. Steiner’s video More Real Than Reality Itself expands the structures of documentary works while challenging its conventional reliance on linear narratives. This critique takes shape through Steiner’s reconsideration of the history of political activism and its representations — configuring a story that emphasizes the embodied, romantic aspects of activism rather than a singular, dominant history.

1980
My Dad Triptych, Ilene Segalove

Three insightful and funny vignettes highlighting Segalove's father's quirky traits, habits, and interests.

2010
My Name is Karlheinz Stockhausen

Adapted, quite loosely, from interviews with the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in the late 60s and early 70s.

Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.

2018
Richard Fung, Nang by Nang

Nang has lived outside the box. Born in a Trinidadian village in 1934, she grew up poor, illegitimate, mixed-race and female, but she survived by defying convention. She left the first of five husbands when he cheated on her. With no formal training, she danced with choreographer Geoffrey Holder, who later won Tony Awards for The Wiz.

1995
Omewenne

Enter the classic world of a haunted creature destined for stardom in the astrological realm beyond our heads. Visit a haunted soul in her house of horrors and heavenly delights. Sip tea with a sorceress of song and sorrows, earthly eloquence and ephemeral effusions. Taste her ghoulish goulash and smack thy lips with a forked tongue, for Lucifer and Lilith reside within us all.

2007
The Only Ones Left

The Only Ones Left (three-channel video installation*), featuring actor Jim Fletcher, weaves film noir and mafia genre references with CEO diatribes, while also exposing the conventions of the feature film climax. The three channels of video depict all plot points of the Hollywood film climax concurrently. The channels are arranged chronologically from left to right. This simultaneity draws attention to the familiarity of the subject matter and the inevitability of the violent consequences awaiting the characters.

2010
Opus Luminis et Hominis, Jem Cohen

A commissioned portait of Pamplona, a small city in the North of Spain, shot and edited there in under 2 weeks. The film is a humble set of observations of place, people, atmospheres, and local rituals. (It is also a tribute to the art of film projection). As there is a large presence in the town of the conservative religious order, Opus Dei, which translates to 'Work of God,' I chose to name my film, Works of Light and Man.

-- Jem Cohen

1995
Mike Kuchar, The Pictures of Dorian Gay

Paint drips and body fluids ooze in this "tell all" and "hide nothing" documentary about two San Francisco males.

2013
Platonic, Dani Leventhal

In Dani Leventhal’s Platonic, geometric specters twirl in space; pet cats foam at the mouth; a little boy mistakes his junkie dad for a superhero; and a confused adolescent worries he has sired a centaur. Platonic references both the ancient philosopher’s metaphysics of ideal Forms, which simultaneously exist outside our perceptions and yet give rise to them, and the related meaning in common parlance of non-romantic love.

1993
Gregg Bordowitz, Portraits of People Living with HIV

An up-close compilation of interviews and discussions with people living with HIV in the early 1990s. 

1995
Portraiture in Black

A series of vignettes, anemic in color, as the absence of light threatens the vibrancy of those depicted: a Bostonian painter and her bloated model. A brunette guitarist and her assault weapon on the ear drums, and a lady from London in makeup and mourning. A canvas of black dahlias and white noise intent on smothering life, limb and vocal chords.