"The cinema is cruel like a miracle." -Frank O'Hara

Robert Breer’s Sculptures at The Independent, New York

For me, the loveliest discovery of Armory Week (which is not, by and large, the time to chance upon new art) were the kinetic sculptures of Robert Breer. The avant-garde animator / rotoscoper par excellence also makes motorized, tongue-in-cheek specimens that made me smile, especially in the midst of an abundance of morbid assemblage art and limp attempts at appearing revolutionary. Most of these pieces trembled just so, making me doubt the source of their movement and forcing me to take a second look. The genius of these sculptures, I think, is the way that Breer bestows everyday items with a slight animism, turning household objects into these kooky/creepy minimalist robots. It’s almost as if Breer was inspired by my favorite childhood movie, (which is an unparalleled surrealist MASTERPIECE which has yet to be recognized as such):

Here are some exhibition views kindly sent to me by gb agency, the Parisian gallery that represents Breer. Still images obviously can’t do these sculptures justice, but I will try to describe their movement below.

Untitled (flower pot), 1962. Painted metal, flower pot, motor. The stem of this gothic flower slowly twitched and turned.

Zig, 1965. Painted styrofoam, wheels and motor. Imagine a staircase turning into a Roomba.

Porcupine, 1967-2006. Cut foam, wooden sticks, motor and wheels. This thorny lil’ guy shivered and scurried about.

Rug, 1968. Motorized sculpture with aluminum blanket, two motors and wheels.

My favorite piece was a simple nugget of gold foil, motorized to slowly crinkle and uncrinkle itself. It was shown next to Breer’s virtuosic Recreation, which also features a dynamic square of paper.

I feel like Breer is overdue for a mini-retrospective, perhaps at a smaller venue like The Drawing Center or a place where hand-drawn animation is still practiced in earnest. In this era of Illustrator, Pixar and sophisticated CGI modeling, the imaginative potential of a sketch drawn with an oh-so-human hand should not be overlooked.

A Pot-pourri of Links

art + video
It’s Armory Week, and the number of openings, events and parties in the next few days makes my head spin. Aside from the usual mainstays, the new kid on the block this year is the Independent. Born out the ashes of X-initiative, it offers an alternative to the inescapable shopping mall ambiance of the art fair — there’s even a panel on gluttony! And a film program too. Check it out here.

Scope also has a video program, with work by Martha Colburn, George Kuchar and fashion-y films. Sashay!

Check out the next generation of Polish film poster design.

Look who’s copying a page from the Vezzoli playbook: Agyness Deyn deigns to appear in a McDermott and McGough film.

film reviews
Andrew Grant (nom de blog: filmbrain) reviews The Ghost Writer, and thinks it’s pretty good.
You should see it, especially since all proceeds from the film go to the Roman Polanski legal defense fund. (Kidding!)

mystery flavor
My favorite posthuman Andrei Codrescu is anti-Avatar, and pro-zombie. Deliciously brainy as always.

My friend Ziyan and I as zombie-vampire hybrids. Kristen Stewart, eat your heart out.

new york
Movie program ephemera from the 8th street Playhouse, which I remember going to as a little girl. Thanks to reader Jack for the tip.

Andy Warhol: Unexposed Exposures just opened at Steven Kashar.
If the Factory had had a facebook page, these would be the pictures that they would post to their wall. Lots o’ pics online too.

watch online
The first and only truly Beat film Pull My Daisy (Frank and Leslie, 1959) is on Google Video.