City Arts: Three Degrees of Art

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Paul Sharits made his first film Wintercourse (1962) at age 19 while studying painting at the University of Denver. There he became a protégé of Stan Brakhage, 10 years older and already in the forefront of the international film avant-garde. The “beat era” was evolving into “counterculture,” and Sharits’ generation began inheriting the weight of three decades of experimental film-making, as well as emotional, social and intellectual frontiers opened by psychedelics, communal living, music and new media. ---

Sharits recognized his creative territory when he observed that in cinematic narrative, “fade” had an effect of “time forward.” A group of 1970s works examined film’s inherent structures and this quickly became his core subject matter. He focused the viewer’s attention on film’s convulsive revolt against its remaining 19th-century visual conventions. “Seeing” is a learned activity, and the artist felt an ethical as well as theoretical impulse to address our most fundamental connection to the world around us. At the time, similar concerns were taken up by painters, sculptors and “conceptual” artists, and Sharits’ “location” works preceded “installation” by a number of years.

Two films, 3rd Degree (1982) and Apparent Motion (1975), are currently on view at Greene Naftali, co-presented with Anthology Film Archives, together with a number of works on paper and two of the “Frozen Film Frames.”

To find out more about this exhibition, head to [City Arts.]

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