Tracing the line between fine art and cinema, our new collection is a chance to ponder the mysterious, inspiring relationship between different kinds of artists — whether those solitary figures sketching out figures and representations in chalk, pencil, and paint or those toiling on the broader canvas of cinema. Is it even possible to capture the moment of conception of a wholly different artistic work?

 

In 1972, New Orleans native Herman Joshua Wallace, star of Herman's House, was serving a 25-year sentence for bank robbery when he was accused of murdering a prison guard and thrown into solitary confinement. Many believed him wrongfully convicted. Appeals were made but Herman remained in jail and—to increasingly widespread outrage—in solitary. Years passed with one day much like the next. Then in 2001 Herman received a perspective-shifting letter from a Jackie Sumell, a young art student, who posed the provocative question: “What kind of house does a man who has lived in a six-foot-by-nine-foot cell for over 30 years dream of?”

In She Is the Other Gaze, five artists testify to their painful beginnings and their constant struggle against patriarchal structures in the art world. This community is thankfully no longer just the domain of domineering male artists with ever-expanding egos. But still, so many female artists face giant obstacles in the way of their true artistic paths.

In the film Eisenberger - Art Must Be Beautiful, As the Frog Says to the Fly, we are introduced to Austrian artist Christian Eisenberger's fleeting, disposable works of art distributed in the street, which beg the question of how much an artist really requires the attention of the general public and the recognition of experts in order for his or her work to be considered significant.

Likewise, the street art movement, brought to the fore in large part by New York-based graffiti artist Keith Haring, is also based on anonymity. Haring’s juxtaposition of cartoon figures, sketched using simple lines, emerged from this anonymous space and came to dominate '80s pop-art. His forceful personality and gift for synthesizing different worlds of art are told by his fellow artists Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, and David LaChapelle in The Universe of Keith Haring.

Before his imminent death from AIDS, Colombian artist Lorenzo Jaramillo looks back on his life as an artist and as a lover and a human being in Luis Ospina's masterpiece Our Film. Like Wim Wenders filming Nick Ray in Lightning Over Water, Ospina films his friend speaking with passion about all the passions of his life: painting, cinema, literature, and the very stuff of everyday life. Here's a tender, moving portrait of a brilliant mind trapped in a dying body, perhaps the greatest of Ospina's portraits of the unique admixture of living and art-making that is the plight of the artist.

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