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Carte Blanche to Fouad Elkoury part 1: Robert Frank

September 7, 2011 8:00 pm

In parallel with Fouad Elkoury’s solo exhibition, be…longing, Beirut art center has given carte blanche to the artist and photographer to propose a screening program on films made by photographers. The program, photographers’ films, will present films by photographers selected by Fouad Elkoury every Wednesday for three weeks. Part 1 will present three films by Robert frank followed by a video work by Fouad Elkoury featuring Robert Frank.

Pull my daisy (28′, 1959, b/w) pull my daisy is a classic look at the soul of the beat generation, made with writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and painters Alfred Leslie, Larry Rivers, and Alice Neel. It was written and narrated by Kerouac, based on his unproduced play the beat generation. It tells the story of a bishop (Richard Bellamy) and his mother (Alice Neel) who pay a visit to milo, a railroad worker. At the same time his poet friends, Ginsberg, peter orlovsky, and Gregory corso, hang around quizzing the bishop about the meaning of life and its everyday relationship to art and poetry. Pull my daisy is recognized as one of the most important works of avant-garde cinema.

Home improvements (29′, 1985, color) home improvements, Robert frank’s first video project, is a simple and poignant diary of consequential events. It is about the relationship between frank’s life as an artist and his personal life, and how the two are inevitably intertwined. It was made cheaply with a half-inch video porta-pak. Home improvements takes place in New York and Nova Scotia and in the mental space between these two opposing worlds.

True story (26, 2004/2008, color and b&w) speaking in voiceover, the artist narrates scenes shot in his homes in New York and Nova Scotia.  His rambling commentary returns to familiar themes of memory, and the loss of friends and family members. Brief excerpts from earlier films are shown, along with frank’s photographs, the art of his wife, June Leaf, and extraordinarily detailed letters written by his son, Pablo (1951-1994). Alternately poignant, reflective, self-mocking, and angry, this candid autobiography reveals frank’s late-career preoccupations. Recipient of the principal award at the 2009 Oberhausen film festival.

The film and video of Robert Frank is distributed by the museum of fine arts, Houston.

The wandering myth (Fouad Elkoury, 15′, 2001, English, French subtitles) this video features the opening of an exhibition by Robert frank in Madrid. It was shot in one day in June 2001 without the intention of making a film, but rather of recalling a moment. It shows Robert frank at a cocktail party given at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and later, with his friends having dinner.