MoMaNEW YORK

THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART HONORS KATHRYN BIGELOW WITH MID-CAREER RETROSPECTIVE

The Hurt Locker. 2008. USA. Directed and produced by Kathryn Bigelow. Pictured: Bigelow on set. Photo Credit: Jonathon Olley.
The Hurt Locker. 2008. USA. Directed and produced by Kathryn Bigelow. Pictured: Bigelow on set. Photo Credit: Jonathon Olley.

THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART HONORS KATHRYN BIGELOW WITH MID-CAREER RETROSPECTIVE

www.moma.org

Theater Gallery Exhibition of Bigelow’s Paintings, Drawings, Concept Art, Film Posters, Scripts, Short Films Complements Ten-Week Film Series
Crafting Genre: Kathryn Bigelow

June 1–August 13, 2011
The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters

NEW YORK, May 13, 2011—The Museum of Modern Art announces a complete retrospective of the works of filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow (American, b. 1951). Crafting Genre: Kathryn Bigelow, June 1 through August 13, 2011, in The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters, offers the filmmaker’s eight features. As a writer, director, and producer, Bigelow has received numerous honors, most notably Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Directing for her most recent war drama, The Hurt Locker (2008), a new MoMA acquisition. Crafting Genre: Kathryn Bigelow will open on June 1 with The Loveless (1982) and the premiere of the 35mm preservation of Set-Up (1978), with Bigelow in attendance to introduce the film and participate in a post-screening Q&A. The exhibition is organized by Jenny He, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art.

Originally an art student, Bigelow entered the graduate film studies program at Columbia University, where she completed her short film, Set-Up, examining the psychology of violence through observation and commentary. Bigelow then directed her first full-length film, The Loveless, which tells the story of a motorcycle gang that causes trouble in a small southern town and features the debut of Willem Dafoe in his first starring role.

The Loveless. 1982. USA. Written and directed by Kathrym Bigelow, Monty Montgomery. Pictured: Willem Dafoe. Photo Credit: Jeannette Montgomery.
The Loveless. 1982. USA. Written and directed by Kathrym Bigelow, Monty Montgomery. Pictured: Willem Dafoe. Photo Credit: Jeannette Montgomery.

A measured filmmaker exceptional in subverting the confines of the genre film by crafting new amalgams, Bigelow’s notable features include the vampire Western Near Dark (1987); Point Break (1991), a surfing movie combined with a heist thriller; Strange Days (1995) where film noir meets science fiction; and the contemporary melodrama fused with a period murder mystery, The Weight of Water (2000), all of which are featured in the retrospective. The series also includes Blue Steel (1989), about a rookie cop who is stalked by a man who becomes infatuated after witnessing her gun down an armed robber, and K-19: The Widowmaker (2002), recounting the catastrophic true events onboard the titular Soviet nuclear submarine during her maiden voyage at the height of the Cold War in 1961.

Bigelow’s immersive films utilize sensual and visceral imagery to confront societal mores and lay bare individual psyches. Her characters, often operating in an arena of adrenaline, straddle the line between superhero and heartbreakingly human. This theme follows Bigelow’s work through her latest films K-19: The Widowmaker and The Hurt Locker, but the hyperrealism of her earlier films has given way to a groundedness that results from the inherent gravity of historical events and situations.

Near Dark. 1987. USA. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Pictured: Jenny Wright and Adrian Pasdar. Photo Credit: Gary Farr.
Near Dark. 1987. USA. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Pictured: Jenny Wright and Adrian Pasdar. Photo Credit: Gary Farr.

Complementing the film retrospective, a gallery exhibition (May 18–October 3) will examine
Bigelow’s filmmaking via paintings, concept art, film posters, drawings, storyboards, scripts, short films, and props. The exhibition will contain documents from her film projects from Set-Up to The Hurt Locker, from pre-production research through production notes to post-production publicity and press materials. Bigelow began her career as a painter and conceptual artist, segueing into film as simply another medium to explore her themes. After graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute, she participated in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art and joined the conceptual art collective Art & Language before her artistic impulse led her to graduate film studies at Columbia University. Her background continues to reverberate throughout her films, manifested in her stylized visual treatment of film, her careful construction of the space within a frame, and her exploration of the content of her movies via paintings and drawings. This installation, comprising works from Bigelow’s personal archive and including her early films and works on paper, reveals her intuitive process and demonstrates the singularity of her methods and motifs.

In addition, Lawrence Weiner & Kathryn Bigelow: Films and Videos, further sheds light on Bigelow’s early works. This program of short films and videos features Bigelow’s collaborations with Weiner in the early 1970s. She appeared in his moving-image works as well as contributed to their scripts and editing. The themes of their collaborations—the use of audio to dissect the visual, experimentation with the inherent properties of films and videos, and an engagement with the active viewer—are explored by Bigelow in her own film works, Psychological Operations in Support of Unconventional Warfare (1975) and Set-Up (1978).

Sponsorship:
This exhibition is made possible by BNP Paribas.

Point Break. 1991. USA/Japan. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Pictured: Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Image courtesy of Richard Foreman, © 1991 Largo Entertainment.
Point Break. 1991. USA/Japan. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Pictured: Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Image courtesy of Richard Foreman, © 1991 Largo Entertainment.

Screening Schedule
Crafting Genre: Kathryn Bigelow
June 1–August 13, 2011

Wednesday, June 1
7:00
Set-Up. 1978. USA. Written and directed by Kathryn Bigelow. With the narration of Marshall Blonsky, Sylvère Lotringer. In Set-Up, Bigelow deconstructs the spectacle of cinema. As one man commits violence against another, the scene is dissected and discussed by off-camera narrators who view the action via split-screen and slow-motion filmic techniques. New 35mm preservation. 15 min.
The Loveless. 1982. USA. Written and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, Monty Montgomery. With Willem Dafoe, Robert Gordon, Marin Kanter. The year is 1959. Bikers en route to the races at Daytona get waylaid in a rural Georgian town—“a veritable Walker Evans theme-park consisting of a diner, a garage, a motel, and a honky-tonk” (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice). Americana, personified by the film’s loitering youths, is studiously examined, languidly revealing a simmering tension that culminates in stylized chaos. 83 min.

Set Up. 1978. USA. Written and directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Pictured: David Drafuss, Kurt Schact. Image courtesy of Ilka Normile, © 1978 Kathryn Bigelow.
Set Up. 1978. USA. Written and directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Pictured: David Drafuss, Kurt Schact. Image courtesy of Ilka Normile, © 1978 Kathryn Bigelow.

Thursday, June 2
8:00
Near Dark. 1987. USA. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Screenplay by Bigelow, Eric Red. With Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton. An Oklahoma farm boy, enticed by the new girl in town, is drawn into joining her make-shift family—a cabal of transients who avoids the sun and feasts on human blood—until their lawless enterprises spiral into an all-out bacchanal. With its Dust Bowl vistas and cowboy imagery, Near Dark diverges from the generic horror film to pay homage to the American Southwest and forms a lyrical mélange of unadulterated blood-letting and “high-noon” showdowns. 94 min.

Friday, June 3
4:30
Blue Steel. 1989. USA. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Screenplay by Bigelow, Eric Red. With Jamie Lee Curtis, Ron Silver, Clancy Brown. Megan (Curtis), a rookie cop, is stalked by a psycho who becomes infatuated after witnessing her in action, gunning down an armed robber. Blue Steel overturns the familiar genre codes of the cop movie as this ad hoc female Dirty Harry barely masks her insecurity behind a weapon and uniform. The early revelation of the villain’s identity shifts the focus on the psychopathology of the cat and mouse and away from trite whodunit machination. 102 min.

8:00
Point Break. 1991. USA/Japan. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Screenplay by W. Peter Iliff. With Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey, Lori Petty. An FBI agent goes undercover in the SoCal surfing community to catch bank robbers. This kinetic thrill ride cements adrenalized set pieces—shoot-outs, chases on foot, birds-eye-view skydiving—with a surf-culture Zen spirituality that lives by the maxim of carpe diem. Point Break‘s hyperrealism, a trademark of Bigelow’s filmmaking, draws audiences into her specific subjectivity, allowing them to suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride. 120 min.

Strange Days. 1995. USA. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Pictured: Ralph Fiennes. Image courtesy of Merie W. Wallace, © 1995 Twentieth Century Fox.
Strange Days. 1995. USA. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Pictured: Ralph Fiennes. Image courtesy of Merie W. Wallace, © 1995 Twentieth Century Fox.

Saturday, June 4
2:00
Strange Days. 1995. USA. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Screenplay by James Cameron, Jay Cocks. With Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis. As Los Angeles prepares to ring in the year 2000, a peddler of illegal virtual reality video clips is embroiled in a rape and murder conspiracy involving cops and racial politics. The film’s conceit—the ability to see, hear and feel someone else’s experiences—allows for visually stunning point-of-view sequences that contribute to its pulsating intensity. By subverting authenticity (the “virtual reality” clips are filmed truer-to-life than the hyperbolic style and apocalyptic tone of the characters’ “real life”), Strange Days self-reflexively becomes a first-person movie experience—the viewer becomes voyeur. 145 min.

8:00
The Weight of Water. 2000. USA/France. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Screenplay by Alice Arlen, Christopher Kyle, based on the novel by Anita Shreve. With Catherine McCormack, Sean Penn, Sarah Polley. A modern-day photographer investigating a grisly 1873 double murder sails to the scene of the crime, an island off the coast of New Hampshire, with her husband, brother-in-law and his girlfriend. As the historical mystery unfolds, the contemporary couples confront jealousy, distrust, and smoldering sexual tensions. The lush visuals weave together atmospheric sensuality with a stark sense of menace and foreboding that crescendos into a climatic maelstrom, both literal and emotional. 113 min.

Sunday, June 5
2:30
K-19: The Widowmaker. 2002. Great Britain/Germany/USA/Canada. Directed and produced by Kathryn Bigelow. Screenplay by Christopher Kyle. With Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Peter Sarsgaard. K-19 recounts the catastrophic true events onboard the titular Soviet nuclear submarine during her maiden voyage at the height of the Cold War in 1961. Bigelow juxtaposes the customary claustrophobia associated with this war film subgenre with the grandeur of intricate underwater maneuvers and imbues the film with a sense of scale during dry dock scenes. An amplification of human triumph and tragedy, K-19 examines the thin line between mutiny and brotherhood, cowardice and courage. 138 min.

5:30
The Hurt Locker. 2008. USA. Directed and produced by Kathryn Bigelow. Screenplay and produced by Mark Boal. With Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty. This propulsive and penetrating look within an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit stationed in Baghdad follows an accomplished bomb tech, Sergeant Will James (Renner), and his team as they finish out their tour. A live wire who is only at ease when facing his mortality, James shields his uncertainty behind bravado and exorcises his personal demons on the battlefield. His reckless courage, at once irksome and dangerous to his unit, compels a dissection of combat brotherhood. 131 min.

Wednesday, June 8
4:30
Near Dark (See Thursday, June 2, 8:00).
8:00
Strange Days (See Saturday, June 4, 2:00).

Thursday, June 9
4:30
Set-Up/Loveless (See Wednesday, June 1, 7:00).
8:00
Blue Steel (See Friday, June 3, 4:30).

Friday, June 10
4:30
K-19: The Widowmaker (See Sunday, June 5, 2:30).
8:00
The Weight of Water (See Saturday, June 4, 8:00).

Saturday, June 11
8:00
Point Break (See Friday, June 3, 8:00).

Monday, June 13
8:00
The Hurt Locker (See Sunday, June 5).

Saturday, June 18
5:00
Strange Days (See Saturday, June 4, 2:00).

Saturday, June 25
5:00
The Weight of Water (See Sunday, June 4, 8:00).

Saturday, July 2
5:00
Blue Steel (See Friday, June 3, 4:30)

Friday, July 15
4:00
Affected and/or Effected. 1974. USA. Directed by Lawrence Weiner. With Bigelow. A woman reads from a book as voice-overs intone “affected” and “and/or effected” in this short video about the relationship between artist intent and audience receivership. This duality is further implicated via the work’s distinct treatment of audio and visual components, a recurring motif in Bigelow’s collaborations with Weiner. 20 min.
Done To. 1974. USA. Directed by Lawrence Weiner. With Bigelow, Sharon Haskell. Two women converse on a couch in this examination of dissonance. With picture and sound out-of-sync, the soundtrack, at times conversational and cacophonous, appears to converge with the action onscreen only to diverge again in a rhythmic pattern. The voice-over repetition of “and then” plays with the concept of film projection, where frames repetitively follow one another to create one seamless moving image. 20 min.
Green as Well as Blue as Well as Red. 1975–76. USA. Directed by Lawrence Weiner. With Tina Girouard, Suzanne Harris. Commentary by Bigelow, Weiner. Two performers at a table interact with each other and manipulate books and poker chips placed in front of them in a game/competition as Bigelow and Weiner carry on a dialectic discourse off-camera about the implications of the action. This self-referential short ponders the inherent structure and presentation of such a set-up. 18 min.
Altered to Suit. 1979. USA. Directed by Lawrence Weiner. Editors: Bigelow, Gerrit Hilhorst. Production and script consultant: Bigelow. Incongruity, in the form of unrelated scenes and an out-of-sync soundtrack, is inserted into this short narrative centered on four main characters—a couple, their child and a family friend. With no defined start and finish, “the presentation functions as simple insight into a personal realm” (Alice Weiner). 23 min. Program 81 min

Saturday, July 16
5:00
K-19: The Widowmaker (See Sunday, June 5, 2:30).

Tuesday, July 19
4:00
Lawrence Weiner & Kathryn Bigelow: Films and Videos (See Friday, July 15, 4:00).

Saturday, July 23
5:00
The Hurt Locker (See Sunday, June 5).
7:30
Lawrence Weiner & Kathryn Bigelow: Films and Videos (See Friday, July 15, 4:00).

Saturday, July 30
5:00
Near Dark (See Thursday, June 2, 8:00).

Saturday, August 6
5:00
Point Break (See Friday, June 3, 8:00).

Saturday, August 13
5:00
Set-Up/Loveless (See Wednesday, June 1, 7:00

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