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Nicole Miller’s “Believing is Seeing” for LACMA9 Art + Film Lab

30 Oct 2014

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Image: Artist Nicole Miller with filmmaker Billy Woodberry, courtesy of LACMA

In anticipation of Nicole Miller’s work being featured in Ballroom’s sixth installment of Artist’s Film International, here is a review of her previous solo show at LACMA:

Entitled “Believing is Seeing”, LACMA commissioned Miller to nine interviews of select Redland residents for the Lab’s oral history hour tours in order to identify subjects for new artworks. This year and a half long collaborative project showed Miller’s interest in mining “stories that residents feel deserve to be told” about their lives and communities, “[and belief that] the stories individuals choose to present are a great signifier of the values of a community.” Her works explore “subjectivity and self-representation as tools wielded for the possible reconstitution of lost histories, dead fantasies, or even broken physical bodies.”

From KCET:

The journey that Miller describes could be summed up as an exploration of self-representation. Miller is not a documentarian, and LACMA’s charge was not to create a series of photojournalistic biographies representing the sites that compose the LACMA9 initiative. Rather, Miller regularly uses documentary practice to “give people space to self-represent.” Some of the circumstances depicted in past work include a man recalling the amputation of his arm, young people dancing explicitly at a club, a conductor performing, and a yogi engaged in transcendental meditation.

Artist’s Film International is on view November 22-January 11, 2015 at Ballroom Marfa,

Art in America on Alix Pearlstein

12 Apr 2013

Pictured: Ryan Justesen, Christen Clifford and Mikeah Ernest Jennings Courtesy of On Stellar Rays Alix Pearlstein The Drawing Lesson (production still), 2012 Single-channel HD (color, sound) 7:13 minutes

From “The Nothing Act”, a profile of Alex Pearlstein’s recent work in Art in America:

“The circling camera of The Drawing Lesson was a device Pearlstein also used for her 2008 show at the Kitchen. Having created the four-channel video After the Fall in the venue’s black box theater downstairs, she then showed the piece in the white box gallery upstairs, alluding to the differing modes of performance in theater and art. Filmed using a set of four cameras, the video first shows a couple on the verge of having sex, and then the interplay between two groupings of actors, one in pink-and-red costumes and the other in gold-and-black. A couple of the actors feign injury from altercations. The way the actors are divided by costume and actions harkens back to Pearlstein’s earlier, more allegorical work. But the constant observation of the actors by the camera, as well as the greater immediacy of their connection with the viewer, makes the work feel more elemental. Building on such effects, Pearlstein went on to adapt the premise of the musical A Chorus Line (the 1975 play and 1985 film) for her video Talent (2009). A Chorus Line, which ran for over 6,000 performances, setting a Broadway record, is about actors auditioning for parts in a new musical. They laugh, cry, sing, dance and tell heartbreaking stories about themselves and their careers. Pearlstein stripped the musical of its songs and dialogue, leaving only the wondrous, spontaneous ephemera of actors at an audition: waiting, hopeful, bored or yearning for attention. At one point they share a loaf of bread. They turn their acting personas on and off and mingle occasionally, though they mostly stay in line as the camera moves in a parallel track back and forth across them.”

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Alix Pearlstein is the featured artist in this year’s Artists’ Films International, a program organized by Ballroom in conjunction with London’s Whitechapel Gallery, opening 19 July 2013 in Marfa. Read more here.