Art on Screen
Cinema's unique hybridity has contributed to its frequent exclusion from dominant narratives of art history. Like painting and photography, cinema incorporates images, but it also integrates sound, music, dramatic development, and performance—details foreign to conventional art historical scholarship. Alfred Barr, the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, recognized the unique challenges that the moving image presents to art history, and as early as 1929 he established the first museum-based film department. Barr argued that the motion picture deserved to be considered an integral part of the entire artistic landscape as "the only great art peculiar to the 20th century." As a discipline, however, the study of film has often developed separately from the study of other artistic media such as painting, sculpture, and photography.
This historical segregation of film from other forms of art has troubled efforts to responsibly historicize its range of creative practices. By embracing an interdisciplinary approach to the study of moving images, this new initiative proposes to address the ways in which film has interacted and overlapped with other art and media forms for over a century. Art on Screen welcomes scholars and researchers from the fields of art history, visual culture, film studies, and media studies.
This project draws on collections within the Getty Research Institute as well as rich archival holdings throughout Los Angeles. Our collections include Vlastislav Hofman's costume designs for film and theater, archival materials related to Hans Richter's experimental feature film Dreams That Money Can Buy, and John Cage's manuscript score for an unrealized film dedicated to Richard Lippold. The Werner Nekes collection of optical devices, prints, and precinematic technologies is also a major research resource, particularly for the study of the early history of moving pictures and projected illusions. The Research Institute holds a wealth of material from the mid to late 20th century relating to film, video, performance, and art, including the Long Beach Museum of Art video archive, the Carolee Schneemann papers, the Yvonne Rainer papers, and the records of Experiments in Art and Technology.
Art on Screen will organize periodic screenings, often in conjunction with workshops, lectures, and public conversations. Screenings intersect with several Research Institute priorities, including the annual scholar theme and the Pacific Standard Time and Los Angeles Architecture research projects. Currently, the Art on Screen program is involved in an exploratory dialogue with other art and film institutions around the world, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Academy of Film Archives, and the Society of Cinema and Media Studies' CinemArts Interest Group. Through these conversations, the Art on Screen program hopes to develop innovative models of scholarship that address the intersections of art and the moving image.