Yet another reason why I love the City of… Angels(!) so very, very much…
MOCA presents Kenneth Anger: ICONS, a showcase of the films, archives, and vision of one of the most original filmmakers of American cinema, on view at MOCA Grand Avenue from November 13, 2011, through February 27, 2012. A defining presence of underground art and culture and a major influence on generations of filmmakers, musicians, and artists, Anger’s films evoke the power of spells or incantations, combining experimental technique with popular song, rich color, and subject matter drawn equally from personal obsession, myth, and the occult.
MOCA’s exhibition centers on Anger’s Magick Lantern Cycle of films—Fireworks (1947), Puce Moment (1949), Rabbit’s Moon (1950/1979), Eaux d’artifice (1953), Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954/66), Scorpio Rising (1963), Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965), Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969), and Lucifer Rising (1970-81)—presenting the work across multiple projections in a unique gallery installation of red vinyl, designed in close consultation with Anger.
Complementing the films is an archive of photographs, scrapbooks, and memorabilia from Anger’s personal collection that illustrates the filmmaker’s unique vision of Hollywood’s golden era. The inspiration and source material for the filmmaker’s infamous celebrity “gossip” books Hollywood Babylon, (1975) and Hollywood Babylon II (1984), the collection centers on stars such as Rudolph Valentino and Greta Garbo, as well as now lesser-known icons like silent-film actress Billie Dove. Anger grew up in Hollywood. His grandmother was a costume mistress, and he is claimed to have appeared as a child actor in the Warner Brothers production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935). The world of the classic studios and the mystique of its major figures radiates throughout the photographs, press clippings, letters, and memorabilia on display, which Anger has gathered across many decades.
Technicolor Skull, a multimedia collaboration featuring Kenneth Anger on Theremin and Los Angeles artist Brian Butler on guitar and electronic instruments, will perform for the first time in Los Angeles at the exhibition opening on November 19. Technicolor Skull is a magick ritual of light and sound in the context of a live performance. The project premiered at Donaufestival in Austria, in April 2008, and has subsequently toured throughout Europe, performing at the National Museum of Art, Copenhagen, and the Serralves Museum, Portugal, and recently at the Hiro Ballroom, New York, for the Anthology Film Archives benefit.
Opening: Saturday, November 19, 7–10pm, Technicolor Skull will perform at 8pm.