Chris Kennedy

“No New York”. August 14, 2014

No New York

While Jim Jarmusch is the most famous graduate of the New York No Wave scene that flourished during the late seventies and early eighties, this period saw dozens of fiercely talented artists transforming the economically depressed Fun City into their own scuzzy playground, creating films that resonate with gritty power, DIY flavour, and a hip, post-punk backbeat.

Painter and sculptor James Nares (who also shot the films of several other fellow artists, including Jarmusch regular John Lurie’s classic Men in Orbit) made kinetic films that used deserted streets and buildings to utmost advantage. In Ramp, Nares follows a sculpted concrete ball down the off-ramp of an abandoned highway, while in Waiting for the Wind he creates a visual maelstrom in the loft from which he is being evicted, throwing his possessions and furniture around the room. A wild ride of another sort, Vivienne Dick’s Guerillére Talks offers Super 8 portraits of some of the more outrageous members of the No Wave scene, including singer and poet Lydia Lunch and two members of the punk band the Contortions.

In the gorgeously evocative Day’s End (shot by filmmaker Betsy Sussler), Gordon Matta-Clark creates one of his most powerful artworks in the bowels of a warehouse on Pier 52, sectioning out parts of the wall and floor to allow light and water to enter the space. In Pompeii New York Part 1: Pier Caresses, meanwhile, Ivan Galietti documents another of Pier 52’s uses—as a gay cruising spot—showing how the same walls that Matta-Clark removed contain graffiti of sexual adventure, a salacious tapestry in steel and stone recounting a history that would be forever changed with the advent of AIDS.

Ramp dir. James Nares | USA 1976 | 3 min. | Super 8 on 16mm
Guerillére Talks dir. Vivienne Dick | USA/Ireland 1978 | 25 min. | Super 8 on video
Day’s End dir. Gordon Matta-Clark | USA 1975 | 23 min. 16mm
Pompeii New York Part 1: Pier Caresses dir. Ivan Galietti | USA 1982 | 12 min. | 16mm on video
Waiting for the Wind dir. James Nares | USA 1981 | 8 min. | Super 8 on 16mm

Approx. total running time: 71 min.

Thursday, August 14 6:30pm