Emile de Antonio’s Painters Painting
Painters Painting, long a standard on the college and art house theater circuit, is now available on CD-ROM in Emile de Antonio’s Painters Painting (The Voyager Co.). The documentary developed out of a series of interviews with the artists, critics and dealers involved with the retrospective “New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940-1970,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1969-1970. de Antonio was a friend to many of the artists of the New York school, which included Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol, and spent time filming them in their studios. The CD-ROMis essentially the film, served up five different ways: Movie, Interviews, Exhibition, de Antonio and Index. You can watch the entire one hour and 56 minute film on your computer screen in all its blurry black and white glory, or jump to a particular part of the film. Scroll through the Interviews section, choose an interviewee, say Wilhelm de Kooning. Along with a resume of his career, you can watch film clips or read the text-based transcript of the interview. The Index section allows you to jump to specific themes in each interview, (e.g., Warhol’s musings on Rauschenberg’s exploits) but you are bounced back to the text-based transcript, not the actual film clip. The Exhibition section features a catalogue of the retrospective and out-takes from the film with a soundtrack by John Cage. Finally, the de Antonio section gives some background information about his work along with juicy tidbits from his meticulous journals (get the scoop on John Cage’s affair with Merce Cunningham). Despite such an intriguing cast of characters, and such rich original material, Painters Painting ends up being just another film ported to CD-ROM.
– November 1996