White Light Cinema Presents C. Fitzgibbon at the Nightingale, Chicago, 10/15/10

White Light Cinema Presents Restoring Appearances to Order: Rare Films by Coleen Fitzgibbon
With Coleen Fitzgibbon in Person!

Friday, October 15, 2010 – 7:30pm
At The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
Chicago, IL

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White Light Cinema is pleased to welcome filmmaker Coleen Fitzgibbon, who will present a selection of rare works from the 1970s. Fitzgibbon’s work has been making a resurgence over the last couple of years, with screenings around the U.S. and Canada of newly preserved prints of several of her major titles. This show will include one of those, RESTORING APPEARANCES TO ORDER IN 12 MINUTES, but will primarily focus on extremely rare films, mostly Super-8mm and Regular-8mm – many of which have not publicly shown since the 1970s, and some never shown publicly before. Fitzgibbon will be in person to discuss her filmmaking, her time at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her participation in Colab, an important early artists’ collective.

“Coleen Fitzgibbon was active as an experimental film and video artist under the pseudonym “Colen Fitzgibbon” between the years 1973-1980. A student of Owen Land (aka “George Landow”) and Stan Brakhage during her years as a film/video student at Art Institute of Chicago (1971-73), she later attended the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program under Ron Clark (1973-74), studying with international artists such as Michael Snow, Yvonne Rainer, Vito Acconci, Donald Judd, and Dennis Oppenheim. Between the years 1973-1976 Fitzgibbon made some of her most rigorous experimental work to date on 16mm and super 8 film, screening at numerous international film festivals and museums, including EXPRMNTL 5 at Knokke-Heist in Belgium, Institute of Contemporary Art in London, Anthology Film Archives, Collective For Living Cinema, and Millennium Film Workshop in New York.

Fitzgibbon’s films of this period can be considered as part of a second wave of structural filmmakers. Influenced by the modernist cinema of the mid-to-late 60’s and heralded by P. Adams Sitney as “structural film” – an emerging canon of work which included films by Owen Land, Michael Snow, Paul Sharits, Tony Conrad, Hollis Frampton, Joyce Wieland – Fitzgibbon’s films were deeply rooted in the high formalist aspirations of the avant-garde.

Her experience in the Whitney’s ISP program further enriched her critical disposition toward her subject matter, in particular the emerging discourse of institutional critique.

Institutional critique continued in more performance based work with artist Robin Winters under the collaborative name X + Y (1976-1978). During this brief period X + Y made a body of work spanning film, video, installation, and performance. Fitzgibbon’s collaborative sensibilities continued when she co-founded the New York based Collaborative Projects, Inc. (Colab). Forming in 1977, Colab was an organized group of 30 to 60 artists seeking an alternative outlet that would call into question and challenge the emergence of the “art market” in their New York milieu. Fitzgibbon recalls: “The Colab period was an attempt at a non-hierarchical socialist art movement within NYC’s international capital finance system, and had been inspired by other earlier groups such as Oldenberg’s Store, The Fox publications, Judson Dance Group and the teachings of Ron Clark, as well as others.” The roster of artists in Colab included Robin Winters, Jenny Holzer, Peter Fend, Liza Bear, Kiki Smith, Tom Otterness, Charlie and John Ahearn – to name a few. An integral member in Colab, Fitzgibbon organized artist shows in her loft studio at 5 Bleeker Street with thematic titles such as “Income & Wealth,” “Manifesto” (with Jenny Holzer and Robert Cooney), “Just Another Asshole” (with Barbara Ess, Jane Sherry, and Virginia Piersol); as well as being one of the key organizers of the notorious Times Square Show in 1980.” (Balagan Cinema)


(1973, 4 mins., 16mm film transferred to digital video)
Made in Chicago with Christa Maiwald.
“The girls go for exercise in Chicago, with two 8mm cameras, with sound.” (CF)

(1975, 8 mins., 16mm)
“A nonstop visual flow of headlines and text, all drawn from an issue of Time Magazine, from cover to cover. The effect is an incessant restlessness of the filmic frame.” (Sandra Gibson)

(1975, 10 mins., 16mm)
“Restoring the Appearance to Order opens with the sounds of running water, then an image of a dirty, paint-splattered sink. A woman steps into the frame and begins to scour, scrubbing away the paint and grime. The camera remains static; the shot continues for a full 12 minutes, ending abruptly before the task is complete, the work of art offering but a glimpse of the labor around it.” (Holly Willis)

L.E.S. (Lower East Side)
(1975, 25 mins., Super-8mm transferred to digital video)
“The story of the collapse of the problematic island of Manhattma, whose inhabitants worshiped the god of mamon, John Doe. Shot in the lower eastside of Manhattan, NYC circa 1976. Filmed on Super-8mm with sound, summer 1976, shown on ?” videotape 1978 on Manhattan Cable Channel D, Collaborative Projects, Inc.’s Red Curtain show.” (Sandra Gibson)

Also a never seen before selection of recently preserved Super-8 films from the 1970s, including:

(1973, 6 mins., Super-8mm transferred to digital video)
“’Trip to Carolee’s’ is a diary, filmed by C. Fitzgibbon and partially by Margerie Keller; trip starts in NYC as they drive up to Carolee Schneemann’s for the weekend to take care of her cat, Kitsch, and to relax in the country. They are exhausted from life in the big city. The trip to NYC ends up at Fitzgibbon’s studio.” (Sandra Gibson)

(1973, 6 mins., Super-8mm transferred to digital video)
“’Margie’s House’ is a diary film by Fitzgibbon shot at Margerie Keller’s house with several friends visiting.” (Sandra Gibson)

Plus possible additional unannounced titles.

Fitzgibbon will also be showing a program of work at the Conversations at the Edge series at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Thursday, October 14 at 6pm.Special thanks to Coleen Fitzgibbon, Sandra Gibson, and Amy Beste.

Admission: $7-10 sliding scale.