Living in Studio Kuchar
Curated by Julio César Morales, Hou Hanru, Mary Ellyn Johnson
March 9–April 21, 2012
Walter and McBean Galleries
San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
Free and open to the public
The San Francisco Art Institute is proud to present Living in Studio Kuchar, which highlights the inimitable genius of late independent film legend and SFAI faculty member George Kuchar. The exhibition is on view from March 9 to April 21, 2012 in the Walter and McBean Galleries.
Kuchar’s wildly original vision—tawdry yet tender, perversely humorous, and deeply personal—fueled a body of work spanning nearly 300 films and videos, as well as paintings, drawings, comics, and writing. Beloved by generations of students, Kuchar had taught at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1971, where he and his students in the courses “AC/DC Psychotronic Teleplays” and “Electro-graphic Sinema” made melodrama parodies with minuscule budgets and remarkable spirit.
Living in Studio Kuchar situates Kuchar’s work in the specific locale and community of SFAI, which for four decades served as a site of experimentation and collaboration; a network of students, filmmakers, and friends; and his emotional home. The exhibition transforms the gallery space into an active experience for audiences: Installations reproduce Kuchar’s home studio, and there is a self-serve VHS tape viewing area, a listening station of soundtrack records from Kuchar’s collection, and an interactive filmmaking space where visitors are invited to use costumes and props to make their own Kuchar-esque films.
Other works on view include seminal films such as Hold Me While I’m Naked (1966), ranked as one of the 100 Best Films of the 20th Century by the Village Voice; class films made with SFAI students; selections from the long-running project “Weather Diaries” (including Hot Spell, the last video Kuchar completed before his death in September 2011); and drawings and comics. The exhibition also features videos by both local and international artists—John Waters, Todd Sholtz, Miguel Calderon, Tim Sullivan, and Nao Bustamante, among others—that focus on Kuchar’s influence and mentorship.
Born in New York in 1942, Kuchar began making 8mm movies in the 1950s with his twin brother, Mike. They soon became central to the underground, avant-garde film scene, screening work alongside Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, and Stan Brakhage. Called “legends in the world of experimental film” by Roger Ebert, the Kuchars have influenced filmmakers including Todd Solondz, Gus Van Sant, David Lynch, and Brian De Palma, and theorist Gene Youngblood named George one of the great artists in the history of the moving image.
Kuchar’s film and video work has screened around the globe in cinemas, festivals, and major museums. Recent honors include the exhibition George Kuchar: Pagan Rhapsodies at MoMA PS1 in New York; the addition of his 1977 short film I, An Actress to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry; and his selection for the 2012 Whitney Biennial, to be held March 1 though May 27, 2012 at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
San Francisco Art Institute
Founded in 1871, SFAI is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious schools of higher education in contemporary art. Focusing on the interdependence of thinking, making, and learning, SFAI’s academic and public programs are dedicated to excellence and diversity.
For more information about SFAI, please visit www.sfai.edu or call 415.771.7020.