Abstract Animation

Yesterday an exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on the post-war German, and eventually international, network of artists called Zero closed.  I had never heard of the group or most of its members, but it was a great exhibit and an interesting moment in (art) history…

One of the recurring themes for the group and many of its members was movement in art, either literally art with moving parts, or optically, creating the impression of movement.

Vision in Motion / Motion in Vision exhibit at Hessenhuis, Antwerp 1959

Vision in Motion / Motion in Vision exhibit at Hessenhuis, Antwerp 1959

As such, it was interesting that one of the earliest group shows, whose distinctive installation (seen above) the Guggenheim mimicked in part of their own exhibit, was called Vision in Motion – Motion in Vision.  Held in an old industrial building in Antwerp in 1959, it included some moving pieces, proto-op-art pieces implying movement, and one abstract animation by the American Robert Breer.

The Breer piece included in the Guggenheim was Phase Forms IV, from 1959, and the above animation, Eyewash, was from the same year, the earliest piece I could find by him online…  The piece I saw at the Guggenheim, maybe more than this one, reminded me a tiny bit of a better known 1965 semi-abstract animation by that American animation giant, Chuck Jones:

Kindred spirits-ish…

Chuck Jones Centennial

Add a cartoony centennial to this year’s already full slate of opera anniversaries.

Chuck Jones, creator of some of the most popular Looney Tunes characters and award-winning director of diverse animated movies like The Phantom Tollbooth and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, was born in 1912 in Spokane, Washington.  To celebrate, the BAM Cinémathek in Brooklyn is hosting two screenings of his Looney Tunes shorts tonight and tomorrow at 6:50 pm, as part of their larger Chuck Amuck film series.

Three of Jones‘ 1950s Looney Tunes cartoons are included in the National Film Registry, and American film guru Roger Ebert wrote a lovely appraisal of the art form and the man here.  And credit where it’s due, Michael Maltese wrote all three of the National Film Registry cartoons, so looks like it was a good working relationship…

To branch out from his ubiquitous Looney Tunes work, here’s his 1965 Oscar-winning short for Metro-Goldwyn-MayerThe Dot and the Line.

Pretty freaky stuff for the Looney Tunes guy…  Tell me that the Dot and the Squiggle weren’t having some crazy kinky sex on-screen…