Pop in TV and the Movies

The well composed and entertaining exhibition on Whitney in New York runs until March 2013. It has the title ”Dark and Deadpan: Pop in TV and the Movies” and invites you to a dark room with a dozen of screens in different sizes with moving images from the 1960’es. You walk into the room and get the sound – a true cacaphony – from the screens around you, the sound of dialogues, music, speeches, monologues like the one from Andy Warhol, who is eating a burger in the film by Jørgen Leth and Ole John, ”66 Scenes from America” (1981).

That for me very well known clip from the Danish documentary classic is placed on one of the four walls close to a tv screen on the floor showing Warhol’s ice cream commercial for Schrafft’s restaurants. Next to that a clip (by Ger van Elk, 1970) of a cactus being shaved!… Also in the playful genre is George Kuchar’s ”Hold Me While I am Naked” (1961), said to be loosely autobiographical, very funny to watch today as is David Lynch ”The Alphabet” (1968) by imb characterised as ”a woman’s dark and absurdist nightmare vision comprising a continuous recitation of the alphabet and bizarre living representations of each letter.” You dare say so, playful yes, as is the video close by not – that presents numbered photos of soldiers who died in Vietnam.

Pop art is also Godard, isn’t it? Wonderful to see the original trailer of “A Bout de Souffle”, Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo, a revolver, the pretty girl, the bad boy etc.

There is a lot of creativity and naivity in this room (forgot to write that in the more informational end the landing on the moon (July 20 1969) was also in the room, as well as presidential promotion clips for Johnson and Nixon), which is balanced in the room next door with pop art of a more sinister approach. You are really reminded how great an artist Andy Warhol was, when you see his “Nine Jackies” (1964), three times three Jacqueline Kennedy, just before and just after her husband had been shot (November 1963), and in deep grief – and his series “Electric Chair” (1971).

Most of the mentioned films/tv clips you can find on youtube. 

Photo:Sherman Price (active 1960s), still from The Imp-Probable Mr. Weegee, 1966. 35mm film transferred to high-definition video, color, sound; 75 min. Image courtesy Something Weird Video (from the site of Whitney, below). Totally humorous short film about a photographer taking pictures of women and big boobs in Paris.   


Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3866