Sharjah Art Foundation

March Meeting 2011

3-Day Cultural Symposium on ongoing and future art and cultural initiatives by professionals from across the globe

Artists for Reel: Visual Artists Biopics - Arshile Gorky's Life

March Meeting 2011
Artists for Reel: Visual Artists Biopics - Arshile Gorky's Life
Georgia Kotretsos

Artists for Reel: Visual Artists Biopics - Arshile Gorky's Life Image

Overview

Georgia Kotretsos presented her research project Artists for Reel: Visual Artists Biopics using Atom Egoyan’s movie portrayal of Arshile Gorky’s life, Ararat, as a case study. Kotretsos’ research unpicks the genre of the biopic and asks whether as viewers we have come to expect a certain formula from such films; a formula that serves to create a ‘public history’ of the artists’ lives. Kotretsos’ project—which will eventually constitute a book—aims to bridge the gap between what we experience on movie theatre screens and what we read on the pages of art history.

Presentation Proposal

Artists for Reel is a research project that focuses on the portrayal and interpretation of artists in the film genre known as biopic (biographical films). Since the 1920s nearly 70 biopics have been produced on over 40 acclaimed visual artists in Europe, the Middle East, South America, Russia, Asia and the United States. Surprisingly, the vast majority of these films can be attributed to the new millennium. Visual artists are portrayed prominently in this film genre, yet the art world remains indifferent and continues sceptically to frown upon this by/bio-product of art. There is one history written by the art world for art professionals, and another on film created especially to appeal to moviegoers—public history. Inevitably, the artists’ identities and practices are caricatured, stereotyped and distorted. This by/bio-product of art penetrates the art world by giving the genre the critical attention it deserves and a place fairly earned in contemporary art discourse.

Georgia Kotretsos

Georgia Kotretsos is a visual artist and writer based in Athens, Greece. Raised in South Africa, Kotretsos received a BFA from the Durban Institute of Technology, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa (2000) and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA, on a Full Merit Scholarship, (2004). Kotretsos was a founding member of the Boots Contemporary Art Space, St. Louis, Missouri, USA (2006-10) and the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Boot Print, a publication dedicated to contemporary art, published by Boots. Kotretsos also writes for the Art:21 blog in New York where she has a monthly column titled Inside the Artist’s Studio. She has exhibited her work in South Africa, the United States, and Europe.

Artists for Reel: Visual Artists Biopics - Arshile Gorky’s Life

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