Art Gallery of Alberta

!Women in Art Film Series

!Women in Art Film Series

This film series explores the lives and careers of significant female artists through the lens of recent notable documentaries. The film series includes “an entertaining and revelatory ‘secret history’ of Feminist Art” as seen in the documentary !Women Art Revolution (from which this series takes its name), Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine and Ghost Noise, a documentary about Cape Dorset artist Shuvinai Ashoona.

This film series coincides with the exhibition Alberta Mistresses of the Modern: 1935-1975, and kicks off on Tuesday, March 13 at 7 pm. Occurring on the second Tuesday of every month for eight consecutive months, this series is the product of a partnership between the Art Gallery of Alberta and Metro Cinema, which is now located at the Garneau Theatre.

Film Listing

March 13 | !Women Art Revolution
April 10 | The Woodmans
May 8 | The Heretics
June 12 | Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine
July 10 | Marina Abramović The Artist is Present
August 14 | Wanda Koop & Ghost Noise
September 11 | Guest of Cindy Sherman
October 9 | Our City Dreams


Tickets: $10 Adults /$8 AGA & Metro Members, Students and Seniors
Series Pass: $50 Adults / $40 Metro and AGA Members, Students and Seniors
Tickets are for sale through the Metro Cinema box office.

Presented in partnership with the Art Gallery of Alberta and Metro Cinema Society.

Film Descriptions

!Women Art Revolution

Still Photography of the Guerrilla Girls by Orange Photography, San Francisco.

A film by Lynn Hershman Leeson
USA | 83 minutes | 2010

Tuesday, March 13, 7 pm
Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712 109 Street

An entertaining and revelatory “secret history” of Feminist Art, !Women Art Revolution deftly illuminates this under-explored movement through conversations, observations, archival footage and works of visionary artists, historians, curators and critics. Starting from its roots in 1960s antiwar and civil rights protests, the film details major developments in women’s art through the 1970s and explores how the tenacity and courage of these pioneering artists resulted in what is now widely regarded as the most significant art movement of the late 20th century.

For more than forty years, filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson (Teknolust, Strange Culture) has collected a plethora of interviews with her contemporaries—and shaped them into an intimate portrayal of their fight to break down barriers facing women both in the art world and society at large. With a rousing score by Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein, !W.A.R. features Miranda July, The Guerilla Girls, Yvonne Rainer, Judy Chicago, Marina Abramovic, Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, B. Ruby Rich, Ingrid Sischy, Carolee Schneemann, Miriam Schapiro, Marcia Tucker and countless other groundbreaking figures.

The Woodmans

Portrait of Francesca Woodman and her father George Woodman taken by Francesca Woodman. Untitled 1980 (New York). Credit: Lrober Films / Betty and George Woodman.

A film by C. Scott Willis
USA | 88 minutes | 2010

Tuesday, April 10,  7 pm
Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712 109 Street 

A fascinating, unflinching portrait of the late photographer Francesca Woodman, told through the young artist’s work (including experimental videos and journal entries) and remarkably candid interviews with her artist parents Betty and George (a ceramic sculptor and painter/photographer), who have continued their own artistic practices while watching Francesca’s professional reputation eclipse their own.

The Heretics

Heresies Collective. Copyright: No More Nice Girls Productions, 2012.

A film by Joan Braderman
USA | 95 minutes | 2009

Tuesday, May 8, 7 pm
Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712 109 Street 

Tracing the influence of the Women’s Movement’s Second Wave on art and life, The Heretics is the exhilarating inside story of the New York feminist art collective that produced “Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics” (1977-92). In this feature-length documentary, cutting-edge video artist/writer/director Joan Braderman, who joined the group in 1975 as an aspiring filmmaker, charts the collective’s challenges to terms of gender and power and its history as a microcosm of the period’s broader transformations.

On the road with her camera crew from New Mexico to Italy, Braderman reconnects with 28 other group members, including writer/critic Lucy Lippard, architect Susanna Torre, filmmaker Su Friedrich, and artists Ida Applebroog, Mary Miss, Miriam Schapiro, and Cecilia Vicuña. Still funny, smart and sexy, the geographically dispersed participants revisit how and why they came together and the extraordinary times they shared—supporting and exploring women’s art and demanding the right to be heard.

Enlivened by striking digital motion graphics, The Heretics intercuts interviews with archival film clips, video and stills from the period, texts and images from “Heresies” magazines, and footage of completed artworks and works-in-progress. An exuberant, multi-layered collage, the film brings the Heresies collective—and its strategies for unlocking the potential in women’s lives—vividly to the screen.

Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine

Artist Louise Bourgeois with Spider IV in 1996. Photo: Peter Bellamy.

A film by Marion Cajori and Amei Wallach
USA | 99 minutes | 2008

Tuesday, June 12, 7 pm
Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712 109 Street 

Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine is a cinematic journey inside the life and imagination of an icon of modern art. As a screen presence, Louise Bourgeois is magnetic, mercurial and emotionally raw. There is no separation between her life as an artist and the memories and emotions that affect her every day. Her process is on full display in this extraordinary documentary. As an artist, Louise Bourgeois has for six decades been at the forefront of successive new developments, but always on her own powerfully inventive and disquieting terms. In 1982, at the age of 71, she became the first woman to be honored with a major retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. In the decades since, she has created her most powerful and persuasive work that has been exhibited, studied and lectured on worldwide. Filmed with unparalleled access between 1993 and 2007, Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine is a comprehensive and dramatic documentary of creativity and revelation. It is an intimate, human and educational engagement with an artist’s world.

Marina Abramović The Artist is Present

Photo by Marco Anelli © 2010

A film by Matthew Akers and Jeff Dupre
USA | 105 minutes | 2011

Tuesday, July 10, 7 pm
Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712 109 Street 

Seductive, fearless, and outrageous, Marina Abramović has been redefining what art is for nearly forty years. Using her own body as a vehicle, pushing herself beyond her physical and mental limits – and at times risking her life in the process – she creates performances that challenge, shock and move us. Through her and with her, boundaries are crossed, consciousness expanded, and art as we know it is reborn. She is quite simply, one of the most compelling artists of our time.

She is also a glamous art-world icon, a lightning rod for controversy, and myth of her own making. She is most certainly unlike anyone you have ever met before.

The feature-length documentary film Marina Abramović The Artist is Present takes us inside Marina’s world, following her as she prepares for what may be the most important moment of her life: a major retrospective of her work, taking place at theMuseum of Modern Art inNew York. To be given a retrospective at one of the world’s premiere museums is, for any living artist, the most exhilarating sort of milestone. For Marina, it is far more: it is the chance to finally silence the question she has been hearing over and over again for four decades: “but why is this art?”

Wanda Koop

Wanda Koop. Image: Site Media Inc.

A film by Katherine Knight
Canada | 52 minutes | 2011

Tuesday, August 14, 7 pm
Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712 109 Street 

Two 30-year career retrospectives at the Winnipeg and National Art Gallery are approaching and the visionary Canadian artist Wanda Koop is preparing massive new paintings of archetypal cities and familiar yet disquieting landscapes. Named by Time Magazine as one of Canada’s best artists, recipient of the Order of Canada, honorary doctorates and prizes, Wanda negotiates the tension of private and public as she meets the demands of creating privately and exhibiting publicly. Breaking from the demands of the studio she embarks on a journey by freighter boat. Sketches, photographs and moments of observation soon lead to a new group of astonishing paintings and insights into the creative process.

This is an experience based film. Questions about vision, perception and creative thinking are explored. How do eyes, brain and imagination interact during the process of artistic creation? How does Wanda transform her physical environment into a two-dimensional world of extraordinary colour? A sketching trip by freighter boat, landscapes, colour and vision science experiments accompanied by interviews, a poetic text and an evocative music score follow creative process from the real to the imagined.

The film explores the importance of the Artist’s Studio, as a factory of the imagination. We meet Wanda in her newly renovated factory building where the multifaceted process of making, storing, archiving, marketing and selling her work occur. This is a wondrous world of hundreds of paintings, thousands of sketches and tables full of the painter’s tools.

This is also a knowledge-based film that explores the science of vision, colour and perception. Wanda Koop’s vision is tested in at the 3D Vision Research Lab at York University.

The film style follows Wanda’s painting style. Colour is saturated and precise. Pacing alternates between fast and immersive to still and contemplative. The idea of glancing, noticing and observing is developed throughout. The real and the abstract co-exist. We enter Wanda’s world.

Ghost Noise

A film by Marcia Connolly
Canada | 23 minutes | 2010

Tuesday, August 14, screening with Wanda Koop
Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712 109 Street 

“I do not draw simply the surface of the landscape.
I feel I am capturing the breath and soul of the earth.”

Ghost Noise leads the viewer into the magical world of third generation Inuit artist, Shuvinai Ashoona. The film mirrors the poetry found within Ashoona’s meticulously detailed drawings that deftly reflect personal experience, psychological perception, Inuit mythology and the arctic landscape. Connolly shows Ashoona at work in the Kinngait Studios where she has been working for over 15 years, and in the surrounding streets and landscapes of Cape Dorset, a small hamlet in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. As Ashoona states, “Everything’s a ghost noise… It’s good to listen to them but it’s not good to learn it.”

Guest of Cindy Sherman

Paul H-O and Jeanne Tripplehorn, Discussing relationships, still from Guest of Cindy Sherman, 2009, Courtesy of Trela Media.

A film by Paul H-O and Tom Donahue
USA| 88 minutes | 2008

Tuesday, September 11, 7 pm
Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712 109 Street 

Guest of Cindy Sherman takes an eye-opening look at what happens when a skeptical outsider finds himself romantically involved with the ultimate insider.

Paul H-O became a fixture of the New York art scene in the 1990s with his public access show GalleryBeat. Armed with a video camera, he attended art gallery openings, amusing some with his candid, witty assessments of their work, but also winning many fans. Among the latter was Cindy Sherman, the press-shy artist who is internationally acknowledged as one of the world’s most gifted and significant visual talents. Cindy invites Paul to her studio for a series of exclusive interviews and through these videotaped encounters, he gains unprecedented insight into her artistic process and a romantic relationship blossoms. Their initial bliss ends when Paul finds himself wracked with anxiety about his own personality becoming subsumed by his role as Cindy’s guest at the celebrity-studded openings and dinners she regularly attends.

Filmed over 15 years and including interviews with a veritable who’s who of the art and entertainment world (including Ingrid Sischy, John Waters, Robert Longo, Carol Kane, David Furnish, Danny DeVito, and Molly Ringwald), the film paints a vivid picture of the New York art scene that is also a witty, illuminating look at celebrity, male anxiety, and art.

Our City Dreams

Image: Di Dan Luca Films

A film by Chiara Clemente
USA | 87 minutes | 2008

Tuesday, October 9, 7 pm
Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712 109 Street 

Filmed over the course of two years, OUR CITY DREAMS is an invitation to visit the creative spaces of five women artists, each of whom possesses her own energy, drive and passion. These women, who span different decades and represent diverse cultures, have one thing in common beyond making art: the city to which they have journeyed and now call home – New York.

The artists profiled are Nancy Spero, who was at the forefront of the feminist movement of the late 50s and 60s and whose work continues to question the polemics of sexual identity and warfare; Marina Abramovic, a pioneer of performance art who uses her own body as a canvas to respond deeply to contemporary cultural issues; Kiki Smith, who addresses philosophical, social and spiritual aspects of the human body through work that incorporates glass, plaster, ceramic, bronze and paper; Ghada Amer, who paints erotic canvases in traditional needle and thread and who refuses to bow to the puritanical elements of Western and Islamic culture and “institutionalized feminism”; and Swoon, one of New York’s most promising emerging artists, whose arresting and fugitive street art transmits the pulse of urban life. Director Chiara Clemente combines an intimate style of documentary filmmaking with the ephemera of city life surrounding each woman and the work she creates.