Films for artists

Tonight I watched “Our City Dreams” directed by Chiara Clemente (here’s a link to the trailer: I don’t remember where I saw the reference to this film, but I found it on Netflix. The five women artists who are featured in the 2008 film range in age from Swoon in her early 30s to Nancy Spero who had just turned 80 during the filming. With the exception of Marina Abramovic and Kiki Smith, I wasn’t familiar with any of the artists work. It’s also not work, for the most part, that I’ve had much interest in, but the film presented both the artists and their work in a way that kept me watching. The difference between the experiences of the older artists and that of the younger ones was profound. Not in relation to the work itself or their dedication to it, but to the obstacles they encountered because of their sex. I saw the history of the second wave of feminism in the transitions from Nancy Spero’s struggle to raise three children while still pursuing her passion for art forms that the establishment was mostly ignoring, to Swoon, whose work was already acclaimed and being supported through sales of her work. The musical accompaniment throughout was evocative as well, though I wished the credits at the end would go by more slowly, and that my television screen were large enough to permit my reading them. Particularly, there was an extraordinarily beautiful aria that I wish I had in my music collection. I would recommend this film to other women artists especially, but really to anyone with an interest in contemporary art. Chiara Celemente is the daughter of the artist Francesco Clemente.

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