Feb 052010

If you are in the Boston area, there are some great animation happenings right now! First of all, my friend and fellow (normally) Seattle-based animator Sarah Jane Lapp is a visiting artist at Harvard for the next few months, and she will be giving a talk about her work on Thursday, February 11th at 6PM. A short description of SJ’s work:

“Lapp makes drawings, paintings, and films—the latter which, of late, have evolved as mostly hand-drawn animation and investigations of some interface between comic personae and religious imagination. She frequently collaborates with virtuoso contrabassist Mark Dresser and their most recent animations include Chronicles of a Professional EulogistChronicles of an Asthmatic Stripper, and Bedtime Story. Until its recent print demise she served as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s ‘op-artist,’ constructing visual essays around issues politically and perennially complicated. She is represented by Galerie Nauman and Galerie Altes Rathaus Musberg in Germany as well as the Seattle Art Museum/Gallery. Sarah Jane Lapp website. New SJL animation: Elephant in Motion

Additional excitement lies in a temporary exhibition held at Harvard’s Sert Glallery called ‘FRAME BY FRAME: ANIMATED AT HARVARD’ (January 28–Feb 14, 2010). It’s happening NOW, and only runs until February 14th, so get your butts down there! Here is an excerpt from the official gallery description:

“The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University presents Frame by Frame: Animated at Harvard, an exhibition showcasing Harvard’s animation history: rarely-seen films retrieved from the Harvard Film Archive, works by world-renowned recent animation faculty, and a survey of films by current and former students of the department.

Animation tends to be a condensed art form, using metamorphosis and metaphor to collide and expand meaning. In this way it resembles poetry. It is a way of expressing and communicating invisible, abstract ideas, allowing us to analyze and deconstruct time and to understand movement as both a liquid flow and a sequence of distinct infinitesimals. While only a few students specialize in animation for their final thesis work, a wide range of students take one or two animation classes during their time at Harvard. Students are encouraged to use the particular demands and rewards of animation to help them think differently about the world.

Frame by Frame: Animated at Harvard will feature classic films from the Harvard Film Archive including Caroline Leaf’s Sand, or Peter and the Wolf, (pictured above) a loose interpretation of the fable Peter and the Wolf. The film marks the start of Leaf’s technique of under-the-camera animation, which she developed in subsequent films; in her hands the extraordinary graphic possibilities of sand are revealed. Produced during a stay at Harvard’s Film Study Center by famed Polish animator and poster designer Jan Lenica, Landscape (1974) invokes the artist’s Nazi occupation experience. Asparagus(1979), by Suzan Pitt, was called “…one of the most lavish and wondrous animated shorts ever made, an overwhelming visual experience.” by award-winning animator and animation historian John Canemaker.”

Amazing, right? Here are the gallery hours:

Sert Gallery Hours:
Tue-Sun 1–5 pm

Here is a Boston Globe article about the exhibition, where the author reads my mind: “Nothing demonstrates our collective conservatism as imaginative creatures quite so much as our response to animation. The medium has no practical limits on what it can do. Yet for all intents and purposes – certainly for all commercial purposes – animation gets reduced to children’s programming or a vehicle for slapstick.”

I happen to be in Boston at the tail end of the exhibition, so stay tuned for a review.

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