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If You Feel It, Peel It: 42nd Street Peepshow Films and Beyond programmed by MM Serra and Josh Lewis
Morbid Anatomy Museum
Brooklyn, NY
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If You Feel It, Peel It: 42nd Street Peepshow Films and Beyond programmed by MM Serra and Josh Lewis
Date: Saturday, February 13th
Time: 7pm
Admission: $10
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn

Late in 2004, the experimental filmmaker, curator, and author MM Serra discovered a box of short 16mm pornographic films outside of a semi-defunct adult bookstore on 42nd Street. These films, created cheaply in the 1940s for use in coin-operated peepshow booths, were some of the final remnants of Manhattan's disappearing sex district. Historically, these were a form of male entertainment that featured short, softcore vignettes of amateur female performers. The abandoned reels of 16mm film could not have found a better rescuer, since Serra's own film and video work often examines the corporeal worlds of gender, sexuality, and explicit images.

A decade later, Josh Lewis filmmaker and founder of Negativland, the Brooklyn-based artist film laboratory, was driving a box truck back from Cleveland to New York with a salvaged 16mm contact printer in tow -- itself a discard from film's waning material dependence -- like Serra's acquisition of 16mm peepshow reels, a reclaiming of derelict material to fuel his own artistic practice.

These two acts of reclamation prompted a collaboration between Serra and Lewis, beginning a year-long process of duplicating, reprinting and chemically altering the film material into various states of abstraction.

In this hour long program titled "If You Feel It, Peel It: 42nd Street Peepshow Films and Beyond" the PEEPSHOW element includes such enticing works of arane titillation as "Nudie Dudie Ranchero" (c.1940), "How to Take a Sunbath" (c.1940), and "How to Hold a Husband" (c.1950), while the BEYOND takes the form of the interstitial avant-garde erotic works in the program, culminating in "Enduring Ornament" the resultant synthesis of contact printer, photochemical experimentation, nudie peeps, and the exuberant compound word poetry of Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven.

MM Serra and Josh Lewis will be present to introduce and discuss the program.

The Crystal Ball (c.1940)

Chiquita Bananas, 16mm, color, sound, 2 min.

Working Girls [;Trailer]; (1974)

Dimension Pictures, 16mm, color, sound,1 min.

Nudie Dudie Ranchero (c.1940)

Hollywood Films, 16mm, black and white, sound, 3 min.

Women of Bali (c.1950)

Hollywood Films, 16mm, black and white, sound, 3 min.

Just for You Girls (1998)

MM Serra, 16mm, color, sound, 2 min.

New York Honeymoon (c.1945)

16mm, black and white, silent, 10 min.

The Color of Love (1994)

Peggy Awesh, 16mm, color, sound, 10 min.

How to Take a Sunbath (c.1940)

Hollywood Film, 16mm, black and white, silent, 3 min.

If You Feel It, Peel It (1973)

Dole Bananas, 16mm, color, sound, 30 sec.

How to Hold a Husband (c.1950)

Hollywood Films, 16mm, black and white, sound, 4 min.

Enduring Ornament (2015)

MM Serra & Josh Lewis, 16mm to video, color, sound, 14 min.

MM Serra is an experimental filmmaker, curator, author, and the Executive Director of Film-Makers' Cooperative, the world's oldest and largest archive of independent media. MM Serra's work has screened at the New York Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and Museum of Modern Art's Documentary Fortnight Series. Her film "Bitch Beauty" was part of a program "Cinema as Death" at the International School of Cinema and Television (EICTV) of San Antonio de los BaƱos in Cuba. Awards include the Kathy Acker Award for Lifetime Achievement of Excellence in Avant-Garde Art and the Director's' Choice prize at the Black Maria Film Festival. She has curated film screening that have been shown at the Pacific Design Center, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Office of Contemporary Art in Oslo, Norway, as well as programs in Warsaw and Paznan, Poland. MM Serra teaches in the Media Studies program at the New School for Social Research on topics such as horror films, sex and gender, as well as avant-garde cinema.

Josh Lewis is an artist and experimental filmmaker working at a fluid intersection between abstraction, documentary, and narrative forms. Coming from a background of work in photochemical film processing labs, Lewis's handmade films explore the boundaries of manual knowledge, bodily struggle, and the persisting enigma of material potential.

He has shown work at Anthology Film Archives, Eyebeam, Microscope Gallery, Uniondocs, Sight Unseen, Magic Lantern Cinema, Experimental Film Festival Portland, New Orleans Film Festival, Antimatter, Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, the Australian International Experimental Film Festival, and EDOC: Encuentros del otro cine festival internacional de cine documental. Josh is the founder of the artist-run film lab Negativland.

This event was curated by Joel Schlemowitz, Morbid Anatomy Museum Arcane media specialist.

Tickets are non-refundable unless the event is canceled.


Morbid Anatomy Museum (View)
424 A Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
United States




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