SAAM's Summer Film Series About Artists

Xavier J. Barile's 42nd St. Nocturne

What do artists Johannes Vermeer, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Frida Kahlo all have in common? They are all featured in this summer's artist film program at SAAM.

Throughout the summer we will screen six films highlighting some of the best art and artists. Whether you're into contemporary graffiti art, or classical Impressionism, there is sure to be a film you will enjoy. These great films take us behind the artwork and into the minds and lives of some of the art world's masters to reveal unique insights into their way of working.

Kicking off the summer film program on June 4 is the documentary film Tim's Vermeer. Nominated for Best Documentary Film at the 2014 British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards, this film follows inventor Tim Jenison as he conducts experiments to discover how 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer achieved perspective in his paintings. This film is directed by magician Raymond Teller and produced by his partner in slight-of-hand, Pen Jillette.

Basquiat, which will be screened Saturday June 18, is a 1996 award-winning film directed by Julian Schnable and is the first major feature film about an African American artist. Based on the real life of Jean-Michel Basquiat (played by Jeffrey Wright), this film follows the street artist as he makes his way through his meteoric career in the New York art world alongside friend and mentor Andy Warhol (played by David Bowie). More than simply a biography, Basquiat dives deep into major issues of the contemporary art community, such as race and commercialization.

Known for her free spirit, vivid colors, and ability to capture her unconscious mind on canvas, Frida Kahlo was one of the most acclaimed artists in Mexican history. The film Frida, directed by Julie Taymor, will screen on July 16. This biopic shows the turbulent life of this fascinating artist (played by Salma Hayek), from her youthful and passionate adventures as a teenager to her turbulent marriage to muralist Diego Rivera (played by Alfred Molina). If you enjoy passion, drama, and vivid colors, then make a date to see this movie.

Through the magic of cinema, we can explore the passions of Frida Kahlo's life, ponder the paradoxes of contemporary art movements, and unearth the mechanical secrets of a 17th-century master painter. These films are not only informative, but they can be seen as works of art in and of themselves. Culturally significant in their ability to reflect our dreams, ideas, and society, movies are also a modern pallet for artist.

Be sure to mark your calendars for these three films or all six in our series. Seating at SAAM's McEvoy Auditorium is first come first served. Every show starts at 3 p.m.