Kenneth Anger

February 22–September 21, 2009

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents Kenneth Anger, the first major survey of the filmmaker’s body of work at a U.S. museum in over a decade. Making films since 1947, Anger is considered internationally as a pioneering and influential force in avant-garde cinema. His ground breaking films have inspired the likes of Martin Scorsese, Gus Van Sant, and Guy Maddin. The exhibition will focus primarily on Anger’s early iconic works including Fireworks (1947), Puce Moment (1949), Eaux D’Artifice (1953), Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954 - 66), Scorpio Rising (1963), Kustom Kar Kommandos (1964 - 65), Invocation of my Demon Brother (1969) and Lucifer Rising (1970 – 81). The exhibition is presented in the 2nd floor Kunsthalle.

Kenneth Anger’s work constitutes a radical critique of Hollywood, often evoking and referencing pop icons within occult settings and depicting youth counterculture in the midst of violence and eroticism. Anger does not use a narrative-based style, but rather lyrically explores themes of ritualistic transformation and transfiguration. His films are imbued with a baroque splendor stemming from the heightened sensuality of his opulent colors and imagery. They are often accompanied by a haunting soundtrack, composed by renowned musicians such as Mick Jagger and Bobby Beausoleil.

The exhibition design, consisting primarily of red and silver vinyl partitions and wall and floor coverings, is evocative of the atmosphere of Anger’s films. It extends the sumptuous settings that are depicted on screen into the exhibition space, creating an immersive viewing experience..

Kenneth Anger (b. 1927, Santa Monica, California) has been creating films since the 1940s with his first being Who Has Been Rocking My Dreamboat (1941). Anger’s six-decade-long oeuvre includes most notably Fireworks (1947), Puce Moment (1949), Eaux d'artifice (1953), Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954-66), Scorpio Rising (1963), Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965), Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969), Lucifer Rising (1970-81)), Rabbit's Moon (1950-79), Mouse Heaven (2004), Elliot’s Suicide (2004), and the recent Ich Will! (2008) and Foreplay (2008). He also performs as Technicolor Skull with Brian Butler.


  • Kenneth Anger
    Installation View, 2009
    Photo: Matthew Septimus.  Courtesy P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center

  • Kenneth Anger
    Installation View, 2009
    Photo: Matthew Septimus.  Courtesy P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center

  • Kenneth Anger
    Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome
    1954
    16mm, 38 minutes
    Courtesy the artist

 

Kenneth Anger is organized by Susanne Pfeffer, Curator at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin/P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center Curatorial Advisor with Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator, Department of Media, The Museum of Modern Art/Chief Curatorial Advisor, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center.

The exhibition is made possible by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation and by Philip E. Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons.

 Additional support is provided by The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art.