Art on Screen Databasetm Full Record

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Alternate Title: PAINTED EARTH
Original Title:
Series Title:
Edition Version:
Data: 15 min. col. 16mm; video
Year: 1989
Country of Prod'n: United States
Language: English
Producing Agency: Black Hat Productions, Inc. for the Program for Art on Film, a joint venture of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The J. Paul Getty Trust
Sources: Museum of Modern Art Circ. Film Library; Program for Art on Film; Films Incorporated Video
Int'l Sources:
Director: Anita Thacher
Producer: Anita Thacher
Executive Producer:
Writer: Ann-Sargent Wooster; Rina Swentzell
Camera: John Kraus (pottery); Jack Parsons (New Mexico)
Editor: Nina Shulman; Nancy Kennedy
Narrator: Stan Hirson
Music Composer: Vito Ricci
Art Consultant: J.J. Brody
Addl Credits: Commentator: Rina Swentzell; Add'l Writing: Celia Pearce; Add'l Music: Alvin Lucier
Synopsis: Presents the painted pottery bowls of the Mimbres, a Native American people who lived in the isolated mountain valleys and hot deserts of southwestern New Mexico until their culture died out in the twelfth century. Their pottery art flourished during the years 950 to 1150. Discovered in the late nineteenth century, the ancient pottery is decorated with images that depict the daily lives of the Mimbres, their physical landscape, and their spiritual beliefs. Concentrates on some of the major aesthetic aspects of Mimbres pottery painting, such as the challenge of the concave, hemispheric picture surface and the ambiguous play of pictorial dualities (motion/stillness, white/black, top/bottom). Mobile prop tables and carefully choreographed camera movements were used to elucidate the three-dimensional pictorial qualities of the painted bowls. Includes voice-over commentary by cultural historian Rina Swentzell, a member of the Santa Clara Pueblo tribe. A film by director Anita Thacher and art historian J.J. Brody.
Genre Film: Documentary
Aud./Grade Level: General
Suggested Uses: General Information
Subject Headings:
Native American art -- Mimbres -- North America -- United States -- New Mexico -- 10C 11C 12C
Decorative arts -- Ceramics -- Pottery -- North America -- United States -- New Mexico -- 10C 11C 12C
Assoc Concepts: Iconography
Artist's Name:
Artist on Camera: No
Reviews: AFVA Evaluations, Summer-Fall 90/Winter-Spring 91; Art on Screen Close-Ups, Fall 92
Evaluation: Films the bowls in very dynamic ways, constantly moving. Soundtrack (music and effects) contributes to the experience; moving camera complements images in the bowls. Photographs the bowls quite clearly, although their rotations may seem repetitious and many evaluators wished for better sense of their scale. The voice-over narration arouses a sense of mystery but tells us very little about this culture. But this is strong and memorable introduction to these little-known and marvelous objects. Technical quality good to very good. Content and programming potential very good.

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