Artists on Camera
Michael Blackwood Productions

Festival dei Due Mondi, Spoleto, Italy, 
24 June – 10 July 2022

Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies

As part of the Festival dei Due Mondi 2022 in Spoleto, Italy, the Mahler & LeWitt Studios is pleased to present Artists on Camera: Michael Blackwood Productions, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Michael Blackwood is one of the most established and prolific art documentary makers and has produced over 150 films from the 1960s to now, chronicling the stories of the most impactful creative minds of their day. One of Michael Blackwood’s early films documented the 10th anniversary of the Spoleto Festival, in 1967 (this film will be screened throughout the Festival at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios). This is the first review of Michael Blackwood’s work; 15 films will be presented across three venues, including Sala Pegasus, a cinema in a 12th century church, and  the Collicola Arena, an outdoor cinema screen in the courtyard of the Palazzo Collicola Arti Visive, the modern art gallery of Spoleto. 

The Artists on Camera: Michael Blackwood Productions film series highlights historic work by a diverse group of artists working in a range of disciplines, bringing their stories to the attention of a new generation of artists and audiences. The series opens with Blackwood’s earliest film Broadway Express, 1959, a portrait of New York through the city’s subway system, shot in the vèritè style he would establish in all his films. Also screening are Sol LeWitt: 4 Decades, 2001, and Isamu Noguchi, 1972, partly shot in Spoleto with the artist’s friend and colleague Buckminster Fuller. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 1995, who wrapped several buildings in Spoleto for the 1968 festival, is followed by Butoh: Body on the Edge of Crisis, 1990. Two of Blackwood’s important survey films, The Sensual Nature of Sound: 4 Composers, Laurie Anderson, Tania Leon, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, 1993 and 4 Artists: Robert Ryman, Eva Hesse, Bruce Nauman, Susan Rothenberg, 1988, are followed by the recently remastered Monk and Monk in Europe, both 1968, a two-part portrait of the great jazz composer and pianist. Other films being screened through the festival include: Philip Guston: A Life Lived, 1981, Making Dances: Seven Post Modern Choreographers, 1980 (screened during the visit of the Trisha Brown Dance Company to the 2022 Festival), A Composer’s Notes: Philip Glass and the Making of an Opera, 1985, The New York School, 1972, and Spoleto USA: A Festival Discovers America, 1977, which documents the first US Spoleto Festival, which continues today in Charleston. Michael Blackwood Productions is an independent production company that has produced over 150 documentaries on the arts and its contributors. The collection features over 1,000 participants or subjects, and spans over six decades of documentation, beginning in the 1960s and including earlier material, through the second decade of the 21st Century. The films serve as primary documents for educational and archival purposes, as well as informative and special interest pieces for the general public. A growing number of educational institutions, libraries, museums and various media outlets are acquiring the films around the world. The collection itself is one of the largest and most significant of its kind. The Festival dei Due Mondi was founded by the popular opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti in 1958 and was one of the first multi-disciplinary arts festivals of its type. It quickly garnered international recognition for developing and promoting avant-garde art, often in public environments. It takes place in June and July each year and makes use of the plethora of exhibition and performances venues boasted by the town of Spoleto – including the Teatro Romano, two opera houses and the many Piazzas. The newly appointed Director of the Festival is Monique Veaute, formerly of Palazzo Grassi and also director of Roma Europa Festival. Mahler & LeWitt Studios: Our residencies and special projects are established around the former studios of stone sculptor Anna Mahler (1904-1988) and conceptual artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) in Spoleto, Umbria IT. The Torre Bonomo, a medieval tower once used as a residency and exhibition space by the gallerist Marilena Bonomo (1928-2014), is also central to the program. Recent special projects include Tai Shani: The Neon Hieroglyph and Lina Hermsdorf: Bona Dea (both 2021), and Allison Katz: Traforati (2019). The residencies provide a focused and stimulating environment for artists, curators and writers to develop new ways of working in dialogue with peers and the unique cultural heritage of the region.