reframing

Currently, I’m figuring out how to describe my work in a “Studio Art” context. Any recommendations as to performance artists and performing artists and fine artists that I should be looking up as my forebears are welcome.

Briefly:

Man on Wire / The story of performer Philippe Petit’s famous tightrope walk between the World Trade Center twin towers in 1974. We know at the beginning of the movie that the walk succeeded; we know that Petit lived to tell the tale. It could so easily be reduced to a VH1 special narrative. But director James Marsh expertly manipulates archival footage, interviews and re-enactment to create the tension leading up to the event, through the community of friends and hangers-on who committed with Petit to making this gorgeous, insane dream possible.

It is really so well constructed that when we finally reach that tightrope walk, which remains Petit’s magnum opus, we are left as dazzled as the WTC cop (my favorite footage in the entire film) who, at the press conference, calls Petit a “dancer” because you couldn’t just call what he was doing walking, exactly, and says that he decided to just really watch and appreciate what was going on, because he knew he’d never see anything like that again.

We have also been set up to appreciate the more sophisticated story Marsh created–by turns heroic, ecstatic and melancholy–about making art, the nature of friendship and collaboration, and the corruptions of success and genius. Beautiful, beautiful movie.

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