D. Halleck: Artist Collaborations
With DeeDee Halleck
Known far and wide for her media activism, DeeDee Halleck has also had a long and fascinating history of collaboration with some of our most important visual artists. She worked with Robert Frank on the film Keep Busy, which screens November 14 at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. She had a long and close friendship with sculptor Nancy Holt, who passed away this year. Halleck provided cinematography for Holt’s film Pine Barrens (1975, 30 minutes), which Halleck will present in this program.
According to Holt, “Pine Barrens is concerned with evoking through film a barren wilderness in south-central New Jersey. The camera is always in motion — tracking, pivoting and walking through the landscape. Though they are never seen in the film, the voices of the local people, the ‘Pineys,’ are heard relating their feelings about the land, their attitudes about city life, their myths of the area, etc. Their voices and the music of Bill Patton’s Pine Barrens Trio add a psychological dimension to the landscape.”
Last year, warned of her impending death, Nancy Holt asked Halleck to come to Santa Fe to help her complete a film she had started editing on her late husband Robert Smithson’s last earthwork, Amarillo Ramp. Smithson died in a plane crash in 1973 while making the piece, and Holt, Richard Serra, and Tony Shafrazi completed it. The 32-minute film, The Making of Amarillo Ramp(1973-2013), was completed under Halleck’s supervision in New York. According to Halleck, “She didn’t look at the film for 40 years, but had the foresight in the 1990s to get it digitized. It is quite beautiful.”
The final film on this program will be a stunning and neglected masterwork made by Halleck, Babette Mangolte and Richard Serra, titled Bronx Baptism (1980, 27 minutes). Halleck had shot Railroad Turnbridge forSerra and helped edit Steel Mill with him. Here, the three artists visit a Pentecostal church in the South Bronx and see, in Halleck’s words, a “lyrical, intimate, celebration of baptism. Community creation in the midst of economic devastation: the heart of a heartless world.”