Wednesday, December 5, 2012


One of my favorite pieces right now at the Museum of Modern Art is called Deadpan and it is a film by the director Steve McQueen.  It is in black and white and was made in 1997.   It is on the first floor in the contemporary galleries and is kind of hidden a little off to the side (it is a film so it is presented in a dark room) through a room with some Franz West sculptures.

I love it so much.  I have gone and spent some time with it a couple times (kind of an embarrassing amount of time) and keep thinking about going back and watching it more. 

Deadpan references the famous Buster Keaton stunt (from Steamboat Bill Jr.) of the front of a building falling down around him, but he is unharmed because he is standing in exactly the right spot where the window (open, or not there) on the fa├žade of the wall is that falls.  McQueen replaces Keaton in his film.

No matter how many times I watch the building falling I always have the moment of fear that the calculations were off and something very bad is going to happen.

I went to the museum this past Monday and it was very quiet.  I think early afternoons on Mondays are my favorite time to go to the useum.  You can often be in a room there by yourself with several amazing things.  I walked into the Deadpan room alone and watched for a few minutes (the entire film is only 4:35).  I think the best distance to stand away from the wall where it is projected is about eight feet (or right before the top of your head enters the pictures (though, do this if you are alone--walk up a little past that just to see because the colors look neat)) and right in the center of the room. 

I asked a guard who was standing just outside the room how long the film would be on view and he said things often change within the exhibition so if you have a chance, go see this soon.

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