[Chicago Crossings: Bridges and Boundaries, reel 2; John Pitman Weber]

chicago-crossings-bridges-boundaries-reel-2-john-pitman-weber

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In this 1994 trip to artist John Pitman Weber's studio, a group of filmmakers from Kartemquin Films talk with Weber about his work, his life, and Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights movement.

0:54Copy video clip URL Unrelated footage of what appears to be camera original footage from a talk show. The host talks to a guest about the needs and treatment of people who suffer from seizures.

6:34Copy video clip URL The interview continues with John Pitman Weber again talking about the Civil Rights movement; more specifically the value and fulfillment he and his peers gained through their involvement. “I think those of our generation who didn’t get involved with that missed something. And those who did, it really sort of altered your life,” says Weber, pensively.

10:33Copy video clip URL Weber expresses his doubts about the significance of the Spertus exhibition. “The idea that there is some special relationship today [between African-Americans and American Jews], I find questionable… I wonder if it’s nostalgia, that it ain’t there, that it’s only historical.”

12:30Copy video clip URL Having established that Jews are now equal in social status to Whites, Weber argues that they, along with Whites, must ask themselves: “What are they doing as American citizens… relative to the horrendous gulf and social isolation that has developed between the underclass and almost everybody else.” He goes on to say that this question is one he hopes he is able to convey through his artwork for the Spertus.

13:35Copy video clip URL In a clip that went on to be used in Kartemquin’s final cut,¬†Weber talks about the recent trend of “identity politics” in art, his avoidance of it, and, ultimately, the assertion¬†that he sees this show as a way to “deal with [his] history.”

14:30Copy video clip URL Weber continues to discuss his disinterest in identity politics, elucidating the reasoning behind his conscious ignorance.

17:05Copy video clip URL Weber reflects on growing up under McCarthyism with a blacklisted father and how it affected the way he watched Howdy Doody, as well as his involvement in the 1960 Woolworth protests.

20:57Copy video clip URL Tape end.

 

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