This tape features a documentary on the Everson Art Museum in Syracuse, New York. The videomakers speak with numerous attendees about their views and opinions the artwork in the museum, with an eye towards capturing how everyday people, including children, experience abstract art.
00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with a blue screen, color bars, and tone. This is followed by a production credit for the program.
00:41Copy video clip URL The videomaker asks art critic Clement Greenberg about how he approaches critiquing artwork. He states that one tests himself when critiquing a piece of art. While standing in front of a large abstract painting, a young girl describes why she likes it and states that she likes the colors.
01:57Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of the exterior of Everson Art Museum. The young girls continue to talk about the artwork inside the museum.
02:26Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of a large metal sculpture shaped like a piece from the kids’ game jacks. It is comprised of six metallic armless human bodies. A museum attendee describes what he thinks of the artwork and what he believes the artist was trying to express. “Looks like… it reminds me of science fiction for some reason. No faces, no arms, because you probably didn’t need them. No sex, because there probably won’t be any.” Three children also give their opinion on the piece and continue to talk about their favorite pieces in the museum.
04:27Copy video clip URL A woman says she likes a Dorothy Wood painting the museum recently purchased. She states that she would have liked to buy the painting herself, but ended up not having the wall space in her home.
05:11Copy video clip URL Another museum patron expresses his approval for a group of Asian influenced ceramic sculptures. Another man gives his opinion on a vase. Shortly afterward, art historian Mary Campbell expresses her interest in African art. “It’s kind of senseless to pretend that we can all sort of establish our own cultural autonomy. I think we have to have some kind of exchange… As long as the pieces just don’t stay here, as long as there’s some attempt, an ongoing attempt to find out what they mean and how they represent a culture, then I think they’re very valuable.”
07:32Copy video clip URL The children again comment on a piece of art at the museum. This is followed by interior footage of the museum.
09:09Copy video clip URL Painter Darryl Hughto comments on an extremely minimalistic painting in the museum. “It’s exciting because anybody could have done it… painting doesn’t have to be this elitist thing that requires this talent… One of the things that he did with his gift is relate it to everybody.” The children then comment on their own inclinations towards art. They also briefly talk about another painting. An older women says she likes the same painting. An art student also says that this particular painting is very minimalistic, but very sophisticated. He goes over the technique the artist may have used when creating the piece. The young girls go on to say that anyone can be an artist.
13:30Copy video clip URL Cut to footage of a group of young children at an art class making clay moldings. The instructor helps the children create their pieces. The children talk about their love of art and intently focus on their projects.
17:30Copy video clip URL Hughto comments on the importance of ensuring that artwork is available to the general public. “It implies a value, that the community has kind of a value for what I do and so that’s reassuring. It feels good.” Hughto also states that even though it isn’t financially rewarding, it is certainly supported by the community.
19:32Copy video clip URL Artist Randolph Bostic interviews a group of prison inmates involved in the Everson Museum Workshop. Behind the cold stone prison walls, various inmates talk about their work. One prisoner talks about one of his abstract paintings and states that it was very difficult to put together. Another inmate talks about his mural depicting the Last Supper. He states that it represents religious freedom. A painter named Lawrence Brooks talks about a few of his pieces, one of which appeared in the local newspaper. Shortly afterward, another painter talks about his motivation to create art and states that he is doing “what comes natural.”
24:07Copy video clip URL Bostic expresses the need for support from the general public. “The main thing that we are looking for is people that would volunteer their services or even part of their time, things like that, to help guys to develop their talents so that they’ll be useful to society when they get back out there.” Bostic then speaks with an artist about a ball point ink drawing of a young Angolian child. In a very weak and gravely voice the artist says, “It expresses reality of survival. In other words, it expresses that we must look towards the young and educate them for their future which they will be existing in.” The videomakers then get a little bit more footage from around the prison exhibition before leaving the prison.
26:04Copy video clip URL Painter Anton Refregier shares his thoughts on what a museum should represent in a community. “I like to think in terms that museums should be like a library… It should be the focal point of a community.” He then calls for the creation of neighborhood cultural centers in hopes to empower communities all over the nation.
26:50Copy video clip URL Clement states that a museum should “collect the best art it can.” Shortly afterward, the videomakers speak with a few of the same children once again who giggle and comment on a naked sculpture in the museum. They also talk about their reasons for coming to the museum. This is followed by the credits.
29:39Copy video clip URL Tape ends.