Creating Feeling It is impossible to miss the curving and sinuous structure located in Paris’s 16th arrondissement, which has the bearing of a ship built of glass. This building is the Fondation Louis Vuitton; the museum and cultural centre designed by modern architecture’s greatest transformer of shapes, Frank Gehry—the Pritzker prize-winning designer whose buildings have earned him the status of a household name. In this heartfelt portrait of both the architect and the building he has created, filmmaker Emile Rafael lets the man and one of his most unique structures speak for themselves.
Photographers in Focus: Laura Aguilar Before her untimely death in April this year, aged only 58, Mexican-American photographer Laura Aguilar had cemented herself not only as a pioneer of Chicana photography, but as an artist who treated her subjects with a tenderness nearly unrivalled in contemporary image-making. Composed of pensive studies of love, the body, and the natural world, Aguilar’s work was not simply about creating arresting images, but about celebrating queer culture and marginalized voices within the wider narrative of American art and photography.
Raw Materials: Raúl De Nieves For the second episode of Raw Materials—our new series where we talk to artists about the physical things that shape their practice—filmmaker Will Robson-Scott spoke to colorful Mexican-American artist Raúl de Nieves. During his childhood in Mexico’s city of Michoacán, De Nieves was taught to sew and crochet—sparking an early interest in materials not traditionally associated with the paint and clay of fine art. Continuing this thread, art’s great transformer of materials chose instead to teach himself rather than follow a formal artistic education
My Place: Mykki Blanco From his adoptive home in Portugal’s sun-soaked capital city of Lisbon, American rapper, poet and activist Mykki Blanco—one of pop’s best contemporary auteurs—is feeling green fingered. Surrounded by a small jungle of indoor plants, the performer-turned-musician opens up to long-term NOWNESS director Barbara Anastacio about writing, love, and horticulture, and on the simple rituals and routines that make a house a home. Born as Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. in 1986, ‘Mykki Blanco’ began life as an internet persona, but quickly evolved their identity into a musical and performance art work that drew variously on influences including Lil’ Kim, Jean Cocteau, Marilyn Manson and Anaïs Nin
You Will Be Free Drawing on the words used by US actor and author Cookie Mueller (1949-89) as she and her lover, the cartonnist Vito Scarpati, died of HIV-related ilnesses, British filmmaker and writer Juliet Jacques presents a powerfully poetic reflection on the social and political impact of the AIDS crisis, talking both about physical embodiment and the immaterial afterlife. Talking about the multiple and overlapping sources of her visual and audio collage, Jacques explains that “the film takes its imagery from Derek Jarman’s Blue , video games that promise ways to replay life, and archive footage and photographs that chart a queer culture irrevocably changed by the AIDS epidemic, and conservative politicians who sought to capitalise on it.”
TateShots: Roger Ballen Searching in the recesses of the mind and at the edges of human society, the work of American photographer Roger Ballen has garnered a reputation for the disturbing and the grotesque. This profile of the Johannesburg-based image-maker—part of TateShots, a series of documentaries from the Tate that explores contemporary art and artists—delves into Ballen’s private universe and his creative practice, where he has spent many years documenting people living at the fringes of society, and beyond. Speaking about her encounter with a photographer whose work has pushed increasingly into the abstract and the absurd, filmmaker Marie-Therese Hildenbrandt explains: “The idea of this film was to capture Ballen’s unique spirit as an artist and as a human being
Raw Materials: Jeremy Deller In this film from director Lorenzo Cisi—the first in a new series profiling some of the world’s most exciting creators about their practice—British-born artist Jeremy Deller talks about the physical materials that are central to his own creativity.
As Much as I Can American director and cinematographer John Schmidt presents a powerful documentary recreation, filmed on location in Baltimore and Jackson Mississippi, that explores the feelings—from hope to despair—of sufferers of AIDS, at a time when the HIV rates of African American men are rising to newly epidemic levels.
Diaries: Eden’s Home Tom Barratt and Eden Loweth are the names behind Art School, a UK-based gender-queer design collective who first debuted at this year’s London Fashion Week. This film is a snapshot of their shared creative and romantic lives, told through the sights, sounds, and feelings they experienced while traveling to Eden Loweth’s childhood home in Norfolk—a rural region in eastern England that faces out to the dramatic grey of the North Sea. Speaking about this nonlinear and expressionistic snapshot of their lives, Tom Barratt, who shot and directed the work, explains: “We look back now to this time with fondness, as it pinpoints a really happy creative time in the early stages of our relationship.
Merlot: Bad for You Mexican-born filmmaking duo Santiago & Mauricio present this new video for New York’s nouveau soul singer, Merlot. Together, they offer up a moving meeting of song and performance which celebrates queerness and human emotion. Drawing on visual references from what the directors call ‘classic queer iconography’—centred especially around New York’s vibrant LGBTQIA+ communities in the 1970s and 80s, the video is as much a history lesson as a glimpse into the future of queerness. Talking about their collaboration with Merlot on the musician’s latest track, the filmmakers explain: “In our minds, Merlot is a modern Grace Jones, merging the masculine and feminine while being simply themselves.