Maria Lassnig: New York Films 1970–1980

MoMA PS1 presents the world premiere of a series of experimental films the artist Maria Lassnig made in New York City in the 1970s. This presentation focuses on a selection of newly discovered and restored films that examine ways of looking and seeing bound up in bodily sensation. Newly restored by the Maria Lassnig Foundation in close collaboration with the Austrian Film Museum, these films incorporate animation, sound, and poetic voiceovers that encourage entry into the artist’s internal world. The restoration was carried out in close collaboration with the Austrian Film Museum under the directorships of Alexander Horwath and Michael Loebenstein, who were indispensable to the restoration of these documents that attest to core principles of Lassnig’s thinking and practice across canvas and celluloid.

Maria Lassnig: New York Films 1970–1980 highlights both finished films and film fragments, all produced using 16mm, 8mm, and Super 8, comprised of live-action footage, animated drawings, animated paper cut-outs, and documentary footage of the artist’s studio and her surroundings in New York. These newly surfaced films enrich and complicate our understandings of Lassnig’s approach to figuration and self-portraiture, as well as other key themes that she investigated throughout her career, including the social roles assigned to women, the tension between public engagement and private seclusion, and questions of technological advancement, especially of imaging technologies and shifts in the way images circulate.

To kick off this exhibition, a world premiere screening accompanied by a comprehensive presentation detailing the restoration process will take place on January 29 at The Museum of Modern Art as part of the museum’s Modern Mondays series as well as To Save and Project: The 15th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation.

Organized by Jocelyn Miller, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1.