WALLPAPER & BEYOND: (The) Evolution of An Artist, or, A.I.P. (Artist in Progress)

May 13 - June 11, 2016

Printed Matter presents WALLPAPER & BEYOND, an exhibition of printed works by the underground filmmaker, photographer, writer, editor and publisher known as Wallpaper and Mr. 8mm. The exhibition puts on view material from the artist’s collection, including flyers, announcements and “little magazines,” etc., which the artist designed in connection to film screenings and other events over the last three decades. The exhibition is on view starting May 13.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Mr 8mm reprises Film(s) from the San Francisco Underground Friday, June 10, 6:00PM, a compendium of found & made films, offering a highly personal view of the artist’s experience in that city. The exhibition concludes with the NY premiere of Film(s) from the New York Underground, Saturday, June 11, 5:00 PM, a continuation of the original program which was first shown 22 years later.

A self-described “wandering/traveling troubadour/vagabond”, Mr. 8mm has been active across film, publishing, writing, and as an event programmer, among other things, all of which are broadly informed by a DIY zine aesthetic (arguably he and others pioneered). Described by others as a ‘deconstructionist’ with connections to the No Wave movement, Mr. 8mm’s work is interested equally in the tactics and narratives that emerge from archival and vérité source material, pulling systems apart from an outsider perspective and piecing them back together with distinctive vision. This body of artistic work has integrated with his own “non-mediated” life, one lived largely off the grid.

As an underground filmmaker, Mr. 8mm’s output included experimental works (usually shot in 8mm or Super 8), encompassing both original and found footage pulled from travel films, propaganda films, and commercial full-lengths. The work belies a deep interest in the power of the medium itself, how the portability of the 8mm camera allowed for a new immediacy and intimacy of perspective, capturing the world around him at eye-level. As a part of the same undertaking, Mr 8mm was the organizer of regular often-eccentric events, including the annual Masturbation Film Festival, Stories for Those with Short Attention Spans, and Fuck the Seen. Most of these efforts were accompanied by a steady stream of xeroxed flyers and staple bound publications which relayed program details but also diverged into the realm of “artists’ project” with long descriptive texts – hand written or hammered out on a typewriter – which show an unchecked energy.

Mr 8mm (here as “Wallpaper”) was also the editor and self-publisher of WALLPAPER, an 11x 17” poster-sized “magazine on walls”, which first arrived in February 1984. Issues of the magazine were posted – one page at a time – throughout various cities, including New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Miami, Montreal, Lisbon, and London, and others, and the first issue was accompanied by a map indicating the locations of the different pages. With a range of styles and mediums, the “multi-media” magazine was made up of short stories, photographs, jokes quotes, collages, essays, drawings, doodles, poems, articles. Each issue – from the second issue on – addressed a different topic, “conversation/photography” and “dreams/first person narrative", among them.

Also on view is Moocher’s Periodical, which the artist periodically produced as a member of M.O.O.C.H. (Motivational Organization of Curious Humanity). The publication served as a “guide that’s underground to the underground” or a freeloader’s guide to San Francisco, and gave a first-hand look at alternative filmmaking in the Bay Area, among other things.

In addition, xeroxed and staple-bound copies from the The History of 8mm Series – Volume 9: History of the News Reels, and Volume 10: World War II Propaganda News Reels – are available for purchase.

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