Downstairs at the Museum of Modern Art, avant-garde filmmaker Ernie Gehr has put together a five-screen installation bringing the 19th-century magic lantern into the 21st century. Panoramas of the Moving Image draws on artifacts he’s collected, exhibiting a succession of painted mechanical slides and multi-projector dissolving views. These include fantastic land- and seascapes, cosmic patterns, and vaudeville performances—with one screen devoted to demonstrating how the tricks are achieved. The show is a revelation, not only for its reproduction of a long-lost art form but because, as in Gehr’s films, the application of simple principles is the basis for subtle, endlessly fascinating optical effects. Through February 25, 2008, MOMA.
Lech Majewski’s 33-channel video installation “Blood of Poet,” which had its world premiere at MOMA last May, is un-deconstructed this week at the Pioneer as a 100-minute, relatively linear projection titled
Glass Lips. A poet, institutionalized in a mental hospital and possibly catatonic, fingers the shards of his traumatic childhood, particularly the doings of his brutish father and seductive mother. There are no words—nor, given the precision of Majewski’s images and the haunting musical score that he composed, are they necessary. What’s lost in simultaneity is not, however, entirely regained in the study of the artist’s craft. November 7 through 13, Two Boots Pioneer.