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Emile de Antonio's Painters Painting

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Anyone interested in learning how American artists pulled away from European influence to create the distinctively American abstract expressionist movement should take a look at De Antonio’s fascinating 1973 documentary. Unfortunately, converting the 116-minute film (available on videotape) to a QuickTime video on Emile de Antonio’s Painters Painting makes the film’s talking-head interviews hard to follow and reduces much of the art to writhing, geometric mush (particularly the very ungeometric Jackson Pollocks). De Antonio’s interviews with Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning, and others, which can be turned to like pages in a book, are a fun read, but, at 40 bucks, they’re not enough. Suggestion to Voyager: A deluxe laserdisc would have been a better choice. D

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