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Peter Hutton Film Retrospective Opens at Museum of Modern Art in New York

NEW YORK.- The Museum of Modern Art presents a comprehensive retrospective of the films of Peter Hutton, an artist noted for his luminous and meditative portraits of cities, waterways, and landscapes. The 18-film exhibition Peter Hutton, presented May 5 through 26, 2008 in The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters, features work he has made over the past four decades. The filmmaker will be in attendance on opening night, May 5, and will present and discuss New York Portrait, Part I (1978–79) and Skagafjördur (2002–04) as part of a special Modern Mondays conversation with author and critic Luc Sante. The exhibition is organized by Joshua Siegel, Assistant Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art.

Peter Hutton (American, b. 1944) studied painting, sculpture, and film at the San Francisco Art Institute under the tutelage of Robert Nelson, Bruce Nauman, and Bruce Conner. He is now the director of the Film and Electronic Arts program at Bard College, where he has been a professor of film since 1984; his students at Bard—and other institutions, including Hampshire College and Harvard University—have included Sadie Benning, Matthew Buckingham, Ken Burns, Hal Hartley, and Mira Nair. Also a former merchant seaman, Hutton has spent nearly 40 years voyaging around the world, often by cargo ship, to create meditative, luminously photographed, and intimately diaristic studies of place, from the Yangtze River to the Polish industrial city of Łódź, and from the fjord valley and coastline of northern Iceland to a ship graveyard on the Bangladeshi shore. Among the works featured in the exhibition are the two major series that Hutton began in the 1970s—one, an impressionistic sketchbook of New York (New York Portrait, Parts I-III), and the other a series of explorations of the Hudson River and Valley that transcribe and exalt landscape in the manner of Thomas Cole and the nineteenth-century Luminist painters.

As Mr. Siegel observes, “Peter Hutton is one of cinema’s most ardent and poetic portraitists of city and landscape. Whether seeking remembrance of a city’s fading past or reflecting on nature’s fugitive atmospheric effects, Hutton sculpts with time. Each of his films unfolds in silent reverie, with a series of extended single shots taken from a fixed position, harking back to cinema’s origins and to traditions of painting and still photography. This comprehensive retrospective reveals an artist dedicated to reawakening a more contemplative and spontaneous way of observing and envisioning the world.”





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