[From Police State. Willoughby Sharpe, left, and Nick Zedd. Courtesy Nick Zedd]
Nick Zedd is in town from Mexico City for a short visit... he is part of a program tonight at the New Museum titled "Moving Image Artists’ Distribution Then & Now." (Find more details on this here.)
And tomorrow evening, The New Museum is showing a retrospective of his work. Per the program:
Nick Zedd’s commitment to DIY artists’ film distribution helped sustain the MWF Video Club project. He will present and speak about his film work with Michael Carter of MWF. The program will include: The Bogus Man (11 min); Thrust In Me (8 min); Police State (18 min); War Is Menstrual Envy (excerpt; 9 min); Why Do You Exist (11 min); Ecstasy In Entropy (15 min); and Tom Thumb (3 min).
Nick Zedd coined and spearheaded the Cinema of Transgression film movement, directing forty-four motion pictures since 1979 and editing The Underground Film Bulletin from 1984 to 1990. Nick Zedd currently resides in Mexico City where he paints, writes screenplays, shoots videos, and publishes Hatred of Capitalism magazine. He recently presented films and artworks at the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, and received an Acker Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Avant-Garde.
Michael Carter is a poet, writer, performer, and cultural critic, living in New York City. From 1982–92, he was the editor and publisher of the quintessentially East Village literary and arts journal/zine redtape, and from 1988 to 2003 he was codirector of the MWF Video Club.
Ahead of his visit to the New Museum, we asked him a few questions about his feelings on New York these days (he resided in the East Village for years) as well as Mexico City, where he lives with Monica Cassanova and their son Zerak.
You had a retrospective in Brooklyn in January. Now this at the New Museum. How do you feel returning to NYC — even just for a few days?
I like returning to NYC to see how it's changed and meet old friends. I appreciate the energy of NYC and like to compare it to Mexico City which is so different. There's a sense of desperation in NYC that gives it an edge. I like to observe people. I'm appalled by the loud tourists and ugly humanoids everywhere. There are so many ugly people in NYC, it's incredible.
Yesterday I sat on a park bench in Union Square and watched lovers sit and talk to each other. A black teen with a doo-rag and a wife-beater t-shirt covered in tattoos was talking on a cell phone while his fat girlfriend in a striped dress had her legs draped over his. She waited while he talked to someone, then he embraced her like a small child and it really moved me. There was real love; fragile and fleeting. I'd witnessed something profound. He was beautiful. She was beautiful too. Their love made them beautiful. I wish I'd had a camera on me.
There's a treasure trove of culture in the museums and libraries in NYC and I like selling my art to collectors here. I lived most of my life in NYC so it's still a part of me.
Do you see any positives in Bloomberg's NYC?
The people, who exhibit the NYC strength and anger; the individuality of street people...I never tire of their quality of openness... working class people. They give the city a sense of conviction. A flavor. They're what make it interesting.
We did a Q-and-A with Lydia Lunch back in May. Her advice for emerging artists here: "Leave the country as soon as possible!" What is your advice?
The same. That's why I moved to Mexico. The U.S. is a dead zone for artists.
Do surroundings make a difference? Or do you think the creativity has to come from inside regardless of where you are?
It has to come from inside, but going somewhere unfamiliar can enable your creativity to mutate in ways you'd never expect.
How's life in Mexico City?
It's quieter and more peaceful. It has a magical quality that I'm still discovering.
[Poster courtesy of gallery.98bowery.com]
[Top photo via The New Museum]