Three Days on “The Golden Boat”

"The Golden Boat," directed by Raúl Ruiz, NYC, 2/90 (left to right: Michael Kirby, Mary Hestand and Federico Muchnik)

The great Chilean-French filmmaker Raúl Ruiz, who died last year (1941-2011), shot “The Golden Boat” in lower Manhattan in 1990.  Seemingly all of New York indie was involved: producers Jordi Torrent, James Schamus, Scott Mcauley and Christine Vachon (here working as the assistant director); cinematographer Maryse Alberti; and a collection of actors (some briefly abandoning their day jobs as directors, writers, artists or avant-garde performance artist/porn stars):  Michael Kirby, Federico Muchnik, Jim Jarmusch, Michael Stumm, Kate Valk, Stephan Balint, Kathy Acker, Vitto Acconci, Barbet Schoeder, Mary Hestand, Annie Sprinkle, and Tom Jarmusch.  Critic Amy Taubin has described the film as “a delirious deconstruction of the decline of downtown.”

I spent three days documenting the production, shooting stills and the proceedings, assigned by the Village Voice for a feature by Manohla Dargis, who during the course of her reporting was recruited for a cameo: making an entrance and then sitting on a ratty sofa, drawing.

"The Golden Boat," directed by Raúl Ruiz, NYC, 2/90 (left to right: Jim Jarmusch, Michael Stumm and Raul Ruiz)

Exit Art was founded in 1982 by Jeanette Ingerberman who also died last year (1952-2011) and her work/life partner Papo  Colo,  as a home for art that challenges social, political, aesthetic and curatorial norms and succeeding, it gained recognition as an innovative and interdisciplinary cultural center.

I was frequently assigned to shoot exhibitions and artists at Exit Art, at its location on Broadway in Soho and after its move to new quarters a few blocks south.   “Let The Artist Live!” turned Exit Art into a dormitory as 15 American and international aritsts worked and lived together in the space from 9/17/94-10/22/94.

"Let the Artist Live!" at Exit Art, NYC, 9/27/94 (left to right: Michael Yue Tong and Regina Frank)

And in 2003, for a piece by C. Carr in the Voice I shot a portrait of Jeanette and Colo in their new, as of yet empty midtown space, which established an art outpost on 10th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel.

Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo, Exit Art, Hell's Kitchen, NYC, 3/4/03

Exit Art’s current exhibition, a  complete retrospective, “Every Exit is an Entrance: 30 Years of Exit Art” is mournfully its last.

"Every Exit is an Entrance: 30 Years of Exit Art," ((installation shots), NYC, 3/30/12

The exhibition’s events program (free and open to the public) includes “A New York Tribute to Raúl Ruiz” on April 3, curated by Jordi Torrent, including a screening of “The Golden Boat” at 9:30 pm.

Using technology that wasn’t even the stuff of geek dreams when I shot on Ruiz’s set, I scanned each of my eight original 1990 8″x10″ contacts sheets, using a consumer-grade multi-tasking Canon MX860 and printed 18″x24″ enlarged contact sheets with my amazing Epson 7900.  The contact sheets will be on view, hung in Exit Art’s theater during the tribute.

"The Golden Boat," directed by Raúl Ruiz, NYC, 2/90 (contact sheet #4)

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