Robert Adanto

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Flag #36 "Tomorrow We Will Fall in Love All Over Again, 2009 Mixed Media © Sara Rahbar
"Daddy and Me"
Fairy Tale Icons
Producer-Director, 3/27/11 © Photo by Zox
Executive Producer-Director, The Risiing Tide Pearls On The Ocean Floor 3 D: Darkly Digital & Divine © Zox
Executive Producer-Director, 2011 © Zox
Quick Facts
Los Angeles
Lives in
Venice, CA
Works in
Documentary Film
New York University (NYU), 1994, MFA
Iranian Contemporary Art video-art painting video-art, Chinese contemporary art, documentary mixed-media photography video-art, photography, digital, conceptual, exhibition/performance

Robert Adanto’s debut feature-length documentary film, The Rising Tide, explored China’s meteoric march toward the future through the work of some of the Middle Kingdom's most talented photographers and video artists, including Wang Qingsong, Cao Fei, Xu Zhen, Yang Yong, Chen Qiulin and O Zhang. Shot in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen in the summer of 2006, this unflinching and incisive study captures the confusion and ambiguity that characterize the new China. “An often surprising and thought-provoking documentary,” wrote WICN’s Mark Lynch, “The rest of us better make an effort to grasp what their work is about, or get out of the way. An “eye-opener” in every sense of the word, if you are an artist, curator or art teacher be sure to catch this film.”

Adanto's new documentary Pearls on the Ocean Floor features interviews with some of the most highly regarded Iranian female artists living and working in and outside the Islamic Republic, including Shadi Ghadirian, Shirin Neshat, Parastou Forouhar, Haleh Anvari, Sara Rahbar, Leila Pazooki, Afshan Ketabchi, Malekeh Nayiny, Gohar Dashti, Pooneh Maghazehe, and Taravat Talepasand. Their work reveals encounters between religion and secular modernity, change and tradition, contemporary life and history. These brave women know now more than ever that their voices must be heard and their people understood. Through their words and their art, the real Iran will be discovered and this important historical moment has been documented.

Through an integration of computers and photography, art and technology, the emerging field of digital imaging is changing the world we live in. Robert Adanto’s Darkly Digital & Divine explores the "post-photographic" world through eye-opening interviews with some of the most celebrated image-makers creating, altering, layering, and enhancing digital photographs. Darkly Digital & Divine depicts a medium in transition, offering a startling look at the present as it ushers in a new reality: a brave new world of digital rather than visual truth. A world for which authors have written and poets have sung. It is a world that up until now has eluded the camera’s eye.

Featuring: Erwin Olaf, Ruud van Empel, AES + F Group, Oleg Dou, Emily Allchurch, Sabine Pigalle, Julia Fullerton-Batten, Lisa Holden, Vee Speers, Micha Klein, Jonny Briggs, Jamie Baldridge, Mel Bagshaw, Michel Valentino, Carla Gannis, Bernd Preiml, Clinton Fein, Tereza Vlckova, Jasper de Bejier, Katerina Belkina, and Ester Janssen.

"If you want a living sense of China’s contemporary art scene—and the artists who are shaking it up—check out Robert Adanto’s “The Rising Tide.” It reveals some of the brightest and best new talents, capturing their works, their words, and their faces amid a swiftly changing environment."

Richard Vine, Senior Editor, Art In America and author of New China, New Art

"The Rising Tide is an informative and fascinating documentary. It is an excellent research tool that I use to teach contemporary Chinese art to postgraduate students at our Institute. It is also an entertaining film, which I am happy to note features several young female Chinese artists including O Zhang and Cao Fei."...

Dr Kathy Battista, Director Contemporary Art, Sotheby's Institute of Art NY

“With so much impressive art to draw on, this film is a visual treat, but what really elevates it as a documentary is the strength of the interviews - strong voices with sometimes clashing agendas, each offering a unique perspective on a country “which seems to have a revolution every 30 years.” Iran is in flux and none of the women speaking here is sure what the outcome will be, though many are hopeful. It’s often said that suffering makes a great artist, and this film suggests that the suffering of a nation can have a similar effect.”

Film critic Jennie Kermode in the UK's Eye For Film

“Adanto has managed to lift the veil off Iranian female artists and let us discover these genuine, creative, fearless, self-assured, good-humored, honest, independent, and colorful spirits who believe in themselves and in the future. Pearls is a precious record.”

Mahasti Afshar in The Huffington Post

“[The Artists'] ability to keep themselves together and even to thrive under such conditions testifies to their power as individuals. Pearls on the Ocean Floor lifts the veil unjustly covering such powerful women and inspires the viewer to reexamine what they thought they knew about Iran and the black swans hidden beneath the infamous chador.”

Bob Duggan's Black Swan: Uncovering Iranian Women Artists in

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