Living in Studio Kuchar

Event  |  Reviews  |  Comments
© Image courtesy Jennifer Kroot
Living in Studio Kuchar
Curated by: Hou Hanru

800 Chestnut St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
March 9th, 2012 - April 21st, 2012
Opening: March 8th, 2012 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Financial District/Wharf
Tue 11-7; Wed-Sat 11-6
San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)
George Kuchar, sfai, film, underground film, photography, mixed-media, video-art, performance, conceptual


Living in Studio Kuchar highlights the inimitable genius of independent film legend and SFAI faculty member George Kuchar, who died in September 2011. Coinciding with the exhibition, a campus-wide special event, SFAI Celebrates the Life and Work of George Kuchar, will follow the opening reception on March 8. 

Kuchar’s wildly original vision—tawdry yet tender, perversely humorous, and deeply personal—fueled a body of work spanning more than 200 films and videos, as well as paintings, drawings, comics, and writing. Beloved by generations of students, Kuchar had taught at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1971, where he and his students in “AC/DC Psychotronic Teleplays” and the sequel course “Electro-graphic Sinema” made melodrama parodies with minuscule budgets and remarkable spirit.

This exhibition will situate Kuchar’s work in the specific locale and community of SFAI, which for four decades served not just as a workplace, but as a site of experimentation and collaboration; a network of students, filmmakers, and friends; and his emotional home. With a gallery design featuring props from films as well as personal memorabilia, the exhibition will highlight seminal films such as Hold Me While I'm Naked, class films made with SFAI students, selections from the long-running project “Weather Diaries” (including his last, rarely seen, video Hot Spell), and drawings and comics.

Born in New York in 1942, Kuchar began making 8mm movies in the 1950s with his twin brother, Mike. They soon became central to the underground, avant-garde film scene, screening work alongside Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, and Stan Brakhage. Notable films include Sins of the Fleshapoids (1965); Hold Me While I'm Naked (1966), ranked as one of the 100 Best Films of the 20th Century by the Village Voice; and the notorious Thundercrack!(1975), which George made with longtime collaborator Curt McDowell. Called “legends in the world of experimental film” by Roger Ebert, the Kuchars have influenced filmmakers including Todd Solondz, Gus Van Sant, David Lynch, Brian De Palma, and John Waters, and theorist Gene Youngblood named George one of the great artists in the history of the moving image.

Kuchar's film and video work has screened around the globe in cinemas, festivals, and major museums. Recent honors include the exhibition George Kuchar: Pagan Rhapsodies at MoMA PS1 in New York; the addition of his 1977 short film I, An Actress to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry; and his selection for the 2012 Whitney Biennial, to be held March 1 though May 27, 2012 at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Campus-wide celebration: Thursday, March 8, 7:30 pm–midnight