Program

James Benning: 52 Films

presented by San Francisco Cinematheque

During the final day of Untitled, San Francisco 2018, San Francisco Cinematheque will presented the entirety of James Benning's 52 Films, a highly ambitious suite of films created in response to an incredible personal challenge—to create one film per week for an entire year. We are proud that, while components of this series have been screened elsewhere, this screening represents the World Premiere of the the collective suite.


The durational screening will begin when the fair opens, at Noon, and will end at the close of the day.


Benning’s 52 Films appropriately echoes the contemporary artistic concern of the archive...

 

“I never thought about an archive until later in life, maybe because there weren’t any books in my boyhood home or art on the walls. My mother did occasionally read a ladies magazine (as she would called them) and my father would read Conservation, a magazine for fishermen and hunters. I think he even saved the old copies for a while, which would have been the first archive I would have known, if I had known the word back then. But the real reason was a nomadic life. For 16 years (from the ages of 21–37) I moved each year, keeping only those things that could fit into the back of a Chevy pickup. There just wasn’t room for an archive.

“But maybe it was because I didn’t understand the real importance of an archive until I found Robert Smithson and his collected writings. It was then that I could see art not only in the object but also in all of those things surrounding that object, the things that help produce it. At that point for me the archive became the everything, later evidenced in Julie Ault’s Show & Tell: A Chronicle of Group Material, Jonas Mekas’ Museum, Ludwig (Cologne, Germany 2008) and Donald Judd’s materials room in Marfa, Texas, just to name a few.

“And then there’s the largest and fastest growing archive of all time, the Internet, and in particular YouTube. I started here playfully looking in different directions—an early performance by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, a Ché Guevara interview, an instructional video on glock maintenance—but soon the tide of information took over. The range in image quality and subject matter amazed me. I thought there was no longer a need for a camera. I could make whatever I wanted through appropriation. It became addictive and I began to make a film per week. I could be an ethnographic filmmaker, remake my own films or classics, construct things I never thought of making, etc. It was totally liberating. The result is 52 Films."

-(James Benning)

 

52 Films (2015) by James Benning 


13 LAKES (May 6, 2015) by James Benning; 8:43 minutes

1200 hp (July 22, 2015) by James Benning; 6:45 minutes

American Dreams (November 2, 2015) by James Benning; 3:21 minutes

Billy & Samuel (May 25, 2015) by James Benning; 3:56 minutes

CHILDHOOD (May 7, 2015) by James Benning; 2:01 minutes 

China Girl (May 21, 2015) by James Benning; 0:46 minutes

Coming of Age (July 14, 2016) by James Benning; 19:18 minutes

Consent (July 12, 2015) by James Benning; 3:31 minutes

DREAM (May 21, 2015) by James Benning; 0:53 minutes

found film #1 (May 6, 2015) by James Benning; 1:04 minutes

found film #2 (May 9, 2015) by James Benning; 1:34 minutes

Four Songs (January 17, 2015) by James Benning; 9:12 minutes

Frida (October 25, 2015) by James Benning; 7:23 minutes

FUCK ME (green) (April 1, 2015) by James Benning; 16:33 minutes 

FUCK ME (orange) (March 9, 2015) by James Benning; 26:56 minutes

GODARD (November 4, 2015) by James Benning; 0:57 minutes

GROPPI (October 30, 2015) by James Benning; 3:56 minutes

HF (July 19, 2015) by James Benning; 7:35 minutes

IKE (October 25, 2015) by James Benning; 3:12 minutes

KIDS (October 28, 2015) by James Benning; 1:05 minutes

KISS (July 20, 2015) by James Benning; 1:31 minutes

Kodak (December 28, 2015) by James Benning; 4:50 minutes

Launch Vehicle Failure (July 3, 2015) by James Benning; 4:18 minutes 

LOUISE (August 16, 2015) by James Benning; 6:21 minutes

Lunesta (November 4, 2015) by James Benning; 1:49 minutes

MANHOOD (July 16, 2015) by James Benning; 5:56 minutes

Mary (October 7, 2015) by James Benning; 1:42 minutes

Masters of War (August 12, 2015) by James Benning; 13:04 minutes 

METROPOLIS (July 20, 2015) by James Benning; 2:48 minutes

mudd club (July 22, 2015) by James Benning; 2:44 minutes

negative space (August 26, 2015) by James Benning; 3:51 minutes 

One Way Boogie Woogie (May 8, 2015) by James Benning; 9:34 minutes 

Palestine (October 19, 2015) by James Benning; 4:24 minutes

perimeter (August 2, 2015) by James Benning; 2:00 minutes

Psycho (April 26, 2015) by James Benning; 1:36 minutes

PYONGYANK (September 1, 2015) by James Benning; 12:52 minutes

RR (May 15, 2015) by James Benning; 9:21 minutes

September 11th (October 24, 2015) by James Benning; 2:26 minutes 

Signs (March 14, 2015) by James Benning; 18:11 minutes

Stemple Pass (April 30, 2015) by James Benning; 4:21 minutes 

Surfacing on the Rhine (May 6, 2015) by James Benning; 2:19 minutes

TALKING HEADS (Nov 1, 2015) by James Benning; 13:35 minutes

TEN SKIES (April 23, 2015) by James Benning; 10:39 minutes

The PARTY (April 26, 2015) by James Benning; 4:51 minutes

THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (July 9, 2015) by James Benning; 6:30 minutes 

three acts (Sept 8, 2015) by James Benning; 9:10 minutes

two moments (March 4, 2015) by James Benning; 1:58 minutes

wavelength (July 17, 2015) by James Benning; 10:28 minutes

WEEKEND (May 20, 2015) by James Benning; 9:58 minutes

WORK (Oct 11, 2015) by James Benning; 2:31 minutes

YOUTH WISH (Feb 4, 2015) by James Benning; 4:31 minutes

Zéro de Conduite (July 23, 2015) by James Benning; 1:25 minutes