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RADICAL ACTS //
LATE STYLE

a documentary project in development

THROUGHOUT HISTORY, CREATIVE PEOPLE HAVE MADE VISIONARY, RADICAL WORK

LATE IN LIFE.

Work born of the wisdom gained
through a lifetime of experiences
.

Jasper Johns

in his studio (by John Lund, 2013)

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THE PHENOMENON of late work
is rarely, if ever, examined expansively across creative genres: painting, poetry, music, sculpture, film, architecture.

 

This documentary project will spotlight a group of lifelong creators and artists
exploring their profound collaborations with time.

Louise Nevelson

Lippincott, Inc (film still, late 1960s)

DRAWING ON present-day interviews, as well as rich archival material, the film will weave together cinematic portraits of its subjects and their mature, ever-changing processes.

We'll explore the insights and impulses that arrive uniquely late in life, after years of thought and practice: the epiphanies, priorities, lessons. And the eternally motivating questions.  

 

Leaning away from the current trend of historical and biographical re-tellings, interviews will focus on their present-moment experiences and perspectives. Their accumulated wisdom. What are they asking and thinking about and being challenged by now

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Anthony Caro

on the Metropolitan Museum roof (by Jack Manning/NYT, 1988)

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Carla Bley

at home in New York (by Lauren Lancaster/NYT, 2016)

IN TURN, THE AGE-OLD creative human endeavor: its mystery, purpose and all its perpetual metaphors, will be deeply explored, guided by those who have been doing it longest.

Imagine if we gather them together, and listen closely to what they have to say.

"If you have creative work, 
you don't have age or time.
"

– Louise Nevelson, sculptor

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Jordi Savall

at Saint Pierre Cathedral in Switzerland (by Jacques Philippet, 2015)

FIRST INTERVIEW (APRIL 2024)

OUR FIRST INTERVIEW will take place in April

in Carnegie Hall’s historic Archival Research Room

with virtuoso conductor, composer and viol player, Jordi Savall.

 

Born in 1941 in Barcelona, Spain, Savall is one of the world’s foremost experts in early music and the greatest proponent of the viola de gamba. He is widely seen as responsible for its global resurgence and popularity. He has been recognized and honored in countries around the world, as well as by UNESCO Artists for Peace, for the cultural impact and profound musical sensitivity of his life's work.

"It takes time
to see.
"

– Georgia O'Keeffe, painter

THE OPPORTUNITY

FOR INNUMERABLE REASONS, many artists don’t reach old age. Those who do, however – especially those who have been working their entire lives – are in a unique and rare position. They have a lifetime of thought and discoveries to draw upon. They have amassed personal and collective wisdom through experimentation and interrogation. They are often free from a desire to prove themselves. They are practiced and efficient in ways of self-expression.

Additionally, they may be wrestling with existential, and perhaps spiritual, complexities that emerge as one lives longer.

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Brice Marden

in his studio in Tivoli, NY (by Mirabelle Marden, 2017)

THE FILMMAKERS

Together, we are steering early development of this project. As it grows, our team
will expand to include longtime, award-winning collaborators behind the camera,
in the research stacks, and at the edit desk. 

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Vanessa Gould

Director

Vanessa Gould is a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and editor based in Tribeca. She directed OBIT, about the New York Times obituaries and their writer-reporters, which world-premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. It was released theatrically nationwide by Kino Lorber, followed by exclusive streaming on Amazon Prime. OBIT was named “one of the best films of the year” by Entertainment Weekly, and received accolades from NPR, BBC, TIME Magazine, Vogue, the New York Times,...


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Judith Mizrachy

Producer

Judith Mizrachy is a New York City-based independent producer. Her most recent film, UNCROPPED (director D.W. Young / executive producer Wes Anderson) about the great Village Voice photographer James Hamilton, premiered as the Centerpiece at DOC NYC in 2023. Her previous film, THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT (directors Anne Alvergue & Debra McClutchy/ producing partner Beth Levison), premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for a 2023 Academy Award® for Best... 

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"It is a privilege to be in
friendship with time.
"

– Agnes Varda, filmmaker

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT

Maya Angelou

(by Wayne Miller, 1974)

Maya Angelou (by Wayne Miller, 1974)

FOR YEARS, without making the connection, I have been drawn to late career work. Often, it has singular qualities: a maturity, a wisdom, a boldness, a directness that suggest an approach towards deeper powers of expression.

As I began reading everything I could find on Late Style, I found that no one - no film, no book, no series - has ever looked broadly at Late Style across creative categories, instead focusing on one person, or a group of similar people. By taking a wider and inclusive view, I feel we have an opportunity to recognize and discover new insights into the creative process and the human experience, through an ever-changing, ever-fleeting lens.

I feel deeply passionate about using a lush cinematic toolkit, traditions of oral history and an inclination towards inquiry, curiosity and observation (rather than authority) to investigate the mysteries of why we make the things we do. In making this film, I want to shine a brighter light on the kind of wisdom that endures, evolves and grows over a long life of work and thought.

Edward Steichen

(by Philip Halsman, 1959)

Edward Steichen (by Philip Halsman, 1959)

My past work has been drawn more to the exploration of process than development of plot, and how this can be made into a riveting story. Between The Folds, winner of a Peabody Award, profiled ten artists and scientists working in origami, each portrait a deep study of how they work and think. In time, it becomes a meditation on the mysterious intersections of art and science. OBIT captured an ordinary day in the life of the New York Times obituary writers. As it progresses, it evolves into a deeper film about life, death, time and memory.

Often my projects do not begin with an easily communicable narrative. In the past, I've been cautioned that the films seemed insurmountable, too sprawling to be condensed into the shape of a succinct film. Wrestling with these cinematic challenges while charting an elegant path through a series of intersecting ideas has always been an exhilarating part of the process for me, and usually comes with profound and metaphoric outcomes, in a way that nothing but cinema can achieve.

"It takes a very long time
to become young."

– Pablo Picasso, painter and sculptor

INDIVIDUALS WE ARE CONSIDERING
REACHING OUT TO FOR INTERVIEWS

As soon as initial production funding is achieved, we will begin the process of reaching out to a broad group of possible interviewees to request their participation. This list continues to grow and evolve through daily research, introductions and ongoing conversations.

It's no secret that some of these people will be unreachable. Yet, at this formative stage, we are keeping the list inclusive. Additionally, alternative formats to on-camera interviews may also be pursued, such as audio interviews or written correspondence on the subject matter, as routes to gathering the broadest primary material possible.

– Agnes Denes (conceptual artist, Hungary/US)
– Carrie Mae Weems (photographer, US)
– Cindy Sherman (artist, US)
– Dale Chihuly (glass artist, US)
– David Byrne (musician, US)
– David Hockney (painter, UK)
– Eliane Radigue (composer, France)
– Faith Ringgold (painter and quilter, US)
– Francesco Clemente (painter, Italy/US)
– Sir Frank Bowling (painter, UK)
– Frederick Wiseman (filmmaker, US)
– Gerhard Richter (painter, Germany)
– Herbie Hancock (pianist and composer, US)
– Isabella Rossellini (actor, US/Italy)
– Jasper Johns (artist, US)
– Joan Jonas (video performance artist, US)
– John Cale (composer and violist, US)
– Joni Mitchell (singer and songwriter, US)
– Jorie Graham (poet, US)
– Laurie Anderson (musician and violinist, US)
– Martin Scorsese (filmmaker, US)
– Meredith Monk (composer and artist, US)
– Paul Simon (singer and songwriter, US)
– Richard Long (sculptor and land artist, UK)
– Sonny Rollins (composer and saxophonist, US)
– Terry Riley (composer, US/Japan)
– Twyla Tharp (choreographer, US)

In the months since this idea first emerged, three people have passed away who were once members of this list: Carla Bley (pianist, US), Brice Marden (painter, US) and Wayne Shorter (composer and saxophonist, US). A project about duration is also a race against time.

An additional universe of potential subjects resides in the past. We will engage curators, journalists and biographers - some on camera, some as consultants - to bring to light more late-life stories of creative wisdom. Notable past subjects could include: Henri Matisse (painter, France), Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou (composer, Ethiopia), Le Corbusier (architect, Switzerland), Georgia O’Keeffe (painter, US), Etel Adnan (poet and painter, Lebanon), Agnes Varda (filmmaker, France), W.S. Merwin (poet, US), Pablo Casals (cellist, Spain), Hokusai (printmaker, Japan), Hiroshige (printmaker, Japan), Alma Woodsey Thomas (painter, US), Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart (musician and painter, US), Louise Bourgeois (sculptor, US), Ellsworth Kelly (painter, US), Louise Nevelson (sculptor, US), Joan Mitchell (painter, US/France). 

"A musician's special flavor comes out with age. Their playing at that stage may have more interesting qualities than at the height of their career."

– Seiji Ozawa 
(in conversation with Haruki Murakami) 

"In my early work, I tried to hide my personality, my psychological state, my emotions. This was partly due to my feelings about myself and party due to my feelings about painting at the time... Finally one must simply drop the reserve."

– Jasper Johns

"All the great painters... get looser as they get older. In old age, artists like that don't repeat themselves. The late work is best."

– David Hockney 
(in conversation with Martin Gayford) 

LATE STYLE //
EXPLORATION OF CONCEPT

This is an inspiration piece, a point of origin, a cinematic seed of an idea...
 

Made from readily available images, quotes and pages from books. 

Contact:

Judith Mizrachy, Producer

jmizrachy@gmail.com

Vanessa Gould, Director

vanessa@greenfusefilms.com

RECENT PROFILES ABOUT ARTISTS' LATE CAREERS

In the New York Times and New Yorker alone, inquisitive profiles of artists confronting new dimensions late in their careers have become increasingly frequent and lengthy, a strong indication of the value of this inquiry and of the public's interest in it.

"It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because
they grow old; they grow old because
they stop pursuing dreams."

– Gabriel García Márquez, writer

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