Left to right: Award-winning filmmaker Martin West and M. Dante attended the opening reception of Rendezvous In Black at the Housatonic Museum of Art. (contributed photo)
BRIDGEPORT, CT - An enthusiastic crowd turned out Thursday evening to attend the opening reception of Rendezvous In Black, a new exhibit at the Housatonic Museum of Art. Approximately 100 people, including artists, arts and culture enthusiasts, film aficionados and members of the community came to immerse themselves in a film noir experience, complete with Cindy Sherman photographs, Ann Chernow lithographs and a noir movie viewing.
Film Noir expert Dr. Richard Edwards presented the exhibition, sharing the history of the 1940s film genre, and discussing why the exhibition pieces by Sherman and Chernow are stunning examples of the style.
“It’s as if you are wandering among a lost film archive, but these films have never existed,” said Edwards. “The images that surround us are powerful images of powerful women. They are dangerous, in a good way. Film noir expanded the role of women – prior to the genre, women were portrayed as wives and mothers, but now we have a new role: the femme fatale.”
“Both artists mine the noir genre, calling on the viewer to analyze the narrative of each scene,” said Robbin Zella, the museum’s Executive Director. “The exhibition is replete with dark figures in doorways and ambiguous images of women responsible only to themselves; it’s very powerful.”
Film Noir expert Dr. Richard Edwards presented the exhibition and discussed the dark and edgy film style that emerged in the early 1940s. (contributed photo)
In the Cindy Sherman images, the photographer is her own subject. This groundbreaking series expanded the definition of portraiture, as each image presents Sherman in different roles and personas. Ann Chernow’s lithographs embrace the characters and contexts of classic film noir, creating tense moments that are dark, mysterious, risky and all together contemporary.
“This is one of the brightest and most polished exhibitions of film noir I’ve ever seen,” said M. Dante who drove up from Philadelphia to attend the opening. “Having the film playing as a part of the show is an essential component to the discussion of film noir – it creates a visceral connection to the subject.”
The exhibition runs from November 10 – December 16, 2016. The Housatonic Museum of Art will present a series of Noir masterpieces to accompany the exhibition. The Maltese Falcon, directed by John Huston and presenting Humphrey Bogart, will be shown at 7pm on Thursday, November 17. Night of the Hunter, directed by Charles Laughton and featuring Bridgeport’s own native son Robert Mitchum will be screened on Saturday, November 19 at noon. In a Lonely Place, by director Nicholas Ray featuring Humphrey Bogart will be shown on Thursday, December 1 at 7pm. Out of the Past, directed by Jacques Tourneur with Robert Mitchum will be shown on Saturday, December 3 at noon, and Christmas Holiday with Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin, directed by Siodmak, will be shown on Thursday, December 8th at 7pm. All movies will be shown in the Burt Chernow Galleries, located in Lafayette Hall.
Major support for the Housatonic Museum of Art is provided by the Werth Family Foundation, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts/Art Works as well as many generous individual donors.