. Conversations at the Edge (CATE)

George Kuchar: HotSpell

Posted by | Jessica Bardsley | Posted on | February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 6:00 p.m. | Introduced by Abina Manning, Executive Director of the Video Data Bank

George Kuchar, HotSpell (2011). Courtesy the Video Data Bank.

“Desire and death are in the air, along with some aromatic wisps of ethnic edibles, so be sure to sniff it all.” —George Kuchar

George Kuchar became a legend with his lo-fi Super-8 and 16mm melodramas from the 1950s and ‘60s, influencing generations of artists such as, including Andy Warhol, John Waters, and Todd Solondz.  Kuchar, who passed away in September 2011 turned to video in the mid-1980s, crafting hundreds of hilarious and often diaristic videos from “the pageant that is life.” For the last quarter-century, the Video Data Bank has collected and distributed this work; the organization now houses the artist’s complete video archive, totaling nearly 300 pieces. Charting the passing of seasons, students, pets, and loved ones, the Video Data Bank has developed a singular perspective on Kuchar’s artistic output. This evening, Executive Director Abina Manning presents the Video Data Bank’s unique perspective on Kuchar’s artwork with a collection of his “greatest hits” through the decades, including his last, HotSpell (2011). 1989–2011, USA, various formats, ca. 85 min. Co-presented by the Video Data Bank.


Point ‘n Shoot (1989, 5 min)
Route 666 (1994, 8 min)
Season of Sorrow (1996, 12 min)
Uncle Evil (1996, 7 min)
Honey Bunnies On Ice (2001, 7 min)
Burnout (2003, 20 min)
HotSpell (2011, 26 min)

GEORGE KUCHAR (1942–2011) ranks as one of America’s most influential and prolific independent film and video artists. With his homemade Super 8 and 16mm potboilers and melodramas of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, he became legendary as a distinctive and outrageous underground filmmaker whose work influenced many other artists including Andy Warhol, John Waters, and David Lynch. After his 1980s transition to the video medium, he remained a master of genre manipulation and subversion. In 1984 Kuchar received the Los Angeles Film Critics Award in the experimental/independent category. In 1992, he received the prestigious Maya Deren Award for Independent Film and Video Artists from the American Film Institute. In 1996 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Chicago Underground Film Festival. He taught at the San Francisco Art Institute for 40 years, where he made many videos in collaboration with his students.

George Kuchar at the Video Data Bank