Gregory Crewdson is a photographer with a filmmaker’s eye
by Larry Murray
For Greg Crewdson, the Berkshires are his canvas. He has turned the nocturnal silence of the rural Berkshires into eerie stills of a motion picture. I first became aware of his work when the oversized works were on display at Mass MoCA in North Adams. They were the sort of images you could spend a lot of time with, imagining what had gone before the moment in time they represented.
To many, Crewdson is as an important chronicler of the Berkshires as was Norman Rockwell. Rockwell’s brush perfectly captured the last century, while Crewdson’s lens is the perfect medium in which to capture the fleeting images of the current one.
His scenes – each an artistic composition – have been shot in North Adams, Adams, Cheshire and Pittsfield, and they all suggest some sort of intricate story with characters, moods and clues usually only found in motion pictures. His process is meticulous in the extreme. And his unusual way of working has been captured in a very popular documentary film that seems impossible to see. It has always been sold out. But here’s another chance, an encore from the Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF).
The BIFF Reel Friends Film Society, The Beacon and The Triplex are proud to present special encore screenings of Ben Shapiro’s Award-Winning Documentary Film Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters on Saturday, February 9 at 4:30 p.m. at the Beacon and Sunday, February 10 at 11 a.m. at the Triplex. The film was the closing night presentation at last year’s BIFF and screened to a sold-out and enthusiastic audience at the Mahaiwe. There will be a Q&A with Gregory Crewdson immediately following the screening on Saturday at the Beacon only. Tickets are $5 and the screenings are open to the public.
An acclaimed photographer with the eye of a filmmaker, Gregory Crewdson has created some of the most gorgeously haunting pictures in the history of the medium. His meticulously composed, large-scale images are stunning narratives of small-town American life—moviescapes crystallized into a single frame. While the photographs are staged with crews that rival many feature film productions, Crewdson takes inspiration as much from his own dreams and fantasies as the worlds of Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, Edward Hopper and Diane Arbus. Crewdson’s imagery has also infiltrated the pop culture landscape—including his inimitable Six Feet Under ads and Yo La Tengo album art. Shot over a decade with unprecedented access, Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters beautifully bares the artist’s process—and it’s as mesmerizing and riveting as the images themselves. Filmmaker Magazine called the film, “A refreshingly frank look at the artistic process, as comprehensive and lovingly realized as the work it pays tribute to.”
BIFF 2013 will be held May 30 – June 2, 2013. www.biffma.org
About Gregory Crewdson
Gregory Crewdson received a B.A. from the State University of New York at Purchase in 1985 and an M.F.A. in photography from Yale in 1988. He has exhibited widely in the United States and Europe and is represented by Gagosian Gallery in New York City. He is Professor Adjunct in Graduate Photography at the Yale University School of Art.
Crewdson’s work has been included in many public collections, most notably the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A retrospective of his work, spanning his career, from 1985-2005, was shown as a traveling exhibition from 2005-2008, at major museums around Europe. Another traveling exhibition of his work is scheduled to open at the Kulturhuset Museum, Stockholm, in February 2011, followed by Sorte Diamant, Copenhagen and c/o Berlin, among others.
Crewdson has received numerous awards including the Skowhegan Medal for Photography, the National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship and the Aaron Siskind Fellowship.
Crewdson has published several books of his photographs including Hover with ArtSpace Books, Dream of Life with the University of Salamanca, Spain, Twilight and Beneath the Roses with Abrams and a retrospective book of his work, entitled Gregory Crewdson from 1985 to 2005, published by Hatje Cantz.
Crewdson’s newest body of work, Sanctuary, premiered at Gagosian Gallery in New York in 2010, it then traveled to White Cube in London and Gagosian Gallery in Rome. Abrams published a book featuring this new work also in 2010.