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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Currently Hanging: A Crazy Mark Tobey Movie (Who Even Knew There Was a Mark Tobey Movie?)

Posted by on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 1:28 PM

You can see this crazy Mark Tobey movie at the Frye Art Museum.

The whole movie is 19 minutes long. Made in 1952 (with the filmmaker Robert Gardner), it's not only a kooky portrait of the artist, it's also great to see what the city of Seattle looked like back then.

The house you see is Tobey's own house, I believe in the U District. Here's the poem spoken by the solemn voice-over as Tobey first appears at his house:

"Why are you, artist?
Why the chasm between us?
Your beard gives me the willies.
How does it feel to be tolerated, more or less?
Who offends who?
Do you know the why of what, the how of where?

And so on.

The opening scene reveals the film as a piece of artistic anxiety as well. Voices in a museum chatter like birds, and we hear snatches from here and there: "I understand he's what is known as a museum painter." "He's so Northwest." "Why does he have to be so derivative?"

See more recommended art shows right here.


Comments (8) RSS

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stinkbug 1
Yes, the house shown at 1:53 is across from the Safeway on Brooklyn. Most of the houses shown are gone, but that brick building and Safeway (and Deca) still exist.
Posted by stinkbug on February 26, 2014 at 1:51 PM · Report this
raindrop 2
I loved that. Thanks Jen.
Posted by raindrop on February 26, 2014 at 2:01 PM · Report this
Dougsf 3
This is great.

I think I recognize the apartment building to his right at 2:30 (looking south near 50th, right?), but what is that tall building in the background?
Posted by Dougsf on February 26, 2014 at 2:42 PM · Report this
stinkbug 4
@3: See my comment above. That's the Edmond Meany Hotel (currently named Hotel Deca).
Posted by stinkbug on February 26, 2014 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Dougsf 5
@4 ah, right you are! It looks so much taller without the SafeCo building behind it.
Posted by Dougsf on February 26, 2014 at 3:00 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 6
I had my first grown-up gaysecks at that hotel!
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on February 26, 2014 at 3:21 PM · Report this
Paul Kuniholm Pauper 7
Is deeply moved by this archive of my hometown, admittedly before I was born, but fascinating to see the city as it was. There used to be a taco stand under Tobey's longtime residence on Brooklyn across from the Safeway in the U-District. Outrageous Taco. Munchies ameliorated for years there. Wondering about Mark Tobey painting above. I also thought it was fortunate the film was archived by Harvard, for posterity. And poetry, though his paintings were his true art.
Posted by Paul Kuniholm Pauper on February 28, 2014 at 6:37 PM · Report this
stinkbug 8
@7 makes a slight reference to it, but the house shown (4743 Brooklyn) still exists! It just has a retail/restaurant addition added to the front of it (in 1966, I believe).
Posted by stinkbug on March 6, 2014 at 1:35 AM · Report this

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