© Images are courtesy of Michel Auder and Andrew Neel
The Jesus Show
MICHEL AUDER | ANDREW NEEL
January 12 – February 11, 2013
Opening reception January 12, 6-9PM
Microscope Gallery is very pleased to present The Jesus Show, a two-person exhibition of video by Michel Auder and Andrew Neel. As final Christmas sales figures are tallied and reported, The Jesus Show offers a frank visual dialog between the friends and occasional collaborators on the beliefs and motivations behind religious faith – especially the extreme – and on the way advancing technology drives both the spectacle of religion and the exploitation of the most ardent followers.
Together, Auder’s Jesus (59 minutes, originally VHS, 1979) – in which underground NY artists and Warhol superstars openly discuss their beliefs – and Neel’s 15 Minutes of Jesus (45 minutes, HD video, 2008) – shot in a remote village in the Philippines during a bloody crucifixion re-enactment ritual before thousands of spectators, tourists, and press – raise questions about the nature of performance, subversion, devotion and fame in both art and life.
Still from Jesus by Michel Auder (1979) © Courtesy of the artist
Auder’s Jesus – which premiered as a screening at The Kitchen in 1980 – mixes documentary elements such as footage evangelical TV programs, books, cartoons, paintings, and other Jesus related imagery – with performances including Taylor Mead as a priest in the West Village and Florence Lambert playing a crucified Jesus. Also, intercut throughout are surprisingly candid interviews with Auder’s friends, family, and people he approaches on New York City streets about their faith and relationship to the world’s most famous person. Among those interviewed are Diego Cortez, Jackie Curtis, Gerard Malanga, Alice Neel (Andrew Neel’s grandmother), Larry Rivers, and Viva.
15 Minutes of Jesus, which is a section of Neel’s larger ongoing video project God is Not Dead dealing with ritualistic behavior in the 21st century, takes us to present day Pampanga province in the Philippines. There, Neel joins the many local observers, tourists, and international press, to watch and record devotees of a controversial Catholic sect partaking in an annual Good Friday event involving flagellation, recreation of the crucifixion walk, and for a dozen or so – including several who are repeat participants – actual, non-lethal crucifixion. Through it all, Neel’s focus shifts back and forth from the shocking acts of penance or praise to the TV cameras, camcorders, cell phones and other devices capturing their every movement.
Still from 15 Minutes of Jesus by Andrew Neel (2008) © Courtesy of the artist
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MICHEL AUDER was born in Soissons, France. He was made to serve in the French military as a photographer at a young age. Later in Paris he began making films and was part of the Zanzibar film group during “May 68”. After moving to New York the next year, he bought a video camera. Since then video has been his primary artistic medium. Auder’s work has been exhibited and screened widely in North America and Europe at institutions including at MoMA, The Whitney Musuem; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Kunsthalle Wien, Austria; Center for Contemporary Art, Malmoe, Sweden; Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago; Anthology Film Archives; and many others. He has been a professor in the sculpture department at Yale University and was appointed critic at the Yale School of Art in 2009.
ANDREW NEEL has been working with film and video in various forms for more than a decade. His works have previously exhibited or screened at galleries and festivals including Freight & Volume gallery, Berlin International Film Festival, South by Southwest Film Festival, Newport Film Festival among many others. He has directed 4 feature length documentaries (Darkon, Alice Neel, The Feature (w/ Auder), New World Order). King Kelly, his latest film and first fictional feature opened in New York in December. His films have been distributed by IFC and ArtHouse Films, aired on Cablevision and the Sundance Channel, and won several awards including the New Visions Award at the Copenhagen International Documentary Festival. Neel received a BA in Film Studies from Columbia Collage. He was born in Vermont and like Auder, currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
(click to enlarge)
Stills from Jesus by Michel Auder (1979) © Courtesy of the artist
Stills from 15 Minutes of Jesus by Andrew Neel (2008) © Courtesy of the artist